#ReclaimPower: Ahead of WB-IMF meeting in Lima, Asian activists protest funding of dirty energy
MANILA, 9 October 2015 – Hawker unions, women’s groups, religious congregations, and climate justice networks in several Asian countries are holding 300 actions today and tomorrow (October 9 and 10) against fossil fuels and other dirty energy.
The mobilizations of Asian Peoples’ Movement on Debt and Development (APMDD) member groups in Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Nepal, Pakistan and the Philippines are part of the third worldwide Reclaim Power initiative.
They are also taking place on the first two days of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund’s joint annual meeting in Lima, Peru. Both WB president Jim Yong Kim and IMF chief Christine Lagarde have called for urgent climate action, particularly the elimination of fossil subsidies and the adoption of carbon taxes, just last Wednesday. However, the World Bank continues to finance fossil fuel projects and even increased its funding over the past years.
“It is hypocrisy for the World Bank to demand more ambitious climate action when it has increased oil, coal and gas financing by almost four times since 2010. In addition, the Bank funds other harmful energy projects such as mega-dams,” said Lidy Nacpil, coordinator of APMDD and co-coordinator of the Global Campaign to Demand Climate Justice. She cited a recently-published report by Brown University’s Climate and Development Lab and the Institute for Policy Studies.
“We also recently saw reports that the World Coal Association wants the World Bank and the UN’s Green Climate Fund to finance their supposed clean-coal technology,” Nacpil, a Filipina activist, added. “Reclaim Power groups are calling for an immediate stop to new dirty energy projects, and a key part of that call includes the demand for the World Bank and other public institutions to stop financing these projects.”
Reclaim Power organizers carried out 580 actions in 60 countries throughout October 2013, and 630 actions last year across one week of global actions last October 2014. Organizers are expecting 800 actions this year, including marches and press conferences.
Actions calling for energy transformation as part of Reclaim Power began in late September. Last Sunday, October 4, about 3,000 members of the newly-formed Ecological Justice Interfaith Movement (ECOJIM) in the Philippines held an “Ecowalk” in Manila in response to the call of Pope Francis’s encyclical Laudato Si for environmental and social justice.
Over in India, the National Hawkers Federation (NHF), an APMDD member, is organizing over a hundred actions. The Hawker Sangram Committee, one of its members in West Bengal, held a demonstration and human chain program at the Ruby Golpark area of Kolkata.
“Reclaim Power is an occasion to call for universal energy access, because about 300 million Indians or more than a quarter of our population still have no access to electricity,” said Saktiman Ghosh, NHF secretary general. “But this huge energy gap must be solved by clean and renewable energy, not by building more coal plants.”
Meanwhile, in Nepal, which is suffering from a weeks-long unofficial blockade by India, another member organization of APMDD is calling for more investments in public and community renewable energy.
“The blockade has heightened the problem of energy security in Nepal,” said Sujita Shakya, central committee secretary of the All Nepal Women Association. “We condemn the blockade and call on our leaders to build up our country’s energy sovereignty by investing in clean and renewable energy systems for our people.”
“We call on rich industrialized countries to provide climate finance as part of their obligations under the climate convention,” she added.
In Indonesia, another APMDD member reported that geothermal projects are being built at the cost of the people’s right to water.
“These projects only favor the private sector, because communities have lost their natural water source. People’s basic needs must not be disregarded,” said Muhammad Reza, national coordinator of the People’s Coalition for the Right to Water (KRuHA) from Jakarta.
This year’s Reclaim Power is one of several global days of action this year on climate change, as a global climate deal is set to be agreed in Paris in December. The next round of UN climate negotiations will be held in Bonn, Germany on October 19 to 23.
Under the Reclaim Power banner, social movements, international networks, NGOs and grassroots groups united across continents to ban new dirty energy projects, end government subsidies and public handouts to dirty energy, divest from fossil fuel corporations, provide universal access to energy; end to excessive energy consumption by corporations and global elites, and make for a swift and just transition to public and community renewable energy systems.