Last week EquityBD, one of WDM's global allies working on economic justice, human rights and environmental issues in Bangladesh, sent us a report. The report told us that on Thursday 15 November, civil society groups and climate networks in Bangladesh joined together to protest the World Bank’s recent announcement that it would retain control of the Bangladesh Climate Change Resilience Fund (BCCRF).
This fund was established to support Bangladesh’s climate change adaption plan. The Bangladesh government originally stated that it would own the fund, and that the World Bank would manage it for three years while handing over management to the government. The recent announcement that the World bank will retain control of the BCCRF has caused a public outcry in Bangladesh.
Equitybd, NGOs and civil society groups form a human chain in protest against World Bank control of climate finance in Bangladesh
Protestors formed a human chain around the national press club in Dhaka, demanding that both the BCCRF and Bangladesh Climate Change Trust Fund (BCCTF) come under an autonomous board. The protestors also called for democratic ownership of this board, with representation from both parties in power and opposition, and from Bangladeshi citizens. The groups carried a banner which read: “World Bank control on BCCRF is a disaster for vulnerable communities; Government must follow Prime Minister's declared position. Bangladesh does not want to be a bad precedence for other countries on accepting World Bank control in climate fund”.
The protests were also aimed at the World Bank for defaulting on its promise to charge only 1% service on the loans that it made to Bangladesh through the fund. According to Bangladesh’s Daily Star, the World Bank will now be charging an additional $4.63 million, reportedly for surveys, feasibility studies and supervision of different climate related projects.
The report from EquityBD made it clear that our allies in the global south are frustrated by the UK government, along with the USA and EU, for putting pressure on Bangladesh to accept World Bank control of the fund. WDM is opposed to World Bank control of Bangladeshi and global climate finance, preferring instead the more democratic United Nations Adaption Fund.
At the UN climate talks in Durban in 2011 the UK government, under pressure not least from WDM and our networks, contributed a grant of £10 million to the UN Adaption Fund. It also gave contributions to the Word Bank’s Pilot Project for Climate Resilience (PPCR) as grants and not as loans (contributions from the UK were previously made as loans). Loans for climate adaptation are unjust for several reasons, not least because the industrialised countries have a responsibility to pay for the damage our carbon-intensive development has caused.
Expecting an anouncement from the UK on future climate loans at the forthcoming UN climate talks in Doha, WDM is calling on Ed Davey, the sectretary of state for energy and climate change, and Justine Greening, the secretary of state for international development, to make funding of the UN Adaption Fund a policy of the UK government.
Action cards have been sent to the secretaries of state, with letters calling on them to ensure future climate finance is given as grants to the UN Adaptation Fund, not through the undemocratic World Bank. Print-outs of pre-election pledges have also been sent from WDM members to MPs throughout the country, asking that they fulfill the pledges that both the Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives made before the last election to provide climate finance as grants and put a complete stop to the practice of giving it as loans.
So far Bangladesh has received $170 million through the BCCRF. Bangladesh’s minister for environment has said, "We need as much as $10 billion immediately to fight the effects of climate change. At least $5 billion would be required only for river training.”