Skip to main content Skip to secondary navigation

Biodiversity, Ecosystems, and Landscape Assessment (BELA) Initiative, Global

Main content start

The BELA initiative integrated natural capital and ecosystem service approaches into the World Bank’s operations – from inception to planning to implementation. The BELA work in 11 countries influenced nearly a billion dollars in development finance over two years. 

The Challenge

The World Bank recognizes that investments in human development are more successful and sustainable in the long-term when they factor in the ways human wellbeing depends on nature. Conservation or restoration of high-priority natural areas can cost-effectively retain or restore the services nature provides to people (like water purification, carbon storage, flood and landslide protection, water for agriculture and energy production, and more).

Our Solution

The BELA initiative added unique value to collective efforts across the World Bank to promote integrated land management and nature-based solutions, by providing a dedicated help desk for Bank staff to go to for technical landscape assessments, ecosystem service modeling, technical training, and decision support. Recently published case studies from the BELA initiative show how the team worked across country government sectors – environment, agriculture, energy, water, transportation, disaster risk management, and finance – to increase resilience to climate change while also boosting economic and community well-being. This work supported a range of pathways to impact, including payment for ecosystem services (PES), World Bank Country Climate Development Reports (CCDR), and Country Environmental Analyses (CEA). See the figure below for a summary of the BELA projects. 

BELA engagements map synthesis

The BELA initiative is also sharing lessons from its work through the People, Planet, Prosperity project, which the Natural Capital Project is co-leading with the Inter-American Development Bank, the Asian Development Bank, and the World Bank. 

The BELA initiative was funded by the PROGREEN Global Partnership for Sustainable and Resilient Landscapes, a World Bank Multi-Donor Trust Fund, and core World Bank funding. 

Project Category: Sustainable Development  
Status:  Completed