MANILA, Philippines – The recent move of developed countries especially the United States to include World Bank as the trustee of the New Global Climate Fund within the negotiation text of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is simply unacceptable, according to a debt watchdog.

The Freedom from Debt Coalition (FDC) said that the World Bank has no right to participate or take any role in climate financing because of its long history of climate change-inducing projects like coal and other fossil-based energy projects that accelerated the impacts of climate change.

In a protest action outside the World Bank office here, FDC said that the Bank’s participation in these projects remove any ascendancy and credibility it supposedly have in dealing with climate change. The protest action is part of the Week of Global Action against Debt and international financial institutions (IFIs) being led globally by groups like the Jubilee South – Asia Pacific Movement on Debt Development (JS-APMDD) to which FDC is an active member.

Milo Tanchuling, FDC secretary-general, said that the World Bank, instead of making any progress in curbing the effects of climate change, “actually contributed to the heightened intensity of typhoons in the Philippines that were very evident with the recent typhoons Ondoy, Pepeng and Santi.”

According to a 2008 study of JS-APMDD, a total of US$52.2 billion were invested in climate change-inducing energy project throughout the world. In the Philippines, Word Bank co-financed the Masinloc coal-fired plant and the Calaca coal-fired plant which they consider clean and sustainable.

“For largely contributing to the impacts of climate change, the World Bank must shoulder the total damage of these typhoons worth $4.4 billion in the form of reparation to the Filipino people,” stressed Tanchuling.

“All of these add up to their climate debt, the list of ‘daños y perjuicios’ which they should be paying for,” he added.

The group proposed that the New Global Climate Fund must be established within the UNFCCC, and governed by a secretariat with equal representation for developing countries. They added that it must be a new financial mechanism that does not cater to the conditionalities of IFIs with bad records in climate like the World Bank and ADB.

“This fund must be directly accessible to developing countries, and must not be sourced from carbon market that increases the emission caps of Annex 1 or developed countries,” Tanchuling said.

The groups stressed that instead of bidding to become the trustee of the New Global Climate Fund, the World Bank should gather all the historical damages and environmental impacts of their dirty projects, and begin to plot out a system for the reparation of their climate debt.

“The first step is to cancel the debts of developing countries like the Philippines and provide funds for adaptation as part of reparations, rather than extending new loans,” Tanchuling said.

FDC said that the New Global Climate Fund without the use of existing financial mechanism is feasible with the support of strong political support from G77 plus China that consist of more than 130 developing countries in the world.

“It is also imperative to exact accountability from the Annex 1 countries and IFIs within the ambit of UNFCCC in order to achieve climate justice for the victims of the climate crisis,” Tanchuling said. (30)

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