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.

The World Bank is the largest multi-lateral lender for oil and gas projects and a major actor in deforestation. It has failed to accept its own internal recommendations to stop funding destructive coal, oil and gas extraction. The World Bank is not a transparent or democratic institution and its decision-making is dominated by donor countries. It is also the world’s largest carbon broker and it would be a conflict of interest for it to become the world’s largest conduit for climate change mitigation funding.

The action also called for the European Union and other developed countries to provide transparent and appropriate finance, technology transfer and adaptation funding to developing countries. This is part of repaying the “climate debt” that they owe developing countries due to the large amounts of greenhouse gasses that they have emitted.

Susi Hammel, who took part in the action, said: “The European Union, and other rich industrialised countries, have a historical responsibility for causing climate change. As well as cutting their own emissions, rich nations have to transfer money and technology to developing countries to help them cope with the impacts of climate change, and develop in a sustainable way. We cannot trust the World Bank to deal with climate finance, as it is not democratic or transparent, and is a major supporter of fossil fuel projects. Instead, we need to see agreement in Cancún on a global climate fund under the authority of the UN.”

Any climate finance mechanisms must be designed to ensure human rights including Indigenous Peoples’ rights are protected, false solutions are rejected, and governance structures provide transparency and accountability. Carbon trading and international offsets must not replace new public money to enable developing countries to cope with the impacts of climate change.


The Piñata is a Mexican tradition, in which people hit a brightly coloured papier-mâché object to release sweets.

The action in Brussels is part of an international day of action to oppose World Bank involvement in climate finance, with actions also taking place in Cancún, Mexico, and other cities around the world.

News reports indicate World Bank President Robert Zoellick is coming to Cancún on 8th December to announce the establishment of a multi-million dollar fund to promote the creation of carbon markets in developing countries.