During the 16th Conference of Parties (COP16) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNCFCCC) held in Cancun, Mexico from November 29 to December 10, 2010, various parallel actions and activities were undertaken by civil society groups to oppose any role of the World Bank in climate finance.
Brussels, 8th December 2010 – Activists gathered today outside the World Bank office in Brussels, and invited members of the public to hit a World Bank “Piñata” in the shape of a piggy bank, to oppose World Bank involvement in climate finance. The action, which took place during the second week of the UN climate change negotiations, demanded that all money to fight climate change should go through the United Nations, not the World Bank or any other multilateral development banks. The decision to establish a global climate fund under authority of the UN should be adopted at the climate negotiations currently taking place in Cancún.
In a press conference sponsored by the Freedom from Debt Coalition, Jubilee South, the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance and the NGO Forum on the ADB, various civil society groups from the South voiced their reasons for rejecting any role for the World Bank and regional development banks such as the Asian Development Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank and the African Development Bank.
“We have directly experienced the consequences of the World Bank’s loans, loan-financed projects and policy conditionalities. It is inconceivable to us how this institution can be entrusted with climate finance” said Abdul Awal of SUPRO, a network of grassroots organizations in Bangladesh and a member of Jubilee South. “In Bangladesh, we waged a nationwide campaign rejecting any role for the World Bank in our national climate finance trust funds.”
Mithika Mwenda pf the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance adds, “The World Bank has spent billions of dollars financing fossil fuel projects these last 40 years. Clearly, it shares a major responsibility in causing the climate crisis.”
“Climate finance must not be given in the form of loans or other debt creating instruments. It is already a grave injustice that peoples of the South bear the brunt of the impacts of a crisis they had no part in creating. It is even a grave injustice that they are made to pay for the cost of dealig with these impacts” states Lidy Nacpil begin_of_the_skype_highlighting end_of_the_skype_highlighting of the Freedom from Debt Coalition-Philippines, a member of Jubilee South. “The World Bank serving as either source or channel for climate finance means a signifcant amount of these funds will flow as loans.
Miguel Borba de Sa of Jubilee South Americas adds “The World Bank has been promoting a “development” paradigm that has led to the problem of global warming and climate change. It has also been promoting false solutions to the climate crisis which only paves the way for generating more profits for global elites and transnational corporations.”
The groups declared that there will be vigorous campaigns worldwide in the next months to counter the World Banks expanding role in climate.
The whole nation of Pakistan continues to reel from devastating impacts of the unprecedented disaster that hit the country over a month ago.
The responses thus far from the international community are far from adequate and, in the case of the IMF, World Bank and ADB, even deplorable. These institutions have chosen to offer more loans rather than cancel the debts they claim from Pakistan. Together, loans from these institutions and other multilateral financial institutions constitute more than 50% of Pakistan's total outstanding external debts. As of 2009 outstanding credits from the IMF are US$5.1B, outstanding loans from the World Bank amount to US$11.5B and from the ADB it is US$9B. Bilateral loans comprise more than 30%. The major bilateral lenders are Japan (US$6.67B), France (US$B2.17B), Germany (US$1.82B), USA (US$1.51), and China (US$1.88B). Total external debt of Pakistan as of 2009 is US$50.7B. (for more information see Annexes)
The Jubilee South-Asia/Pacific Movement on Debt and Development (JS-APMDD) joins the international community in expressing deep solidarity with the people of Pakistan who continue to suffer from the devastating floods that has so far claimed more than a thousand lives, left four million people homeless and damaged 7.9 million acres of farmland and other economic structures. Not only did the floods wreak havoc to lives and property, it also intensely exacerbated the already dire situation of the Pakistani people.