Cancun: Anger grows at World Bank role in climate
As talks on long-term climate finance (1) start today, campaigners from around the world will express their opposition to the World Bank being handed control of global climate funds.
The new negotiating text which emerged at the weekend, developed outside of the UN process and under apparent pressure from the US and EU, (2) promotes the World Bank as the hub for future climate finance. This move goes against the wishes of developing countries who want to see climate obligations met through UN bodies like the UN Adaptation Fund.
Organisations from around the world have signed an open letter (3) to governments at the Cancun negotiations stating that the nature, structure, track record, and policies of the World Bank contradict the principles of fair and effective climate finance. They argue that the obligations on rich countries to help developing countries deal with the impacts of climate change, and develop in a sustainable way, should be met with grants rather than loans and should be channelled through a democratic, 'bottom-up' process. They claim the World Bank, one of the world’s leading funders of fossil fuel industries, is 'top-down', controlled by the richest countries.
Signatories to the letter will today launch a new campaign to resist the growing role of the World Bank in climate finance.
Kirsty Wright, from the World Development Movement said:
"Donor countries, in particular the UK, are unfairly pushing for climate finance to be channelled as loans through the World Bank. The current negotiating text goes further than the Copenhagen Accord by specifically inviting the World Bank to become the manager of climate finance. The World Bank cannot be trusted with climate finance given that it is a leader in investing in fossil fuel projects, is undemocratic and is controlled by donor countries. It's absolutely disgraceful, and we will resist this strongly together with our allies from around the world."
The UK government is believed to be a key proponent of the World Bank, and currently provides over 80% of its climate finance through the World Bank, 60% taking the form of loans.
Nick Dearden, from Jubilee Debt Campaign said:
"The latest move by rich countries risks derailing the whole summit. Developing countries have made clear time and again that the World Bank is not an acceptable forum for climate finance - it is tainted by its history and controlled by the rich countries which are responsible for climate change. A successful outcome to these negotiations - and a just deal on climate change - will only happen if the World Bank takes a back seat."
Campaigners are also angry that they are not being allowed to campaign against the World Bank inside the UN talks. They have been told that permission will not be granted for any protest that mentions the World Bank, so they are being forced to march and protest away from the conference centre.
Ian Rivera, from Freedom from Debt Coalition (FDC) - Philippines said:
"It's outrageous that the World Bank is being forced on to developing countries. Peoples of developing countries do not want to work with the World Bank in order to access much needed climate finance. Based on bitter experience, they know that the World Bank will increase their debts and poverty and will undermine their human rights and their independence. That's why we have launched a new campaign to stop the World Bank being imposed on developing countries who need climate finance to cope with climate change."
For more information/interviews, please call Nick Dearden in London at Jubilee Debt Campaign on 020 7324 4724 or 07932 335 464 or Kate Blagojevic in Cancun on ++ 447711875 345
Notes to editors
(1) On Wednesday 8 December the summit will begin looking at mechanisms for providing finance to developing countries for climate change adaptation and mitigation from 2012 to 2020. This will follow the $30 billion in 'Fast Start' finance pledged in the Copenhagen Accord and aims to mobilise $100 billion each year by 2020.
(2) The negotiating text can be found here: http://unfccc.int/resource/docs/2010/awglca13/eng/crp02.pdf This text was produced without a mandate from the UNFCCC process and undermines many of the crucial negotiating positions held by developing countries. Documents released by the website Wikileaks indicate that the US and EU were planning from February 2010 to push these negotiating positions into the Cancun summit through this working group. The Wikileaks document can be found here: http://wikileaks.ch/cable/2010/02/10BRUSSELS186.html
[3) A full text of the open letter and signatories can be found at: http://www.worldbankoutofclimate.org/?p=29