Skip to content

UPDATE: The Council says no to World Bank role in climate financing

The Council of Canadians said no to World Bank involvement in the administration of a global climate fund today in Cancun.

The Harper government, the United States and other developed countries want the World Bank to have a central role.

We participated in a demonstration and march with about 125 people this morning at City Hall in Cancun.

More than 200 organizations – including the Council of Canadians – have signed an open letter demanding ‘the World Bank out of climate financing’.

The World Bank reflects the economic and political interests of developed countries. The US holds about 16 percent of the votes on its Executive Board.

Its fossil fuel heavy lending portfolio puts people and the planet in peril. In 2009 it put almost $7 billion of funding into the fossil fuel industry. It also put millions into massive hydro projects that release greenhouse gases.

It also supports market mechanisms.

It has also been a main institution used to enforce structural adjustment, privatization and deregulation.

World Bank involvement would likely result in a significant part of climate financing flowing as loans not grants that would come with unfair conditions. Developing countries would be further pushed into debt to tackle a crisis they did little to cause.

We strongly denounced the statement by Canada’s chief climate negotiator this week that Canada supports the World Bank because it has “a good track record.”

What’s the alternative?
We believe that a global climate fund must be administered by the United Nations.

The Cochabamba people’s agreement states, “Climate funding should be direct and free of conditions, and should not interfere with the national sovereignty or self-determination of the most affected communities and groups.”

As noted in a media release, “The petition urges the governments to set up a Global Climate Fund under the authority of 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. The same letter also calls for the governments not to give a role for the World Bank in the establishment and management of the Global Climate Fund.”

During the march activists stopped for a moment of silence in the plaza where South Korean farmer Lee Kyung Hae killed himself during the 2003 World Trade Organization summit here in protest of its policies of death. Then representatives of countries hurt by the World Bank smashed a World Bank pinyata. John Dillon from Kairos and I helped carry a World Bank puppet, while Board member Leticia Adair helped with the European Union puppet.