Environment Organizations Challenge World Bank Climate Adaptation Funding

Development, Environment Organizations Challenge Loans for Adaptation in Newly Announced World Bank Funding

Washington: Following the World Bank’s announcement on Friday that eight countries will be offered funding for adaptation to climate change through the Bank’s new Pilot Program for Climate Resilience (PPCR), leading environment and development organizations today expressed deep concern that approximately half of that funding will be in the form of loans.

The organizations pointed out that while this program will provide grants for technical assistance to integrate climate resilience into national plans and budgets, the projects to implement those plans would be largely financed through loans.

"Adaptation funding is compensation for damages done and, as such, must be given in the form of grants," said Ilana Solomon, Policy Analyst with ActionAid USA. "To offer a vulnerable country a few million dollars to integrate resilience into development plans, but then to stipulate that any project originating from the plans will have to be funded by loans entirely misses the point. In many cases, a country will have no other option than to take on loans just to access desperately needed funding."

"Instead of having the ’polluter pay, with the new World Bank climate resilience fund, the polluter gets paid," said Neil Watkins, Executive Director of the Jubilee USA Network. "The World Bank must provide grants, not loans, to finance adaptation to climate change. After all, the Bank’s largest shareholders caused the climate crisis through their emissions. Asking poor countries to go into further debt to clean up a mess they didn’t create is outrageous."

"The PPCR represents a top-down, donor-driven initiative lacking meaningful participation from civil society, particularly from impacted communities. Rather than fund this undemocratic process, countries would be wise to put money into the Adaptation Fund under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change," said Karen Orenstein with Friends of the Earth U.S.

The Pilot Program on Climate Resilience is the first operational program in the World Bank’s Strategic Climate Fund. The Fund was approved by the World Bank’s Board of Directors on July 1, 2008. The objective of the PPCR is to explore ways to integrate climate risk and resilience into core development planning. The PPCR would provide approximately US $500 million in grants and loans. Bangladesh, Bolivia, Cambodia, Mozambique, Nepal, Niger, Tajikistan and Zambia have been invited to participate in the PPCR.

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