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CLIMATE CHANGE: World Bank Under Fire for Role in New Global Green Fund PDF Print
Written by Marwaan Macan-Markar   
Friday, 08 April 2011 11:32



"In spite of the climate and economic crises, the World Bank continues

to finance fossil fuel projects at an alarming rate, promote false

solutions to the climate crisis, and use funding instruments that

increase indebtedness of developing countries," charged a coalition of

nearly 100 local and international civil society organisations in a

letter released here during on- going negotiations at the first of three

U.N. climate change conferences to be held in the lead up to the Durban

COP17 summit in late November.


"The World Bank is not suited to advise in the design of a fund that

must ensure fair and effective long-term financing based on the

principles of environmental integrity, equity, sustainable development

and democracy," noted the two-page letter, whose signatories included

global groups like Action Aid and International Rivers, regional groups

like the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance and local groups like the

Bolivian Climate Change Platform.


The letter was addressed to Patricia Espinosa, Mexico’s secretary of

foreign affairs, and to Christina Figueres, the head of the Bonn-based

climate change secretariat of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate

Change (UNFCCC).


It was at last December’s UNFCCC summit in Cancun, Mexico that a

landmark blueprint emerged creating the GCF, which is aimed at financing

efforts to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases (GHG) and to help

communities adapt to the havoc created by climate change in the

developing world.


The Bank was named as the new fund’s interim trustee for the first three

years, until a more permanent financial architecture is built to steer

much needed assistance to the world’s poorer nations.


A report by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s climate financing

advisory group released on the eve of the Mexico climate change summit

estimated that 100 billion dollars a year is needed for climate change

initiatives in the developing world.


Other estimates point to a higher figure - upwards of 400 billion

dollars annually in the South - reveals the Jubilee South Asia-Pacific

Movement on Debt and Development (JSAPMDD), a regional network of

grassroots activists.


The GCF has been mandated to start forking out these new funds by 2020,

which, according to the UNFCCC, will take the form of grants or

concessional loans.


But the Bank’s record of programmes under the guise of ‘development’ in

the poorer nations makes it the wrong choice to play a permanent role in

administering the GCF, says Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, convener of the Asian

Indigenous Women’s Network, a regional grassroots group based in Manila.

"They are not a trusted institution in the developing world."


"There is a fear among activists and some developing country governments

that the Bank will secure approval to run the day-to-day operations of

the GCF," Tauli-Corpuz told IPS. "That will result in more obstructions

for the poor and the vulnerable victims of climate change."


"Climate finance is part of the reparations for climate debt owed by

rich, industrialised countries to the peoples and countries of the

South," argues Ahmed Swapan of JSAPMDD. "The climate debt must be

collected, managed and disbursed by an institution that is democratic,

accountable, transparent and governed by a board with a majority coming

from [the] South."


Activists are concerned about a potential conflict-of-interest if the

Bank secures the role as the secretariat of the GCF, since the

Washington, D.C.- based multilateral financial institution will also

have a part as a co-financier and implementer of projects.


As troubling is the Bank’s record in existing climate change funds, such

as the Global Environmental Facility (GEF), which was established in

1991 to help developing countries adapt to the challenges of climate

change. "To get funds from the GEF, countries had to go through

implementing agencies like the United Nations Development Programme

(UNDP), United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Bank,"

said Matthew Stilwell, policy adviser at the Institute for Governance

and Sustainable Development, a Geneva-based think tank. "They had to

jump through hoops, making it difficult to access funds."


Consequently, developing countries are "advocating for more direct

access to the funds" of the GCF, Stilwell told IPS. "They have learnt

lessons from the past."


But in the rooms of the U.N. conference centre here, where climate

change negotiators from 190 countries are meeting from Apr. 3 - 8 to

shape a new global environmental deal, the sources of funding for the

GCF are also on the table.


"It will be new sources of funding," Jozsef Feiler, the chief climate

change negotiator for Hungary, currently the president of the council of

the European Union, told IPS.


Yet activists are not convinced, given suggestions by negotiators from

the developed world that funding would be from a combination of public

and private sector sources.


"Funding should be from public sources, new and additional to official

development assistance," says Michelle Maynard of the Pan African

Climate Justice Alliance. "The principles are simple: providing climate

finance is a legal and moral obligation for rich countries."


source : http://ipsnews.net/newsTVE.asp?idnews=55148

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