World Bank Group Leads at World Sustainable Development Summit
New Delhi – February 13, 2019 The World Sustainable Development Summit (WSDS) kicked-off in New Delhi, India. The annual summit, hosted by The Energy & Resources Institute (TERI), brings together high-level government officials, business leaders, policymakers, and stakeholders to discuss sustainable development practices. The 2019 theme is “Attaining the 2030 Agenda: Delivering on our promise”. This year, the World Bank Group (WBG) is a major partner—solely organizing three thematic tracks. On Monday, February 11, the WBG executed a full-day of engaging and informative panels.
Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu, the Honorable Vice President of India, gave the inaugural opening address and was joined by several dignitaries including the India World Bank Country Director, Mr. Junaid Ahmad. The Vice President called for sustainable development and sustainable innovation in a passionate plea to raise the world’s collective commitment to climate action.
The World Bank Group’s sessions commenced with opening remarks from Dr Ajay Mathur, Director General of TERI and an inaugural address by Mr. Junaid Ahmad. Mr Ahmad asked “how can we create a growth path that respects the environment?” and emphasized the importance of continued multilateralism to push governments to be more ambitious. He drew on past examples of successful collective action—such as the Montreal Protocol—to make his case. Additionally, Mr Ahmad called for greater investment in knowledge centers and increased focus on addressing political economic challenges.
The first panel, Moving beyond pledges: Effective Implementation of NDCs, showcased the status of nationally determined contributions and touched on the roles different actors must play to ratchet up climate ambition. Mr. Anirban Ghosh, Chief Sustainability Officer for Mahindra Group, had a clear message: “industry needs to step up and take some action.” After explaining the aggressive policies and goals of Mahindra Group, Mr. Ghosh emphasized that their sustainability policies align with their financial priorities: they increase profit in the short-run and reduce risk in the long-run.
The second panel, Financing NDCs for a Climate Smart Future, chaired by Dr. Karsten Sach, Director General, BMU, Germany, featured six panelists discussing the various ways to mobilize private finance towards NDC implementation. Aditi Maheshwari of the International Finance Corporation explained how the private sector is leading “now more than ever” and can seize huge investment opportunities if countries follow through on their climate-pledges. Additionally, Neha Mukhi of the World Bank discussed the innovative NDC Support Partnership and Venkata Putti of the World Bank presented how the WBG is working to create an enabling environment for mobilizing climate finance through results-based financing and unique programs like the BioCarbon Fund and the Carbon Initiative for Development (Ci-Dev). Additionally, panelists referenced how the Partnership for Market Readiness (PMR) and the Carbon Pricing Leadership Coalition (CPLC) are working with governments and other stakeholders to advance carbon pricing instruments. Ms. Rajasree Ray from the Government of India, Dr. Montty Girianna from the Government of Indonesia, and Dr. Kentaro Tamura from the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies in Japan discussed the barriers and challenges to financing climate action, including the role of carbon pricing policies.
In the closing panel, Financing Resilient Infrastructure in an Urbanizing World, panelists including Ms. Sumila Gulyani of the World Bank and Mr. Damandeep Singh of the Carbon Disclosure Project discussed the need to scale-up financing for resilience and invest in innovative practices such as nature-based solutions and bankable institutions.
To close, Neeraj Prasad, the Practice Manager for the Carbon Markets and Innovation unit at the World Bank, gave a note of thanks to the Honorable Vice President of India, TERI, and all the supporters of the World Sustainable Development Summit. He highlighted the fascinating conversations and series of passionate speeches that reflected an inspiring day focused on the hard work required for sustainable development.
The World Bank Group’s sessions drew standing-room only crowds and were filled with a diverse range of academics, policymakers, business representatives, students, and diplomats. Starting tomorrow, the Carbon Pricing Leadership Coalition Secretariat—convened by the World Bank Group—will host the World’s First International Research Conference on Carbon Pricing on February 14-15, 2019 at the India Habitat Centre.