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112 CSOs urge World Bank to stop encouraging fossil fuels

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The World Bank’s subsidy on fossil fuels is fanning the embers of the climate emergency and must stop, a coalition of 112 civil society organisations (CSOs) told the bank yesterday.

According to the coalition, despite the World Bank Group’s announcements at the Paris Climate Conference, flagrant contradictions to climate pledges still exist.

Nigerian groups that signed the letter include Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN), Climate Change Network Nigeria (CCN-Nigeria) and Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA).  

Instead of helping countries make the transition out of fossil fuels, the WBG, from 2014 to 2018 alone, has assisted the development of fossil fuels in 45 countries, either through project finance or development policy finance and technical assistance, according to research from Urgewald, a German non-profit organisation whose mission is to address the underlying causes of global environmental destruction and poverty.

During this time, the WBG provided over $12 billion in project finance for 88 fossil fuel projects in 38 countries, it stated, adding that the group assisted the development of fossil fuels through policy programmes in at least 28 countries, including coal in six countries.

But the World Bank can change the narrative during its Annual Meeting in Washington D.C., which ends on Sunday, October 20, the CSOs said.

They called on member states of WBG to demand the bank’s managers to adopt the recommendations.

Among their demands are: end fossil fuel project funding by the close of 2020; phase out lending for all fossil fuels after 2020, including lending for ‘associated facilities’ for fossil fuel projects; require the private sector arm of the bank, the International Finance Corporation (IFC), and its financial intermediaries to divest from all fossil fuels, not just coal; and devote at least 40 per cent of finance to climate by 2020.

It also called on the WBG to adhere to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, specifically pertaining to Free, Prior and Informed Consent. 

According to the Coordinator of the African Coalition for Sustainable Energy and Access, Augustine Njamnshi, “beyond the greenhouse gas emissions of fossil fuel business lays the heavy health, social and cultural burdens that local communities carry on their backs.”

Executive Director of Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network (WECAN), Osprey Lake, called on the World Bank to stop financing fossil fuels, to show real climate leadership and dedication to ecological sustainability.


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