Columbia International Affairs Online: Policy Briefs

CIAO DATE: 02/2013

Wanted: A Climate Agency for a Bottom-Up World—A Proposal for a New Arm of the World Bank

Nancy Birdsall, Lawrence MacDonald

January 2013

Center for Global Development


Climate negotiations have focused on reaching a top-down international agreement and, in recent years, on mobilizing a pool of financial resources, now to be channeled through the Green Climate Fund. There has been little discussion of the institutional arrangements for provision of nonfinancial services that would be seen as objective, technically sound, and politically credible—analogous to the research, policy, data, and poverty measurement at the World Bank, or the macroeconomic and financial reports of the IMF. Yet a range of nonfinancial, knowledge-based services are critical to maximize the effectiveness of whatever steps individual nations and the corporate sector take. This brief explains why the need for a new entity to provide these services has become urgent, describes the services that it would provide, and explores one possible path for filling the gap: the creation of a new arm of the World Bank.