World Bank

Integration of climate change into country level work

This page is part of the E3G Public Bank Climate Tracker Matrix, our tool to help you assess the Paris alignment of public banks, MDBs and DFIs.

Paris alignmentReasoning
Some progressClimate is integrated into Country Partnership Frameworks and there is potential for decarbonisation pathway development, but no mention of proactive NDC ambition raising.


The World Bank Group’s country level work process is made of four main steps. 

The first step is the Strategic Country Diagnostics which then informs a Country Partnership Framework. The Strategic Country Diagnostic is an analysis of challenges and opportunities facing the member country regarding the World Bank Group goals of “ending extreme poverty and promoting shared prosperity in a sustainable manner”. The Strategic Country Diagnostic Guidance Note, updated in 2019, states that Strategic Country Diagnostics should “take into account climate change, which may directly influence economic growth, poverty reduction, and longer-term sustainability”. On adaptation, an Strategic Country Diagnostic should analyse “both climate-related risks and policy choices, including the potential benefits of taking early adaptation actions”. On mitigation the “Strategic Country Diagnostic is expected to assess the impacts of the policies that countries indicate through their NDCs… on growth and poverty objectives”.

This diagnostic analysis directly informs the four to six year Country Partnership Framework, which is the central element of the Bank’s country work. The guidance for Country Partnership Frameworks was last updated in 2014, prior to the Paris Agreement. The development of a Country Partnership Framework begins with the country’s development goals.  Taking into account other activities in the country and the Bank’s own initiatives, a flexible action plan is set for the duration of the Country Partnership Framework. Climate risk concerns have been integrated into Country Partnership Frameworks since July 2014 when it was agreed that they all  would incorporate climate and disaster risk considerations into the analysis of a country’s development challenges.  This new requirement was implemented with training for World Bank staff to ensure buy-in and develop staff capacities in using climate risk screening tools. The WBG’s Guidance on Country Engagement, last updated in April 2018, states that “climate change is a special theme for IDA18 [… and] the WBG has committed that all Country Partnership Frameworks in International Development Association countries will incorporate climate and disaster risk considerations into the analysis of the country’s development challenges and priorities and, when the country agrees, in the content of the programs and results framework”. Within this guidance, there is more focus on adaptation than on mitigation.  

Once the Country Partnership Framework is finalised and implemented, continuous monitoring and reviewing is carried out. A Performance & Learning Review is a culmination of this work, and is produced every two years.  The Performance & Learning Review focuses on progress toward Country Partnership Framework objectives and overall alignment with its goals, and as such informs adjustments that need to be made during the current Country Partnership Framework, updates to the intended  results and a potential two-year extension. At the end of a Country Partnership Framework, a Completion & Learning Review is conducted as a means of learning and accountability. The primary goal of the Completion and Learning Review is to take lessons learnt from the Country Partnership Framework and maintain or improve elements that aided the achievement of the results framework. The Completion & Learning Review is then used to inform the development of the country’s next Country Partnership Framework.

Recommendation: We recommend the World Bank Group incorporate NDC revisions into the Country Partnership Framework process and use its country level work to support the revision of all NDCs so that they are aligned with the 1.5C scenario.

In addition to the standalone country work process, the World Bank has recently confirmed that it will be taking part in the 2050 Pathways Platform initiative*.  The Bank has launched its own initiative, Outlook 2050, to help integrate 2050 goals throughout Bank operations. Under this new initiative, five-year climate plans will need to be aligned within the long-term plans for the region- or country-mitigation plans. The plan development process includes single and multi-sector analysis and planning to address decarbonisation pathways for 11 key sectors. This process then includes a consultation with the Strategic Country Diagnostic advisory group to ensure Outlook 2050 goals are aligned with individual Country Partnership Frameworks. Because the initiative was only recently launched, it is not clear yet how effective or transformational it is.

Within the IDA19 capital replenishment discussion document, the Bank signalled several areas it would be prioritising with the investments including an increased focus on the resilience of individual projects, especially in coastal and other highly vulnerable regions, as well as systemic resilience which would include work and reform of governance structures and policy programmes. The replenishment document also emphasises the Bank’s shift toward a more holistic approach to policy and investment, which will be achieved by system-wide policy packages, outcome-oriented results monitoring and climate based metrics.  It will be interesting to see how this new approach affects the Bank’s current project investment and country work programming.

*Information received directly from World Bank Group staff and comments at Civil Society Policy Forum Panel Event, 18th April 2018. More detail would be welcome on this initiative.


Last Update: November 2020

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