World Resource Institute

WRI Annual Report 2018-19: Partnering to Change the World

Partnering to Change the World

Building on the work of our Regional Hubs and International Offices, Global Challenge Programs, and Centers of Excellence, WRI has joined with far-sighted partners to create a small number of highly ambitious, multi-stakeholder initiatives that we call delivery platforms. The delivery platforms mirror our count it, change it, scale it approach, combining rigorous research, real-world testing and adjustment of proposed solutions, and specific strategies to rapidly deploy successful solutions at a global scale. Their ambitious scope and comprehensive approach to achieving change at scale are informed by our early work on such initiatives as the Greenhouse Gas Protocol, Global Forest Watch and Aqueduct.

This section illustrates this approach with updates on four delivery platforms. We start with one of our newest, the Global Commission on Adaptation, launched in October 2018. We end with the New Climate Economy, now in its fifth year of using rigorous economic research, innovative communications techniques, and high-level engagement with national leaders to shift economic development onto a path that reduces climate risk while advancing equitable growth and improving human well-being.

As countries work to cut greenhouse gas emissions, they must also adapt to the impacts of climate change. Launched in October 2018 with the support of the Netherlands, the Global Commission on Adaptation seeks to elevate adaptation solutions on the global agenda, culminating in a Year of Action in 2020. WRI is the managing partner of the Commission, with the Global Center on Adaptation in Rotterdam and Groningen.


  • Former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Co-Chair Bill Gates and World Bank Group CEO Kristalina Georgieva agreed to co-lead the Commission, engaging global leaders in the Commission’s work. The Commission is composed of 30 Commissioners drawn from 17 countries.

  • The Commission launched in The Hague in October with the first meeting of Commissioners and partners. Commissioners provided guidance on the framing of the planned flagship report informed by three discussion papers. The Global Commission on Adaptation website went live.

  • The Commission co-hosted two events at COP24 jointly with the UNFCCC and the Global Environment Facility, highlighting the benefits of accelerated adaptation. At the World Economic Forum, the Commission hosted a dialogue with CEOs, public sector leaders and several commissioners.

  • The research team supporting the Commission engaged with partners around the world to produce more than 25 background papers that will underpin the flagship report.

What to Watch

The Commission will deliver its flagship report at the UN Secretary-General’s September 2019 Climate Summit, demonstrating why increased investment in adaptation and climate resilience can yield high returns. Commissioners and partners will make the case for adaptation and resilience at the World Bank-IMF Spring Meetings and the G7 and G20 Summits.

As a global coalition of over 100 countries and institutions launched in 2016, the NDC Partnership works to accelerate climate action while enhancing sustainable development. Members use their resources and expertise to help countries implement their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) under the Paris Agreement. The NDC Partnership Support Unit is hosted jointly by WRI and the UNFCCC.


  • The NDC Partnership’s membership expanded to 89 countries, 21 international institutions and 9 associates, including countries responsible for over half of global emissions, all the major multilateral development banks, civil society organizations and other major international institutions, including UN agencies.

  • The Partnership began applying a Country Engagement Strategy in more than 40 member countries to accelerate NDC implementation through Partnership Plans that outline climate priorities and match them to resources offered by the Partnership’s members.

  • The Partnership added new and expanded analytical tools, funding opportunities and case studies to a redesigned online knowledge portal.

  • The Partnership facilitated members’ participation in Peer-to-Peer Exchanges on issues such as long-term climate strategies, e-mobility, climate governance and gender responsiveness.

What to Watch

The NDC Partnership will approve Partnership Plans in 30 countries in 2019 and will support up to 60 countries by 2020. The Partnership will work with members on more than 800 specific support actions identified in the Partnership Plans to help increase public and private support in such areas as energy, transport, land use, waste management, water and cities.

The Global Commission on the Economy and Climate and its flagship project, The New Climate Economy (NCE), launched in 2014 to help governments, business and civil society achieve economic prosperity and ambitious climate action. The Commission’s members—28 former heads of government, former finance ministers and leaders in economics and business—guide NCE’s work and engage with government and business leaders to spread its message in the media and at high-profile events.


  • The 2018 NCE report, Unlocking the Inclusive Growth Story of the 21st Century, identifies opportunities to accelerate action in five sectors—energy, cities, food and land use, water and industry—with the potential to deliver $26 trillion in economic benefits by 2030.

  • These findings became part of the core narrative at the Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco. Over 1600 news outlets in over 80 countries covered the report. The Commissioners shared these messages with the UN Secretary-General, at the World Bank-IMF Annual Meetings, COP24, and the World Economic Forum, and at launch events in China, India, the UK and elsewhere.

  • In Indonesia, NCE supported a Low Carbon Development Initiative by the Ministry of Planning which demonstrates that more ambitious climate action will deliver stronger growth, more jobs, and better health outcomes. Recommendations will be incorporated into Indonesia's next five-year development plan.

What to Watch

NCE will catalyze and accelerate country climate action through new engagements in Colombia, Brazil, Ethiopia and other countries, and through a third NCE China-India Dialogue, held in Beijing.

P4G brings together businesses, governments and non-governmental organizations in innovative public-private partnerships to advance sustainable development solutions. Launched in January 2018 and working with eight countries and four organizations, P4G offers facilitation, funding and recognition for partnerships focusing on five areas: food and agriculture, water, energy, cities and the circular economy. Hosted at WRI, P4G is funded by the governments of Denmark and the Netherlands.


  • P4G received 450 applications from 80 countries for funding and facilitation. Eleven start-up partnerships were chosen to receive $100,000 each, while six partnerships received between $600,000 and $1 million in scale-up funding.

  • P4G National Platforms were established in Chile, Colombia, Denmark, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mexico, the Netherlands, South Korea and Vietnam.

  • The P4G Copenhagen Summit, held in October 2018, attracted 800 participants, including heads of state, CEOs, investors, civil society leaders and journalists. At the summit, the Courthauld Commitment received the first P4G State-of-the-Partnership of the Year Award for its success in reducing food loss and waste in the United Kingdom.

  • Four P4G Partnerships were highlighted at an event hosted by the World Economic Forum on the margins of the UN General Assembly meeting in New York in September.

What to Watch

P4G will announce its 2019 start-up partnerships in August and its scale-up partnerships in September. On the sidelines of UN Climate Week in September in New York, P4G will hold partnership acceleration workshops and announce the winners of its P4G State-of-the-Art awards.