The world has a problem. There is no serious funding and no strong, credible, global framework for addressing a set of critical common challenges, including climate change, increasing cross-border health risks, the collapse of fisheries, and politically and economically destabilizing water and other natural resource scarcities.
The World Bank also has a problem. Its mission—to reduce poverty through shared growth in the developing world—is increasingly threatened by failures of global collective action on these problems.
Feeding an additional three billion people over the next four decades, along with providing food security for another one billion people that are currently hungry or malnourished, is a huge challenge. Meeting those goals in a context of land and water scarcity, climate change, and declining crop yields will require another giant leap in agricultural innovation. The aim of this paper is to stimulate a dialogue on what new approaches might be needed to meet these needs and how innovative funding mechanisms could play a role.
As the climate changes during the 21st
century, larger cyclonic storm surges and growing populations may collide
in disasters of unprecedented size. As conditions worsen, variations in
coastal morphology will magnify the effects in some areas, while largely
CGD senior fellow David Wheeler wrote about the dangers of rising sea levels in a 2007 blog post, and a previous working paper, on which this one builds, features prominently in a September 24, 2009, article in The New York Times.