MANILA, Philippines – As stakeholders of the Climate Investment Funds (CIF) meet here for a two-day Partnership Forum, hosted by the Asian Development Bank, around 300 activists staged a protest outside the Bank’s headquarters seeking climate justice and demanding that multilateral development banks (MDBs) should stay out of climate financing.

Holding lifesaver rings, members of the Freedom from Debt Coalition (FDC) and Philippine Movement for Climate Justice (PMCJ) told the World Bank and ADB that “you’re not our lifeguards” as these MDBs, in the first place, are the “major financers of  projects that exacerbate climate change.”

“Because of their track record for financing fossil fuel and other climate change-inducing projects, these MDBs, especially the World Bank, have no credibility to administer these funds. More importantly, decisions on where these funds will go are highly influenced by the donor countries that are major polluters themselves,” said FDC secretary general Milo Tanchuling.

Aside from FDC and PMCJ, other groups that participated in the protest action are Jubilee South – Asia Pacific Movement on Debt and Development (JS-APMDD), NGO Forum on the ADB, Kilusan para sa Pambansang Demokrasya (KPD), KAISA KA, Kilusang Mangingisda (KM), Aniban ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (AMA), Kongreso ng Pagkakaisa ng Maralitang Lungsod, Partido ng Manggagawa, and Koalisyon Pabahay ng Pilipinas – Kalayaan.

Approved on July 1, 2008, the CIFs are financing instruments designed to pilot low-carbon and climate-resilient development through the MDBs. Its secretariat is housed at the World Bank.

Aside from MDBs, other CIF stakeholders are countries, MDBs, UN and UN agencies, Global Environment Facility, UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, Adaptation Fund, Bilateral Development Agencies, civil Society, indigenous peoples, private sector entities and scientific and technical experts.

The 2010 CIF Partnership Forum aims to share lessons learned from the CIF design process and from early implementation of CIF-funded programs.  In particular, early implementation lessons will be drawn from country-level activities of the Clean Technology Fund (CTF) and the Pilot Program on Climate Resilience (PPCR), the first targeted program under the Strategic Climate Fund (SCF) to advance to implementation stage.  

At present, the fund reached US$6.3 billion from donor countries – Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, the United States, and the United Kingdom.

However, these funds will be disbursed mostly through loans.

Climate Justice

According to PMCJ, a basic and undeniable truth is that a wealthy minority of world’s countries, the MDBs,  and corporations are the principal cause of climate change.

“Sadly, the adverse effects of climate change fall first and foremost on the poor majority, including the debt burdened and cash-strapped  developing countries like the Philippines,” said PMCJ’s Khevin Yu, adding that this forms the foundation of the global climate justice movement.

Climate justice is a principle that puts the burden to countries responsible for climate crisis based on their excessive emissions, detrimental actions and extraction of resources from other countries. According to studies, around three-fourths of the world’s total emission comes from developed countries, while developing countries incur minimal traces of emissions for the past ten decades.

Reparations, not loans

The groups said that developed countries, including the MDBs must take responsibility for repaying the full measure of their historical and current responsibility or climate debt to the peoples of the South.

“We demand reparations from these major polluters, not loans,” stressed FDC’s Tanchuling.

According to activists campaigning on climate debt, developed countries must repay the full measure of their adaptation debt to the developing countries and communities who did little to cause climate change and are its first victims. To ensure full compensation for losses suffered these countries must provide financing and technology to avoid or minimize future impacts where possible.

“This should not be in the form of aid or any form of investment funds like what the WB and ADB are promoting,” said Malou Tabios of PMCJ.

Further, the groups said that to avoid deepening their emission debt, developed countries must make a deep and early cuts in their domestic emissions. (30)

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