Rich Need To Do More on Environment, World Bank Says
WASHINGTON The World Bank Tuesday chastised rich countries for not giving enough to fund global environmental protection and warned that overall progress in meeting global environmental targets was "alarmingly slow."
In an annual report entitled "Environment Matters," the World Bank said aid for the environment averaged about $2 billion a year over the past decade, far less than well-off societies agreed during a major environment summit in Brazil in 1992.
The report estimated that protecting the environment in developing countries amounted to about $2.50 per person a year in rich countries, less than the current price for a gallon of gasoline in most industrialized nations.
"If the war on environmental degradation is to be won, we need a major turnaround," James Wolfensohn, president of the World Bank urged in the report.
He said rich countries should set an example by adopting environmentally friendly production and consumption practices.
"Rich countries' larger contribution to environmental damage means they must shoulder greater responsibility for fixing the problem," he said.
And in poorer countries, governments should improve policies on water, energy, transport and trade to help reduce consumption of scarce natural resources, Wolfensohn added.
"Beyond this, environmental concerns must be integrated more fully into development policymaking," he said.
World Bank's top environment official, Ian Johnson, said in the report that it was vital that global efforts on the environment be targeted and coordinated to enhance growth and reduce poverty.
"Clearly the prudent way forward must be based on promoting a development path that integrates economic growth with environmental responsibility and social equity," said Johnson, vice president of the environmental and social sustainable development division at the bank.
The report urged governments to overcome significant political, governance and institutional constraints to reverse harmful environmental trends.