12 October 2008
Debt & Public Finance
– The Freedom from Debt Coalition (FDC) today marked the opening of the Week of Global Action against Debt and International Financial Institutions (IFIs) here in the Philippines by joining the calls of international social movements, faith-based organizations, ecological, social and political movements for IFIs to stop all funding and programs that exacerbate climate change.
In a creative action here, FDC said the problem of climate change is not just an environmental issue. The group asserted that it is one of the most unashamed and repulsive result of a flawed development paradigm imposed to us by lending institutions in tandem with our debt-addicted governments.
“Lest we forget, the history of colonization and the introduction of the current neo-liberal globalization point us on how the massive outflow and extraction of resources from the South to the North happened,” FDC said.
“We witnessed how lending institutions like the World Bank, IMF and ADB facilitated the north’s exploitation and plunder of our environmental resources and biodiversity while subjecting the people of the south to a long epoch of indebtedness and impoverishment; all in the name of false development,” FDC said.
The debt watchdog condemned the role of IFIs in promoting climate change through debt-driven infrastructure and promotion of dirty industries. The group said IFI-funding of big dams, coal power plants and nuclear plants together with its encouragement of extractive industries such as oil, coal and gas and its endorsement of agrofuel/biofuel production have resulted in massive deforestation, involuntary displacement of communities and food insecurity.
It also assailed lending institutions for being the wrong organizations and international platforms to concentrate new resources or authority in the fight against the climate crisis. Recently, the World Bank is attempting to reinvent itself as a “pro-environment” institution, and to assume role in global financing of climate mitigation and adaptation and the promotion of "clean technology" and "clean development.”
“We reject all IFI loan facilities and programs purportedly aimed at contributing in the global fight to address climate change. We reject all IFI loan agreements and ‘aid’ supposedly for adaptation measures and for purposes of funding renewable energies when these same institutions continue to promote a development framework as well as push loan projects that aggravate climate change,” FDC said.
Instead, FDC listed the following demands IFIs, northern countries’ governments and transnational corporations must heed:
• A redirection of existing dirty energy financing to adaptation and mitigation measures and energy efficiency projects as a form of reparation to the decades of ecological debt owed by the north and lending institutions to the south.
• Financing of renewable energies as repayment to countless years of imposed indebtedness that hampered southern countries to develop alternative technologies and development strategies.
• Rejection of all loans for fossil fuel extraction and development and other dirty technologies.
• An end to all conditionalities (e.g. privatization, liberalization and deregulation)
• Total and unconditional cancellation and repudiation of all illegitimate debts incurred in the name of the environment as well as loans and other “obligations” claimed to us by the north and lending institutions that funded and/or has contributed to climate change.
The Week of Global Action against Debt and International Financial Institutions will run from October 13 to 17. It is an international event organized by peoples’ organizations and movements around the world which pledged to mount activities aimed at awareness building and education, policy advocacy and direct action to challenge IFIs, transnational corporations and governments everywhere to acknowledge responsibilities for the enduring debt domination and their critical role in the climate crisis.
FDC is a member of Jubilee South/ Asia Pacific Movement on Debt and Development (JS-APMDD), one of the main organizers of the global event. ###