Bonn | Developed countries attempt to launder aid money

MEDIA ADVISORY

Friday 4 June 2010

Friends of the Earth International

Developed countries attempt to launder aid money through World Bank and call it ‘climate funds’

BONN, GERMANY – At the end of the first week of UN climate negotiations, Friends of the Earth International have warned developed countries to radically alter their plans over climate funding to prevent a repeat of the fallout from Copenhagen.

Rich countries who were hoping to buy-off poor countries with the Copenhagen Accord’s US$30 billion fast-start climate fund are failing to deliver even this grossly inadequate sum. It has emerged that much of this money is recycled aid money already committed for essential programmes in the developing world such as health and education.

Tuvalu, a small island nation severely threatened by climate change, this week said that the Copenhagen Accord’s Green Fund is “being used for coercive political purposes” to get support for the weak provisions of the Accord. Along with other developing countries, it expressed outrage over rich countries’ attempts to count existing aid commitments as new climate money, in contravention of agreed criterion of the UNFCCC.

Nnimmo Bassey, Chair of Friends of the Earth International said:

“It seems developed countries are finally taking recycling seriously; they are recycling aid money and calling it “fresh” money. But the world will not be fooled; laundering aid money for climate change does not show leadership, it shows contempt. Having done the most to cause climate change, developed nations are morally and legally obliged to support the additional costs in developing countries for adaptation measures and for clean renewable technology.”

Control of climate finance has also returned to the centre of negotiations. Friends of the Earth International calls for the establishment of a new global climate fund under the full authority of the UNFCCC, based on principles of equity and environmental integrity to support the aims of communities around the world. Rich countries, however, are attempting to place control of climate funds with the World Bank.

Asad Rehman of Friends of the Earth England, Wales and Northern Ireland said:

“The motivation of the U.S. and other developed countries is clear – they want the World Bank to call the shots. This is unacceptable. The World Bank is an undemocratic discredited institution that is far more adept at causing climate change than preventing it. The World Bank is the number one lender to environmentally and socially destructive projects around the globe, ranging from fossil fuel lending to subsidising deforestation. Most recently, it approved a new loan for South Africa to build the world’s 4th largest coal plant, described by South African civil society as an environmental and social disaster.”

A new report released today by Friends of the Earth US – Capitalizing on Climate: The World Bank Role in Climate Change and International Climate Finance[1] – highlights the hypocrisy of the World Bank as a major climate polluter whose loans lock developing countries into carbon-intensive development paths for decades. At the same time the Bank wants to take control of the money supposed to address this pollution. Moreover, though the World Bank is supposed to help developing countries alleviate poverty, its practices often hurt the poor and help entrench the powerful.

Karen Orenstein of Friends of the Earth U.S. said:

“People in developing countries are already being forced to cope with the impacts of climate pollution that the World Bank is causing, while efforts to reduce poverty – which the Bank purports to support – are undercut by the climate crisis. The best thing the World Bank can do is no harm in the first place. It must get out of the business of climate pollution.”

~ by Cory Morningstar on June 4, 2010.

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