New Delhi, Jan 13 (Agencies): India and the World Bank on Thursday agreed to further strengthen their partnership to advance India's green-growth agenda.

During their meeting, Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh and World Bank President Robert B Zoellick discussed the Government's vision for a strong and sustainable development agenda.

"The partnership between the World Bank and the Government of India will support programs that help India maintain high growth as a primary objective, while also either
building climate resilience or promoting clean energy solutions, consistent with India's 11th Five Year Plan," said a World Bank release here.

This includes projects that build fuel-efficient transport infrastructure, clean energy hydropower plants, efficient water supply and wastewater systems, as well as programmes that help farmers, fishing communities and people in other vulnerable communities safeguard their livelihoods against the vagaries of a changing climate, it said.

"Our projects supported by the World Bank specifically address our most compelling environmental concerns, including river cleaning and conserving our biodiversity. We are also working at strengthening our environmental regulators as a probable area of future engagement," he said.

The Government is focusing efforts on applying rigorous environmental safeguards for infrastructure projects, strengthening the environmental governance system, revitalizing regulatory institutions, investing in air and water quality improvements and addressing the   challenge of climate change on an ongoing basis, he said.

Applauding the Government's efforts, Zoellick said, India is working to integrate its growth objectives and need to overcome poverty with the sustainability of natural resources and  the well-being of future generations.

"The Government is striving to avoid actions that will add to costs today and tomorrow for health, clean water, clean air and preservation of valuable biodiversity. The World Bank Group is pleased to share its experience to support India's inclusive and sustainable development," he said.

The proposed project to strengthen the capacity of the Pollution Control Boards will help build their skills and infrastructure, ensure their financial sustainability and set up new monitoring and data management mechanisms, the World Bank statement said.

The proposed biodiversity project will seek to demonstrate conservation measures in various ecosystems, catalogue India’s rich biodiversity in hotspots, and support livelihoods of communities living within biodiversity-rich areas and enable them to benefit from  investments in these areas, it said.

The Bank has already given its financial support for three environment management and protection projects which include Integrated Coastal Zone Management Project, Industrial Pollution Management Project and the National Ganga Project with $220 million, $65 million and $20 million help respectively.

Integrated Coastal Zone Management Project will help to establish an institutional structure to coordinate coastal zone management nationally and is piloting integrated approaches to coastal zone management in Gujarat, Orissa and West Bengal.

Under Industrial pollution Management Project, select industrially polluted sites will be rehabilitated, a national framework for the remediation of polluted and orphaned contaminated sites will be developed and ozone-depleting substances will be phased out.

Under the National Ganga Project, pollution in the river will be reduced by sewage collection and treatment and municipal solid waste management.