The World Bank is a vital source of financial and technical assistance to developing countries around the world. The organization functions as a unique partnership to reduce poverty and supplement development.
The World Bank Group has set two goals for the world to achieve by 2030:
- End extreme poverty by decreasing the percentage of people living on less than $1.25 a day to no more than 3%; and
- Promote shared prosperity by fostering the income growth of the bottom 40% for every country.
The World Bank Group provides financial products and services to developing countries in order to support a wide array of investments in such areas as education, health, public administration, infrastructure, financial and private sector development, agriculture, and environmental and natural resource management. Funding is also facilitated through trust fund partnerships with bilateral and multilateral donors. Besides, the group offers support to developing countries through policy advice, research and analysis, and technical assistance.
The World Bank Group developed a Transport Business Strategy entitled “Safe, Clean, and Affordable… Transport for Development”, which focuses on development impact, policies, modes of transport and regions. The strategy is a business approach driven by results inside and outside the transport sector, bearing in mind that transport is an access agenda aimed at unlocking growth and development in an inclusive fashion.
- Safe acknowledges the prominence of health outcomes within the Millennium Development Goals; it implies safety for transport users, for transport workers, and for the wider community.
- Clean reflects the contribution that transport can make to the environmental aims of the Millennium Development Goals, and the need to address its impact on climate change.
- Affordable acknowledges that physical supply of infrastructure is not enough. Efficient freight infrastructure, translated through well-functioning markets into affordable transport and logistics services, is critical for trade. Similarly, efficient and affordable transport underpins personal accessibility and mobility in both urban and rural areas.
Transport for development asserts that, while transport can have many purposes, the Bank Group’s focus must be on its contribution to economic development.
The World Bank has an extensive climate change agenda, which also pays a particular attention to the overall impact of transport. Reducing CO2 emissions is a growing challenge for the transport sector as transportation produces roughly a quarter of the global CO2 emissions from fuel combustion. Therefore, a comprehensive approach is required that simultaneously seeks to (i) reduce the demand for total motorized transport; promote the use of “low-emission” transport modes such as walking, cycling, and public transport; and use the most efficient fuel-vehicle technology system possible.
The World Bank recently published “Turning the Right Corner: Ensuring Development through a Low-Carbon Transport Sector”, which is an informative reflection on greenhouse gas emission in the sector and how to progress toward low-carbon mobility. The report emphasizes that developing countries need to transition to a low carbon transport sector now to avoid locking themselves into an unsustainable and costly future. It further explains how policy makers and development practitioners can combine policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions with broader sector reforms to reduce local air pollution, road safety risks, and congestion – thereby generating new fiscal resources to help finance the transition to low carbon mobility.
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