Enviro groups say no role for World Bank in climate

June 10, 2010
BONN, Germany, June 10, 2010 -- Today, 287 civil society organizations from over 50 countries released a letter to President Barack Obama calling for the US to stop supporting the World Bank in UN climate negotiations...

• 287 organizations warn Obama

BONN, Germany, June 10, 2010 -- Today, in response to demands by rich countries for World Bank management of climate funds, 287 civil society organizations from over 50 countries released a letter to President Barack Obama calling for the US to stop supporting the Bank in UN climate negotiations.

At a press conference releasing the letter, Raman Mehta from Action Aid India said:

"The rich world needs to find money to pay the world's poor back for the damage they've caused by climate change, but just because money is needed does not mean the World Bank is needed. The developed world owes the world's poor a climate debt, these people who are most vulnerable to climate change do not need interference from an organisation that continues to fund the pollution that causes climate change."

"The World Bank has lent money to dirty fossil fuel projects again and again. It is a fundamentally undemocratic institution very often used to the detriment of sustainable development - so giving it a role in managing funds for developing countries would see our chances of effectively and equitably tackling climate change go up in smoke. It would be like giving your keys to a drunk and thinking you'll get home safely." Karen Orenstein of Friends of the Earth US said.

"This money should instead be managed fairly and through a democratic process with buy-in and control from all countries. Many developing countries at these negotiations have made clear that they don't want the Bank in control. Developing countries are the ones suffering the worst impacts of climate change and must have decision making power over how funds are channelled and used." Illana Solomon of ActionAid US said.

Led by a coalition of development, environmental and social justice organizations, 287 groups from 54 countries have signed the letter, calling on President Barack Obama to use US influence in the negotiations to ensure the World Bank does not take on a role in controlling funds for developing countries to tackle climate change.

Some of the 287 organisations backing the letter include Friends of the Earth International, ActionAid International, Christian Aid in the UK, Jubilee South, 350.org, the Sustainable Energy and Economy Network of Institute for Policy Studies, the Campagna per la Riforma della Banca Mondiale, the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance and Third World Network.

The letter questions the World Bank's track record of imposing policy conditions and programs on developing countries and its lack of democratic accountability.

Additionally, it notes that developing countries, which will bear the heaviest burden from climate change, are the least represented inside the Bank.

It further notes that the World Bank continues to be a top financier of fossil fuels. As of April 2010, it had already hit a record high for annual fossil fuel lending, with (US) $4.7 billion primarily for coal.

The letter instead calls for US support for the creation of a multilateral climate fund under the UNFCCC that has an equitable governance structure, prioritizes the participation of affected communities, operates with full transparency and accountability, and provides direct access to funding.