With these challenges in mind, it seems our best bet lies in the adaptation and mitigation of the effects of climate change. Developing nations that will likely suffer the most from climate change are often the least responsible or prepared for its effects. The World Bank, along with many international sponsors, has sought to remedy this unfortunate truth by funding climate-oriented projects in developing countries. The difficulty for many of these large organizations, however, now lies in seeing the overall picture of their many individual projects. Are these donors sending climate-relevant money and projects to the neediest of countries? How do we define this “neediness?” As part of the Climate Change and African Political Stability Project (CCAPS), we attempted to answer these questions by analyzing World Bank projects in Sub-Saharan Africa from 2008 to 2012 for climate change relevance using a coding methodology CCAPS first piloted in 2013 for Malawi. We then mapped these various project locations and funding amounts in an attempt to visualize the relationship between need and total World Bank involvement. Unsurprisingly, we found that there is no definitive way to answer this question. The more we explored, the more questions we found.
To evaluate the efficacy of allocation in World Bank climate funding, the IPD Climate Change Team compared the location of World Bank climate-relevant projects to the CCAPS climate vulnerability index. This vulnerability index is a composite of four baskets of indicators that together predict an area's vulnerability to climate change: physical exposure, community and household resilience, governance and political violence, and population density. This was how we broadly defined the relative “neediness” in each country. Figure 1 shows the result of this exercise:
In order to address these oversimplifications, we made a series of maps that explored different ways of analyzing the same data. We first wanted to look at the amount of funding that went to each project. Logically, the most vulnerable areas should have received the most funding. To test this hypothesis, we used different sized dots to represent the amount of funding for a given project and normalized this amount by the number of locations associated with the project. In other words, we took the project’s total budget commitment and divided it by the number of locations. The map below shows this relationship between activity funding and vulnerability.
The more we explored the data, the more the information contradicted our previous conclusions. Though each map attempted to answer the relationship between vulnerability and World Bank projects, each map showed a different facet to the same question. The only thing we can conclude is how difficult it is to evaluate the effectiveness of the World Bank’s response to climate change. Aid allocation depends on issues more nebulous than a country’s level of vulnerability.
Forthcoming research will explore “10 Ways to Evaluate the World Bank’s Climate Change Projects in Sub-Saharan Africa” and provide a more detailed comparison of World Bank climate change projects to climate vulnerability.
IPD's Ilse Munoz-Ramirez, Senior studying Plan II and Geography, and Tiffany Wang, Freshman studying Supply Chain Management, co-authored this post.
Maps by Krista Rasmussen, MA candidate, Global Policy Studies, LBJ School of Public Affairs.