Time to See the World Bank Group Walk the Talk on Climate

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Guest post by Nezir Sinani, Climate Change Consultant at Bank Information Center

The World Bank has not yet addressed climate issues systematically. Most notably, its Safeguard Policy framework does not require climate change risk assessments for Bank projects with climate-related impacts.

This gap in policy has allowed the World Bank to continue financing projects with serious implications for our climate and to essentially ignore the issue completely. According to a recent study by the World Resources Institute, 75% of World Bank projects do not incorporate assessments related to climate change risks into their design, while 88% of the projects do not assess GHG emissions from project activities, relative to a baseline. It is no wonder that with such an approach, the Bank continues to finance projects like the coal-fired Medupi power plant in South Africa, and possibly an even dirtier coal plant in Kosovo.

It is time for this behavior to stop and there’s a way to make this happen. The World Bank Group is reviewing its policies for the first time ever. The review process presents an important opportunity for the Bank to adopt best practices for promoting low-carbon and resilient development by establishing a safeguard policy on climate change.

Over 100 Non-Governmental Organizations, including 350.org, from over 60 countries submitted to the World Bank a proposal for a Policy on Climate Change. This Policy proposal outlines some of the main priorities that the Bank should adopt as part of a safeguard policy on climate change, including introducing a ban on financing any coal projects in the future.

President Kim of the World Bank himself said last year that, “…the world needs a bold global approach to help avoid the climate catastrophe it faces today”. The signatories of the climate submission want to see Dr. Kim and the World Bank Board start to walk the talk on climate by establishing a climate safeguard policy that would ensure the World Bank no longer supports projects that contribute to climate change.

Each member country of the World Bank Group has a representative at the Board of Directors of this institution. On July 30th, 2014, the Board Committee responsible for the new policies will meet to decide on the first draft of these new policies. The time has come that we keep them accountable for what they are about to decide.

We have started a petition to get your voice heard at the Bank before this meeting. Let us together deliver a strong message that the time for the World Bank Group to walk the talk on climate has come and that we demand they act now!

 

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