New World Bank project to bolster climate action in South Asia

The World Bank Board of Executive Directors today approved a $39.5 million project to help South Asia build resilience to climate threats and disasters by sharing regional data and knowledge, developing regional standards and guidelines for infrastructure, and promoting climate-resilient policies and investments.

The CARE for South Asia project will help develop a public platform to inform climate planning and investments, and fund innovative and disruptive technology to support resilience in South Asia. It will also assess climate impacts in districts across Bangladesh, Nepal, and Pakistan to support agriculture, livestock, water, and transport.

“Climate change and severe weather ignore national borders. Our support will foster greater regional collaboration across South Asia and equip governments with the shared knowledge and technology they need to make their people and economies more resilient to climate threats and disasters,” said Hartwig Schafer, World Bank Vice President for South Asia.

South Asia is highly vulnerable to the social and economic impacts of climate-related hazards. Between 1990 and 2019, more than 1,000 climate-induced disasters in South Asia affected 1.7 billion people and caused more than $127 billion in damages. The World Bank estimates that climate change could drive 62 million people in South Asia into extreme poverty; floods alone could cost an estimated’ $215 billion annually by 2030.

The project will fund a public domain platform, the Regional Resilience Data and Analytics Service, with detailed information about weather hazards, climate variability, and sector-specific data to help policymakers assess climate risks. The risks can be incorporated into budget and spending decisions, and tools such as a regional insurance pool are planned to help governments manage fiscal shocks from extreme weather.

CARE for South Asia will also help governments mainstream climate resilience within key ministries such as finance, agriculture, water, and transport and develop climate resilience guidelines in those sectors.

The $39.5 million project includes a $36 million grant from the International Development Association, the World Bank concessional fund, and $3.5 million from the Program for Asia Resilience to Climate Change, a trust fund administered by the World Bank and funded by the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development. It will work with two regional organizations, RIMES and ADPC.

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