Global Civil Society Wary of World Bank Role in New Funds

The Sustainable Energy & Economy Network at the Institute for Policy Studies has joined with over 90 environment, development, anti-debt and human rights organizations from the United States and around the world to urge leaders to keep the World Bank out of the driver’s seat when designing a new Green Climate Fund. The fund was established during international talks held last December in Cancun to handle the hundreds of billions of dollars that developing countries will need in coming decades to deal with climate change.

In a letter (below) sent to the Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the convener of the first Fund design meeting groups demanded that the Green Climate Fund remain fully independent from the World Bank and that the design committee engage experts from UN agencies, all regions of the world and relevant sectors – specifically gender, sustainable development and poverty alleviation, new renewable energy and efficiency technologies, Indigenous Peoples and human rights, and social and environmental safeguards. Members of the committee will have an opportunity to take up recommendations in the letter at their first meeting in late April in Mexico.

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April 5, 2011

Patricia Espinosa
Secretary of Foreign Affairs, Republic of Mexico

Christiana Figueres
Executive Secretary, UN Framework Convention on Climate Change

Your Excellency Madam Secretary, Madam Executive Secretary:

The undersigned organizations recognize that the establishment of a global climate fund which is able to respond to the urgent needs and rights of peoples and communities throughout the global South would be an important step toward the implementation of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. In order to achieve those goals the Green Climate Fund (GCF) established at the 16th Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in Cancún, and the Transitional Committee tasked with its design, must be seen as legitimate by governments and civil society.

The Green Climate Fund was created because existing climate funds, such as the World Bank’s Climate Investment Funds (CIFs), have been unable to meet the needs of communities in developing countries to address the climate crisis. Thus, the design of the Green Climate Fund must not become a process that replicates these inadequate funds.

The integrity and potential of a truly just and effective climate fund has already been compromised by the Cancún decisions to involve the World Bank as interim trustee and to invite the multilateral development banks to second staff to support the work of the Transitional Committee.

We strongly oppose such decisions and involvement based on past experience of the devastating social and environmental impacts of these institutions’ activities and policies, and their ongoing role in financing climate destruction.

In spite of the climate and economic crises, the World Bank continues to finance fossil fuel projects at an alarming rate, promote false solutions to the climate crisis, and use funding instruments that increase the indebtedness of developing countries. Thus, the World Bank is not suited to advise in the design of a fund that must ensure fair and effective long-term financing based on the principles of environmental integrity, equity, sustainable development, and democracy.

Faced with the UNFCCC decisions already made in Cancún, we insist that the World Bank’s role be strictly limited to that of interim trustee of the GCF. As interim trustee, the World Bank’s role must be restricted to taking instructions on fiduciary matters from the Board of the Fund. We would also urge Parties to review and revise, at the earliest convenience, that designation, bearing in mind its interim character and the need to develop clear alternatives.

Furthermore, it must be absolutely clear that the World Bank was not given a mandate to lead any process in the design of technical aspects of the Fund and it should be prevented from doing so. If technical support bodies to the Transitional Committee are composed of staff from the World Bank, regional development banks, and private financial institutions, the work of the Transitional Committee may be prejudged and the legitimacy of the Committee may be undermined. Indeed, there would be a significant conflict of interests if the World Bank were to have a role in designing the very Fund that it is meant to manage and oversee in its role as interim trustee.

Instead, the Transitional Committee must galvanize engagement of experts from all regions and relevant sectors. Specifically, the Transitional Committee should involve technical experts in gender, sustainable development and poverty eradication, new renewable energy and efficiency technologies, Indigenous Peoples’ and human rights, and social and environmental safeguards.

Technical support bodies that serve the Transitional Committee should equitably balance the participation of experts from national financial institutions with experts from the UN and other global institutions. Such bodies should draw on experts from other funds such as the Adaptation Fund, the Multilateral Fund for the Implementation of the Montreal Protocol, and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

We urge the Transitional Committee to design a process to formally include the expertise of those from academia, labor unions, organizations representing climate-affected communities, and other areas of civil society.

We call on the UNFCCC secretariat and Transitional Committee members to:

  • Ensure that the Transitional Committee respects the Cancun decision that the Green Climate Fund be supported by an independent secretariat by excluding World Bank influence over the secretariat’s design.
  • Appoint a member of the UNFCCC secretariat to serve as facilitator, coordinator or lead of any technical support body that may serve the Transitional Committee;
  • Facilitate financial and organizational support for staff from UNEP, UNDP and other UN agencies to be seconded to assist in designing the GCF;
  • Create a process for civil society organizations to second staff to the Transitional Committee, ensuring geographic and gender balance; and
  • Strictly limit and make transparent the role of the World Bank, regional development banks, private financial institutions and the private arms of public financial institutions and their staff in the design of the Green Climate Fund.

We thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,

350.org
ActionAid
Adivasi Mulvasi Astitva Raksha manch, India
Africa Jubilee South
Aitec-Initiatives Pour un Autre Monde, France
All Nepal Peasant Federation
All Nepal Women’s Association
AMA Philippines
Amigos de la Tierra Espana
ATTAC France
Bangladesh Krishok Federation
Bharat Jan Vigyan Jatha, India
Bolivian Climate Change Platform / Plataforma Boliviana Frente al Cambio Climático
Both ENDS, Netherlands
CAFOD, UK
Campagna per la Riforma della Banca Mondiale, Italy
Center for Biological Diversity, USA
Centre National de Coopération au Développement – 11.11.11, Belgium
Co-Ordination Office of the Austrian Episcopal Conference for International Development
and Mission
Consumers Association of Penang, Malaysia
Council of Canadians
Dartmouth College Environmental Justice Research Project, USA
Daughters of Mumbi Global Resource Center , Kenya
Earth Day Network, USA
Eco Development Foundation, Uganda
EcoEquity, USA
Ecologistas en Acción, Spain
Equity and Justice Working Group Bangladesh (EquityBD)
Ethiopian Society for Consumer Protection
European Network on Debt and Development
Fair, Italy
Focus on the Global South
Freedom from Debt Coalition, Philippines
Friends of the Earth International
Friends of the Earth Malaysia
Friends of the Earth Norway
Friends of the Earth USA
Friends of the Siberian Forests, Russia
GenderCC – Women for Climate Justice
Global Anti-incinerator Alliance
Global Forest Coalition
Greenpeace USA
groundWork/ Friends of the Earth South Africa
IBON Foundation
Indian Social Action Forum
Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, USA
Institute for Essential Services Reform, Indonesia
Instituto Latinoamericano para una Sociedad y un Derecho Alternativos, Colombia
International Rivers
International-Lawyers.Org
Jagaran Nepal
Jagrata Juba Shangha, Bangladesh
Jatiyo Sramik Jote, Bangladesh
Jubilee South
Jubilee South – Asia/Pacific Movement on Debt and Development
Kalayaan, Philippines
Koalisi Anti-Utang, Indonesia
KPP, Philippines
LDC Watch
Legambiente Onlus, Italy
Les Amis de la Terre / Friends of the Earth France
Makabayan Philippines
mines minerals & PEOPLE, India
National Hawkers Federation, India
Nord-Sud XXI, Switzerland
Norwegian Church Aid
Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum
Pakistan Kissan Rabita Committee
Pan Africa Climate Justice Alliance
People’s Coalition for the Rigaht to water (KRuHA), Indonesia
Peoples Movement on Climate Change
Philippine Movement for Climate Change
PKKK (Rural Women’s Federation), Philippines
River Basin Friends North East, India
Rural Reconstruction Nepal
Sanlakas Youth, Philippines
Society for Threatened Peoples International
Solidaritas Perempuan, Indonesia
South Asia Alliance for Poverty Eradication
South Asian Dialogues on Ecological Democracy
South Durban community Environmental Alliance, South Africa
SPIRE Norway
SUPRO Bangaldesh
Sustainable Energy & Economy Network, Institute for Policy Studies, USA
Sustainable Population Australia
The Development Fund, Norway
The Norwegian Forum for Environment and Development
Third World Network
Umphilo waManzi, South Africa
VOICE, Bangladesh
WALHI, Indonesia
World Development Movement, UK
Youth Against Debt, Philippines
Zwartkops Conservancy, South Africa

CC:
Mr. Michaël Adande
Mr. Omar El-Arini
Mr. Per Callesen
Mr. Jan Cedergren
Mr. Andrzej Ciopinski
Mr. Nick Dyer
H.E. Mr. Ali’ioaigi Feturi Elisaia
Mr. Rachid Firadi
Mr. Newai Gebre-ab
Mr. Derek Gibbs
Ms. Naoko Ishii
Mr. Manfred Konukiewitz
Mr. Alexander Kvasov
Ms. Marisa Lago
Mr. Kjetil Lund
Ms. Francesca Manno
H.E. Mr. Trevor Manuel
Mr. Ewen McDonald
Ms. Alicia Montalvo
Mr. Tosi Mpanu Mpanu
Ms. Carol Mwape Zulu
Mr. Bruno Oberle
Mr. Idrissa Ouedraogo
Mr. Remy Rioux
Mr. Md. Shaheduzzaman
Mr. Rob Stewart