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Sustainable Energy and Climate Change Initiative

Alternative energy, sustainable agriculture, climate-friendly transportation and climate resilient resource management are just some of the many areas in which the Inter-American Development Bank is leading the way in setting high sustainability standards. These standards are part of the Bank’s commitment of providing countries in Latin America and the Caribbean with the best available technologies and practices to ensure economic viability, social equity, and environmental integrity.

The goals of the Sustainable Energy and Climate Change Initiative are centered around the provision of comprehensive sustainability options in areas related to the energy, transportation, water and environmental sectors as well as building climate resilience in key priority areas vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. The Initiative consists of four strategic pillars:

In 2009 as part of the development and management of the Initiative, the IDB created the Sustainable Energy and Climate Change Unit (ECC). More


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Latest Publications

  • Hydro-BID: New Functionalities (Reservoir, Sediment and Groundwater Simulation Modules)

    Moreda, Fekadu;Lord, Benjamin;Nalesso, Mauro;Coli Valdes Daussa, Pedro;Corrales, Juliana

    Date: Nov, 2016

    The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) provides financial and technical support for infrastructure projects in water and sanitation, irrigation, flood control, transport, and energy, and for development projects in agriculture, urban systems, and natural resources. Many of these projects depend upon water resources and may be affected negatively by climate change and other developments that alter water availability, such as population growth and shifts in land use associated with urbanization, industrial growth, and agricultural practices. Assessing the potential for future changes in water availability is an important step toward ensuring that infrastructure and other development projects meet their operational, financial, and economic goals. It is also important to examine the implications of such projects for the future allocation of available water among competing users and uses to mitigate potential conflict and to ensure such projects are consistent with long-term regional development plans and preservation of essential ecosystem services. As part of its commitment to help member countries adapt to climate change, the IDB is sponsoring work to develop and apply the Regional Water Resources Simulation Model for Latin America and the Caribbean, an integrated suite of watershed modeling tools known as Hydro-BID. Hydro-BID is a highly scalable modeling system that includes hydrology and climate analysis modules to estimate the availability of surface water (stream flows) at the regional, basin, and sub-basin scales. The system includes modules for incorporating the effects of groundwater and reservoirs on surface water flows and for estimating sediment loading. Data produced by Hydro-BID are useful for water balance analysis, water allocation decisions, and economic analysis and decision support tools to help decision-makers make informed choices among alternative designs for infrastructure projects and alternative policies for water resources management. IDB sponsored the development of Hydro-BID and provides the software and basic training free of charge to authorized users; see The system was developed by RTI International as an adaptation of RTI's proprietary WaterFALL® modeling software, based on over 30 years of experience developing and using the U.S. National Hydrography Dataset (NHDPlus) in support to the U.S. Geological Survey and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. In Phase I of this effort, RTI prepared a working version of Hydro-BID that includes: (1) the Analytical Hydrography Dataset for Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC AHD), a digital representation of 229,300 catchments in Central America, South America, and the Caribbean with their corresponding topography, river, and stream segments; (2) a geographic information system (GIS)-based navigation tool to browse AHD catchments and streams with the capability of navigating upstream and downstream; (3) a user interface for specifying the area and period to be modeled and the period and location for which water availability will be simulated; (4) a climate data interface to obtain rainfall and temperature inputs for the area and period of interest; (5) a rainfall-runoff model based on the Generalized Watershed Loading Factor (GWLF) formulation; and (6) a routing scheme for quantifying time of travel and cumulative flow estimates across downstream catchments. Hydro-BID generates output in the form of daily time series of flow estimates for the selected location and period. The output can be summarized as a monthly time series at the user's discretion. In Phase II of this effort, RTI has prepared an updated version of Hydro-BID that includes (1) improvements to the user interface; (2) a module to simulate the effect of reservoirs on downstream flows; (3) a module to link Hydro-BID and groundwater models developed with MODFLOW and incorporate water exchanges between groundwater and surface water compartments into the simulation of sur

  • Building a Bridge to Sustainable Infrastructure: Mapping the Global Initiatives That Are Paving the Way

    Mercer;Inter-American Development Bank (IDB)

    Date: Nov, 2016

    Investment in infrastructure is widely recognized as crucial to promoting economic and social growth through the development of essential services and assets. As the global population grows and urbanizes, the demand for infrastructure grows with it. The New Climate Economy estimates that from 2015 to 2030, the global requirement for new infrastructure assets will be US$90 trillion, more than the value of the world's existing infrastructure stock. In 2015, the majority of countries formally adopted an ambitious framework for both sustainable development (Sustainable Development Goals) and combating climate change (Paris Agreement). In particular, 189 countries committed to specific climate-change mitigation targets through their "Intended nationally determined contributions" (INDCs). In order to align with the Paris Agreement and United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, these infrastructure investments must take place through planning and development processes that consider social, economic and environmental sustainability at their core.

  • NDC Invest Infographic

    Inter-American Development Bank (IDB);Inter-American Investment Corporation (IIC)

    Date: Oct, 2016

    A one stop-shop for countries to access resources for transforming their NDCs into investment plans

  • The Impact of Coastal Infrastructure Improvements on Economic Growth: Evidence from Barbados

    Corral, Leonardo;Schling, Maja;Rogers, Cassandra;Cumberbatch, Janice;Hinds, Fabian;Zhou, Naijun;Lemay, Michele H.

    Date: Oct, 2016

    This paper presents the first rigorous impact evaluation of a shoreline stabilization program in Barbados and attempts to assess whether shoreline stabilization investments indeed have beneficial effects on medium-term economic growth in Small Island Developing States through stimulating tourism demand and real estate development. The analysis relies on a carefully designed geographic information systems (GIS) dataset, which comprises extensive panel data from Barbados' touristic West and South Coasts on key infrastructure, beach characteristics, and real estate activity, as well as remotely-sensed luminosity data as a proxy of economic growth. The synthetic control method is employed to construct a counterfactual from a combination of all control beach sites and subsequently estimate program impact on per capita luminosity as a proxy for GDP p.c.. Results indicate that even in the first three years after treatment, economic effects are positive and indicate a strong positive trend. This suggests that shoreline stabilization works may not only help preserve fragile ecological conditions, but further lead to sustainable growth in the local economy.

Curbing Climate Change

    Curbing Climate Change

    Energy conservation and investment in renewable energies are among the keys to mitigating the threat.
  • Curbing Climate Change (2:12) Video Icon

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