NASSAU – The Inter-American Development Bank begins a new phase starting this Monday after winding up its annual meeting in the Bahamas, where it approved a hike in funding for projects related to the fight against climate change.
The IDB also announced the creation of a Climate Change and Sustainability Department, which will coordinate the bank’s activities in those areas and will take charge of the work done in the fields of urbanization, rural development, the environment and natural disasters.
The IDB governors’ meeting on Sunday passed the resolution to boost funding much more easily than some observers expected.
The decision states that from now until 2020, the IDB will more than double its financing for projects related to climate change, raising it from the current 14 percent of its allocations to 30 percent.
The projects to be given priority will be those that help countries of the Americas apply the commitments assumed at the Paris Climate Summit in December 2015.
The IDB resolution’s wholehearted approval by member nations is a sign that the hemisphere has begun to take seriously the negative effects climate change is having and will continue to have on their economies.
The rising sea level in the Caribbean alone will mean serious losses for countries of the region, the majority of whose economies depend on tourism.
In the Andean nations, melting glaciers threaten flooding in the short term and a vanishing water supply in the medium and long term.
In countries like Colombia, changing rainfall patterns have already caused devastating economic losses, estimated at 2 percent of GDP.
The IDB has also shown itself sensitive to current affairs, such as the Panama Papers scandal about tax havens in the region.
The bank’s president, Luis Alberto Moreno, was referring to the case when he said that “today’s citizens in the region demand a decisive stand” against corruption, tax evasion and money laundering.
Moreno also said the IDB will continue to work with governments of the region to improve fiscal transparency.