Climate change bringing challenges and opportunities

BRIDETOWN, Barbados, February 29, 2008 – The World Bank has warned that developing countries like those in the Caribbean will be hardest hit by climate change. But it says the good news is that tackling the problem could provide opportunities for long-term economic progress in those countries.

In its annual environment review on Wednesday, Environment Matters the bank noted that due to their geographical location, low incomes, low institutional capacity, and heavy reliance on climate-sensitive sectors like agriculture, those least responsible for climate change and least able to cope with it – are suffering earliest and are poised to suffer most. But the report suggested that with additional resources, climate change can be a stimulus to assist the transition to improved practices in areas such as land management, agricultural production, energy production and coastal protection.

“We can’t let climate change turn back the clock of progress for these countries,” said the World Bank’s director of environment, Warren Evans in a statement.

“We are working hard to ensure that the developing countries continue to receive maximum levels of resources to reduce poverty and increase their economic growth to achieve the Millennium Development Goals, as well as to generate the additional financial resources they will need to adapt to climate change.”

The World Bank said it will issue an action plan on tackling climate change and financing adaptation measures at an annual joint meeting of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund in October.