World Bank president David Malpass has said that he is keeping an "intense" focus on the bank's efforts to address climate change and embracing the US Treasury's call to dramatically boost lending capacity to address this and other global problems.
Two weeks after Mr Malpass came under fire for declining to say whether he accepted the scientific consensus on global warming, he said that there is very strong support from the World Bank board, from staff and from the US government for the lender's climate initiatives that he is leading.
Asked if he expected to complete his five-year term despite some US Democratic legislators urging President Joe Biden to seek his replacement, Mr Malpass said: "World Bank staff and people are very focused on getting solutions to problems around the world, including the climate challenges. One of my goals is to have that focus be very strong and intense."
He said there were a lot of climate tasks and "that we're in the middle of that it's really important to keep pushing forward on and completing".
Mr Malpass, a former US Treasury official, was nominated by then-president Donald Trump in 2019 for a five-year term that ends in April 2024. The US is the largest shareholder of the World Bank, which has been led by an American since it began operations in 1946.
His comments came on the eve of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund annual meetings, at which climate, issues relating to the war in Ukraine, pressures from inflation, debt distress and food insecurity will be among major topics.
US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen on Thursday urged the World Bank and other multilateral development lenders to revamp their business models and dramatically scale up lending to address pressing global needs, with climate change and the transition to clean energy at the top of the list.
She said the World Bank should produce an "evolution road map" by December to meet these challenges.
Mr Malpass said he was fully supportive of Ms Yellen's directive and that the bank was already working with shareholders to stretch its resources to boost lending in the face of "a major set of crises".
"She's raising very good points about the need for evolution of the international financial institutions in the face of a crisis and also in the face of a great deal of change going on in the world, so we embrace that," Mr Malpass said.