President's Letter

Last year marked a turning point for WRI.

This was the first year of implementation of our 2023-2027 strategy, which focuses on country transitions.

Though the last few years have been remarkably successful—we are growing our country presences at a rapid pace, with increasing impact and influence—the hard truth is that the world is still not on track for the future we need. While we are seeing important steps toward progress on the global stage and examples of transformative solutions at the local level, the low-carbon transition that is already underway is not yet adding up to the speed and scale of the challenges we face: climate change, biodiversity loss and rising inequality. WRI’s strategy is about doing our part to accelerate the transition towards a world that is better for people, nature and climate.

In 2023, the world started building critical global momentum for change. From the first-ever Africa Climate Summit to a high-stakes G20 summit under the leadership of India, we supported a new wave of Global South climate leadership. We also continued to assess global progress with our annual State of Climate Action report, drawing a sector-by-sector roadmap of the systems change needed to meet global goals. At the end of the year, we celebrated, with many of our partners, when we saw more positive outcomes than many expected at COP28. After years of effort from civil society, governments and others, countries agreed in Dubai to transform food systems, to triple renewable energy and to double energy efficiency, and finally, to make a just transition away from fossil fuels.

Ultimately, global agreements like these depend on implementation in countries. That’s why our strategy is centered on country transitions. Furthermore, in each country, we are focusing on three systems changes: energy, food-land-water and cities.

For example, in Brazil, WRI worked with the state of Pará and brought together 76 researchers, including indigenous leaders, to help flip the narrative on deforestation in the Amazon and capture the benefits of an inclusive bioeconomy, building on vast indigenous knowledge and experience. “The New Economy for the Brazilian Amazon” report shows that by protecting its forests, instead of destroying them, Brazil can achieve greater economic growth and better lives for its people. We are building a coalition to bring these outcomes to life.

In India, WRI is working in 14 states to deliver clean, reliable and affordable energy. From building capacity for more electric vehicles in Tamil Nadu to providing data to improve energy access in Nagaland, we are using context-specific interventions to make necessary progress in each.

And in sub-Saharan Africa, WRI is working with partners to bring nature-based solutions to the region’s fast-growing cities, including Dire Dawa, Ethiopia; Kigali, Rwanda; and Johannesburg, South Africa. The work of restoring watersheds and planting urban trees not only aims to reduce emissions, but also support biodiversity, build resilience to increasing floods, and increase access to green spaces for over three million people.

To implement the strategy, we also have to ensure our organization is fit for purpose. WRI is taking significant steps to make our organization ready to drive this systems change in countries. Last year, we shifted our governance structure, budget process, fundraising strategy and operational focus to ensure our capabilities in WRI focus countries will be considerably stronger going forward.

One of the biggest shifts in our strategy is that we have redefined what success means for WRI. We are not just trying to measure success in terms of climate, but in outcomes for people, nature and climate, together. We have made a decision to measure WRI’s progress by the world’s progress. While this approach can be unforgiving, we see it as necessary to helping WRI and the world learn faster and achieve the outcomes we need. We can only embrace a higher level of ambition with a higher level of scrutiny.

What the world needs now is momentum. At WRI, we are entering a critical phase focused on implementation. And the momentum can only come from partnerships. We are committed to be a trusted partner and invest in the broader ecosystem of change. We look forward to continue working with our partners and invaluable donors to get the transition right for people, nature and climate. Together, we need to make this moment a turning point for the world.

Warm regards,

Ani Dasgupta

Ani Dasgupta
President & CEO
World Resources Institute


—Mari Pangestu, Global Board member and WRI Indonesia Board member