The World Bank, climate change, and Mexico

The World Bank’s presence in México is through the auspices of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, or IBRD.  The IBRD is one of the five sub-institutions that comprise World Bank and has offices south of the city center on Insurgentes Sur.  (It’s near the changarro with the atomic salsa).

Late last year, the World Bank/IBRD completed a $500M ($USD) Development Policy Loan, or DPL, to México in response to the country’s previous efforts on climate change.  The objective of the loan is to support future action, however, it is only tied to steps that México has already taken, such as the creation of a National Strategy for Climate Change (Estrategía Nacional de Cambio Climático) in 2007 and the establishment of an Intersecretarial Commission on Climate Change (Comisión Intersecretarial de Cambio Climático).  The summary of the DPL is a good source for more background on the loan.

The underlying structure and motivation for the DPL reflects the World Bank’s self-ascribed role as supporting the development of Mexican environmental policy.  The World Bank doesn’t write policy, per se, but it acts to provide information and reports that assist groups that do, as well as the occasional $500M carrot for policy development.  It seems to me that the contribution made by the bank is largely driven by forces within the Mexican government; that is, the Bank does not actively seek to promote policy, but it will support ministries within the government that ask the bank for support.  Ultimately, the success of Mexican climate change policy development therefore rests on the efforts of high-level members within the government.

My comment/opinion on the role of the bank in policy development (which may change as I learn more) is largely based upon discussions that I’ve had with bank personnel here and in Washington, as well as my experience looking in to the two motivations for the DPL cited above: the National Strategy, which was not included in the Calderon administration’s overall development plan, and the commission, which, as far as I can tell, isn’t known among those at the higher levels of Calderon’s cabinet.  I’m still looking in to the commission (more soon, hopefully), and I’ll have some things to say on the national strategy document in a few weeks.

Moving forward, the key questions to me seem to be to identify issues within the government in Mexico, such as political forces and governing structure, that are cause for the setbacks with the national strategy and commission and, possibly, identify ways in which the World Bank/IBRD can ensure that past policy action in México maintains momentum for future success.


México, D.F.


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