Actions to lower greenhouse gas emissions can “both protect the global environment and enable developing countries to grow their economies for the benefit of their people,” World Bank Group President Robert B. Zoellick said in Bali on Dec. 12. Zoellick added that the world’s poor in developing countries are “the most exposed to climate change, the most affected by it, and the least able to cope with it.” He said the discussions at the conference could help these communities “manage the changes in health conditions, food production, water resources, coastal integrity, and biodiversity.”

Forging a deal on tackling climate change will be even harder than hammering out long-stalled international trade talks, the head of the World Trade Organization (WTO) has warned. Pascal Lamy told reporters that trade policies could play a key role in fighting global warming, with shifts on agricultural subsidies and tariffs all possible solutions. Trying to define what products were ?green? when so many were dual use was very complex both in Bali and in the Doha round, Lamy said.

Africa is mature enough to cope with China’s investment offensive on the continent, African leaders said Sunday speaking to reporters at the end of a two-day summit in Lisbon of the EU and Africa. World Bank Managing Director Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala said that China’s growing investments in Africa were welcome, but that it should do more to help fight poverty and corruption in the mineral- and oil-rich but troubled continent. “They also need to look at the countries they are putting their resources into. How best to fight poverty and fight corruption … so that they don’t compound the problem,” Okonjo-Iweala told reporters.

The African Development Bank (AfDB) has embarked on an initiative to promote faster implementation of its anti-poverty funding in order to reduce the number of years it takes to complete projects in recipient countries. AfDB Regional Representative Domina Buzingo said in Nairobi on Monday the bank has already undertaken internal restructuring to improve its performance.

Leaders from across South America have signed agreements setting up a new regional bank known as the Banco del Sur or Southern Bank. Funded by regional powers such as Brazil, Argentina and Venezuela, it will aid economic and social projects. Each member will have one vote, irrespective of its size or funding. The Banco del Sur’s headquarters are going to be in Caracas, with offices in Buenos Aires and La Paz. The bank aims to start with capital of USD 800 million and eventually gather USD 7 billion, with funds to deal with natural disasters and develop joint scientific and economic projects across the region.

The World Bank on Dec. 11 launched plans for a target size USD 300 million fund to fend off global warming by preserving forests. The new financing mechanism, the Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF), launched at UN talks on tackling climate change, aims to turn better forest management into a tradable commodity to try to halt destruction so rapid it accounts for around a fifth of annual carbon emissions. A USD 100 million “readiness” fund will provide grants to around 20 countries to prepare them for large-scale forest protection under a future climate change deal. A second USD 200 million “carbon finance mechanism” will allow some of these countries to run pilot programs earning credits for curbing deforestation.

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