Millennium Development Goals

Goal 7

Ensure Environmental Sustainability by 2015

Q: How does sustainable energy support small businesses?
A: Investments in sustainable energy, such as wind or solar projects, support job and business creation in two ways. First, by providing direct opportunities for the development of small businesses that work on these projects. Second, by increasing the number of small businesses that are operated out of homes, since they depend on a reliable, affordable energy source to operate.

World Bank: A Holistic Approach to Environmental Sustainability

Sustainable development recognizes that growth must be both inclusive and environmentally sound to reduce poverty and build shared prosperity for people today and for future generations. At the same time, growth patterns have left hundreds of millions of people behind: 1.2 billion lack access to electricity, 870 million are malnourished, and at least 748 million are without access to clean, safe drinking water. While efforts to expand access to safe drinking water are on track to achieve this target in most regions, 2.5 billion people still lack access to improved sanitation. Land is still being degraded, forests lost, and species endangered as carbon emissions continue to change the environment we live in. With World Bank Group support, more countries are approaching the relationship among land, forests, water, and food security in a more holistic, sustainable way.

A vocational center in Morocco prepares students for new jobs in the energy sector. A vocational center in Morocco prepares students for new jobs in the energy sector.
We can support environmental sustainability by:
investing in clean energy
making infrastructure improvements
increasing access to sanitation
offering technical assistance
promoting ecosystem-based solutions

Making Strides in Environmental Sustainability

Sustainable environment and natural resources management is at the heart of the World Bank’s efforts to end poverty and boost shared prosperity. Biodiversity and natural resources constitute the social safety net of the poor, representing a food bank and often their only source of livelihood. For example, wild-capture fisheries constitute 40% of total animal protein intake for countries in West Africa and sustain more than 3 million people. The World Bank has committed $33 billion in funding for the environment and natural resource management over the past decade, with IDA contributing $7.7 billion for environmental sustainability in the poorest countries.

Addressing climate change is an urgent priority for the World Bank Group. Without bold action now, the warming planet threatens to put prosperity out of reach of millions and roll back decades of development. For that reason, climate risk is now considered in all country assistance and partnership strategies for the poorest countries. About 85% also consider disaster risk. All country strategies increasingly incorporate climate- and disaster-resilient planning and interventions such as “climate smart” agriculture and measures to boost food security and water efficiency.

Our Environmental Sustainability Strategy

  • Improve sustainable management of natural resources
  • Increase access to low-emission, climate-smart transport, energy, agriculture
  • Reduce countries' vulnerability to climate-related shocks

Some of Our MDG 7 Results

The World Bank is the largest external source of financing for water projects. In the last three years (FY11-13), the World Bank’s commitment for water projects totaled $17 billion, with 56% for water supply and sanitation. The World Bank is one of the largest international financiers of biodiversity conservation with a portfolio of 245 projects in 74 countries worth over $1 billion from FY2004 to 2013. In the last six years, the Bank Group has provided $19.2 billion in financing for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects.

  • Bangladesh: A rural electrification program has been installing more than 50,000 solar home systems every month since 2002, and has delivered off-grid solar power to 2.8 million households.
  • Brazil: More than 24 million hectares of new protected areas were created in the Amazon rainforest, as well as 45.4 million hectares classified as indigenous lands.
  • Egypt: Polluting brick kilns were converted to natural gas between 2006 and 2013, reducing exposure of approximately 717,500 people to health-damaging particulate matter.
  • Ethiopia: Tree planting as part of the Productive Safety Net Program helped protect more than 7 million people from famine in times of drought.
  • Haiti: 1.3 million people, represented by 76 civil protection communities, strengthened their disaster preparedness and response capacity from 2005 to 2011.

How’s the World Doing?

  • 2 billion people gained access to clean drinking water from 1990 to 2010.
  • 48% of developing countries are on track to hit the drinkable water target.
  • 2.5 billion people still lack access to improved sanitation.
  • 58%increase in the number of protected areas since 1990.


What Climate Change Means for Africa, Asia and Coastal Poor

What Climate Change Means For Coastal Africa and Asia

Report: poor communities will be the most vulnerable to climate change.

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Results Profile

Stepping up Climate Action

Projects are helping nations build a more prosperous and sustainable future, as well as resilience against climate change.

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World Bank’s Commitment to Environmental Sustainability

  • FY13: World Bank approved 124 environment-related operations and programs worth $2.47 billion.
  • FY13: World Bank Group committed $3 billion for the water sector.
  • FY12 - FY14: World Bank committed loans for $11.7 billion to support investment in environment and natural resource management, including action on climate change and strengthening governance, policies and institutions.


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