A new report from the Independent Evaluation Group (IEG) of the World Bank, “developing countries are not yet well adapted even to current climate risks: floods, droughts and storm. Yet those risks are becoming harsher as the world warms, climate extremes become more intense, and the oceans rise – the consequences of human-caused greenhouse gas emissions.”
This evaluation draws lessons from World Bank Group experience with adaptation to both current levels of climate variability and ongoing climate change. It reviews the impact of longer-standing efforts to deal with climate variability, for instance via drought relief, sustainable land management, and flood control.
The evaluation also looks at how, and how well, the World Bank Group has incorporated climate change risks into the design and appraisal of long-lived infrastructure. It assesses early lessons from a new crop of activities that explicitly grapple with climate adaptation at the national level.
Key findings of the evaluation include the following:
- Guidance is lacking on when and how to incorporate climate risks into project design and appraisal.
- Current procedures are ad hoc. Climate risks are sometimes neglected. At the other extreme, climate projections based on complex global models have not been useful for many project-level applications.
- Current results frameworks on resilience are not outcome-oriented and risk emphasizing spending over results. It is not possible to meaningfully measure spending on adaptation.
- Costs and impacts of presumed adaptation-oriented activities are not well understood.
- Hydromet systems potentially offer important benefits, but are poorly maintained in many countries especially in Sub-Saharan Africa.
- Anticipatory actions, including spatial planning, are critical for some aspects of long run climate change adaptation.
- National adaptation plans have spread themselves too thin across too many topics and locations