Poznan Declaration: World vs. Bank

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Statement Submitted to the World Bank by Friends of the Earth and Focus on the Global South, Signed on by International Rivers

Nations are gathering in Poznan, Poland under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). To meet their obligations towards developing countries and repay their climate debt, industrialized countries must agree to appropriately and adequately finance adaptation, mitigation, and technology development and transfer. The World Bank Group is positioning itself to control key financial mechanisms of the UNFCCC.

We, the undersigned organizations, oppose any World Bank role in an international climate change convention regime, for the following reasons:

  • The World Bank is a major climate polluter. Despite professed concern regarding climate change, the World Bank Group is actually increasing its support for fossil fuel projects. From 1997-2007, the World Bank financed 26 gigatons of carbon dioxide emissions - about 45 times the annual emissions of the UK. In the last year, the World Bank Group has increased lending for coal, oil, and gas by 94%, totaling over $3 billion. Coal lending alone increased 256% in the last year. The World Bank's own 2004 Extractive Industries Review recommended an immediate end to coal financing and a phase out of investments in oil production by 2008 and found that "...oftentimes the environment and the poor have been further threatened by the expansion of a country's extractive industries sector." Yet in April 2008, the Bank approved a $450 million loan for a massive 4,000 megawatt coal project in India, expected to be one of the 50 largest greenhouse gas emitters in the world. Given the World Bank's existing and increasing support for fossil fuels, it is an inappropriate institution to lead the fight against global climate change.
  • The World Bank is a major deforester. Deforestation accounts for some 20% of global greenhouse gas emissions, but the Bank continues to promote industrial logging and agrofuels. A 2007 World Bank Inspection Panel report strongly criticized the Bank's support for industrial logging and violating the rights of indigenous Pygmy and other forest-dependent communities in the Democratic Republic of Congo, home to the second largest tract of rainforests in the world. Throughout tropical rainforest areas, the International Finance Corporation (IFC)- the private sector lending arm of the World Bank Group - finances soy and oil palm plantations and cattle ranching, as well as financing shrimp farming in mangrove forests. The IFC has a long record of support for livestock-based agribusiness, with US $732 million in investment over a 6-year period for livestock production projects. The UN Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that the livestock sector is responsible for 18% of global warming emissions.
  • The World Bank is a major rights violator. Numerous communities throughout the world - from those impacted by the Chad-Cameroon pipeline to the Nam Theun 2 Hydropower Project in Laos - have suffered human and environmental rights violations as a direct result of World Bank-backed projects.
  • The World Bank is an undemocratic institution. Its one dollar-one vote decision-making marginalizes Southern countries, and the United States simply chooses the Bank's president.
  • The World Bank's recent climate initiatives are severely flawed.
  1. The World Bank's recently launched Climate Investment Funds (CIFs) undermine UN climate negotiations, compete for funding with already established UN adaptation and technology funds, promote dirty industries like coal as clean energy, and force developing countries to pay for the industrialized world's pollution by providing loans for them to adapt to the climate crisis they did not create. Rather than treating the provision of climate financing as binding obligations by industrialized countries to developing countries under the UNFCCC, the CIFs are designed within a fundamentally unequal aid framework of donor and recipient. This is particularly odious given the large historical ecological debt owed by industrialized countries to developing countries. Though the CIFs have been described as new sources of funding by the World Bank, G8 governments have made clear that they are considered as part of Official Development Assistance, and thus are not new and additional.
  2. The World Bank's Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF), enabled by the Forest Investment Program, will include forests in dubious carbon offsetting schemes that allow industrialized countries to buy their way out of meaningful emissions reductions. In violation of the Bank's own policies, the FCPF has failed to ensure meaningful participation of Indigenous Peoples and local communities in its design.
  3. In 2007, less than 10% of the Bank's carbon finance was allocated to solar, wind, geothermal, biomass, and mini hydropower. Energy efficiency captured 80% of the money allocated to purchase emissions reductions credits, the majority of which went to a single project in China to reduce emissions by burning off HFC-23, a potent greenhouse gas byproduct. The generation of carbon credits from HFC-23 destruction has been sharply criticized.

We call on the World Bank and its donors to immediately stop financing
fossil fuels.

We further call on governments to:

  • Reject the role of the World Bank in an international climate regime.
  • Establish a financing mechanism fully accountable to the UNFCCC - based on equity and in accordance with the historical and current responsibilities of industrialized countries - with predictable, new and additional funding directly accessible to recipient countries.
  • Invest massively in clean, safe and decentralized renewable energy, demand side energy efficiency and sustainable transport.
  • Ensure forests are not included in carbon markets.
  • Recognize and enforce customary and territorial land rights of Indigenous Peoples and forest-dependent communities as the basis of any forest policy.
  • Support forest conservation by promoting national programs and infrastructure that provide direct support to rights-based, community-driven forms of forest conservation, sustainable management and ecosystem restoration.
  • Ensure that monoculture tree plantations are excluded from the definition of "forests," and from any mechanisms, policies and incentives that might be established to conserve forests or halt deforestation and forest degradation.
  • Address the drivers of deforestation, including agrofuels; the excessive consumption of products such as meat, pulp and paper; and the destructive practices of logging and fossil fuel extraction.