Climate finance should not add to the external debt burdens of poor recipient countries, says UN expert

A news release issued by the United Nations Human Rights, Office of the High Commissioner.

GENEVA (8 December 2011) – The United Nations Independent Expert on foreign debt and human rights, Cephas Lumina, urged the international climate change gatherings currently underway in Durban, South Africa, to ensure that finance under the proposed Green Climate Fund does not exacerbate the external debt burdens of recipient countries. Continue reading

Mic Check: Protesters take up camp inside COP17 conference centre

by Tim McSorley, Published in The Media Coop

At 15h00 local time in Durban, SA (8am EST), dozens of protesters gathered inside the International Conference Centre where the COP17 negotiations are entering their final hours. Continue reading

New UK climate finance package ‘will push up developing countries’ debt’

A new climate change finance package, announced today by Chris Huhne, will push up developing countries’ debt, say campaigners from the World Development Movement. Continue reading

Green Climate Fund: FOR PEOPLE OR POLLUTERS?

The GREEN CLIMATE FUND should serve the needs of the peoples of developing countries. But Parties of developed countries are doing their utmost to ensure that the Fund operate based solely on their terms. Continue reading

Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development Statement

We acknowledge that “gender” has gained recognition and that gender language has been included in the official documents and appears in many projects or side events at the COP17. However, we are concerned that the term, “gender” has been poorly conceptualised in official documents and lacks the critical edge that we have been advocating for. It is used just like the word “green” to greenwash the “brown”.  To achieve gender and climate justice, a fundamental transformation in the current global economic system and climate change negotiations has to occur.  Central to this is ending the marginalisation of women’s concerns and integrating women fully into these negotiations as key agents in making this transformation happen. Continue reading

Civils snub Zuma’s African agri solution

Photo from SABC

by By Thobile Hans. Published in SABC.

South African President Jacob Zuma’s declaration on “climate smart and carbon markets” as a climate change solution for African agriculture has raised suspicions among roughly 100 civil society organisations at the COP17 conference in Durban. Continue reading

Common statement on the Outcome of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development

The following comment has been produced by members and affiliates of the Climate Justice Now! network. The network numbers more than 1000 organizations in the global north and south. It is a preliminary comment and has not been fully discussed by all members of the network yet.  Accordingly, not every recommendation in this comment has been explicitly endorsed by all network members or organizations, but only by those who have signed on below. However, these comments capture many of the ideas and the fundamental consensus, which have been formulated in previous meetings since the CJN! networks’ inception and first articulation of the Principles for Climate Justice in 2008. Continue reading

Setback in designing Green Climate Fund

by Martin Khor (Executive Director, South Centre)

The Green Climate Fund which developing countries are relying on to support their actions against global warming suffered a setback when a committee designing the fund could not agree on recommendations to give to the United Nations Climate Convention.

Last week, the transition committee held its final meeting in Capetown, South Africa.  A draft of the instrument of the Fund (containing its aims, governing structures and functions) prepared by the committee’s Co-Chairs was not agreed to by two members, the United States and Saudi Arabia.

Earlier, several others of the committee’s 40 members also criticized parts of the report.  But they did not reject the document. Continue reading

New Report Details Consequences of World Bank’s Fossil Fuel Bing

Bank’s pattern of harmful lending disqualifies it from role in climate finance

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The World Bank continues its fossil fuel financing binge, evading environmental standards and worsening poverty and pollution — that’s the conclusion of a new report released today, just before the start of the World Bank’s spring meetings in Washington, D.C.

The report, World Bank, Climate Change and Energy Financing: Something Old. Something New?, was authored by experts at six non-governmental organizations and examines World Bank Group energy financing in a climate-constrained world. Through a series of seven case studies, the report shows how the Bank’s surge in direct and indirect fossil fuel financing and its support for large-scale energy infrastructure projects have poor poverty alleviation outcomes and call into question the institution’s claim that it is providing leadership on climate change in the developing world.

Such considerations are especially pertinent as the World Bank revamps its Energy Sector Strategy for the first time in more than a decade, as President Obama requests more than $117 million in new money for the institution, and as the Bank seeks an influential role in the UN’s new Green Climate Fund.

“The World Bank’s legacy of environmental and social harm, evasion of safeguards and accountability, and questionable track record on reducing poverty continue to cause serious problems. Regrettably, the World Bank’s draft Energy Sector Strategy looks set to maintain the polluting practices we document in this report: carbon-intensive, large-scale financing, with trickle-down benefits for the poor that are hoped for, but not often achieved,” said Sunita Dubey of groundWork/Friends of the Earth South Africa, co-editor of the report.

“In an era of poverty and climate change, clean energy leadership is called for instead of dirty business as usual. The Bank needs to clean up its act before aiming to put itself at the center of efforts to respond to climate change. It must not play any role in designing or managing the new UN green climate fund,” said Karen Orenstein of Friends of the Earth U.S., co-editor of the report.  “At a time of fiscal austerity and limited resources for international development finance, the World Bank is making a poor case for why Congress should hand it more than $117 million in 2012.”

The report’s conclusions include:
o    Environmental and social safeguards apply to an ever decreasing proportion of the World Bank Group’s financing portfolio;
o    Even for projects where safeguards do apply, the Bank has not incorporated the lessons of past project failings;
o    Deep questions remain about the World Bank’s ability to meet its own sustainable development and poverty alleviation goals;
o    The Bank’s rapidly expanding fossil fuel financing is not alleviating energy poverty for poor communities.

The seven case studies profiled in World Bank, Climate Change, and Energy Financing: Something Old. Something New? examine:
o    World Bank support for fossil fuels through infrastructure lending and financial intermediaries;
o    the Bank’s Carbon Finance Unit (which facilitates international offsetting and carbon trading) and support for the UN Clean Development Mechanism’s Plantar project in Brazil;
o    the role of the Bank in Nigeria’s energy sector;
o    the International Finance Corporation’s loan for a coal plant in India;
o    the World Bank’s loan for the controversial Eskom coal project in South Africa;
o    the legacy of Bank support for large hydropower and the Nam Theun 2 Hydropower Project in Laos; and
o    development policy loans in Brazil and the Belo Monte Dam Complex.

The report is published by by Campagna per la Riforma della Banca Mondiale (CRBM, Italy), CDM Watch (Belgium), Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria, International Rivers (US), Friends of the Earth U.S., groundWork/Friends of the Earth South Africa, and Legal Initiative for Forest and Environment (LIFE, India).

It can be found at http://www.foe.org/world-bank-climate-change-and-energy-financing

Karen Orenstein
Friends of the Earth U.S.
www.foe.org
+1-202-222-0717 (direct)
skype: ponizarga