Climate debt news
Some success on climate loans!
Post by Kirsty Wright and Sarah Reader, climate campaigners
For the past two years WDM along with the Jubilee Debt Campaign have been campaigning for the UK government to deliver its climate finance to help countries cope with climate change as grants through the UN Adaptation Fund rather than loans through the World Bank (see the bottom of this page for a slideshow of our campaigning).
With the UK’s latest announcement of climate finance made in Durban, South Africa, we saw significant movement on this issue. Two major things have happened.
Firstly, the UK government has announced it will put £10 million towards the UN Adaptation Fund. This is the first time that the UK has said it will contribute to the fund, despite being on the fund's board. The announcement came as the chair of the UN Adaptation Fund was suggesting that it may have to close unless rich countries started contributing funds.
Secondly, the UK announced that it would give another £85 million through the World Bank’s adaptation fund (the focus of our Climate Loan Sharks report). Although it's disappointing that the money is going to the World Bank, the good news is that this time the UK has given the majority of its money, £70 million, as grants, not loans. This is a significant change from its previous policy.
By finally agreeing to deliver most of its climate funds to help developing countries cope with climate change as grants, rather than loans, the government has finally followed its own stated position. Both coalition parties made pre-election pledges to deliver climate change finance for adaptation as grants and yet failed to deliver on this when it came into power.
WDM and JDC campaigners have done an amazing job in bringing this issue to the attention of politicians and decision makers in a way that they could not ignore. This success is not only significant in terms of this announcement. One of the reasons we were campaigning against climate loans, even though the funds the UK is offering are not that huge in terns of global climate finance, was to ensure that loans are not seen as an appropriate way for finance for adaptation to be provided in the future. The UK was the first country to give its funds as capital, meaning that the only way it could be passed on was as loans. The UK having changed the way it is giving this finance will hopefully prevent loans being seen as an acceptable mechanism for climate adaption finance in the future.
However, there is still a long way to go. With climate change more serious than ever, and the outcome of the climate talks in Durban meaning that serious international action has been put firmly on the backburner, adaptation funding is critically needed by communities who are finding their way of life destroyed due to climate related impacts.
Whilst it’s good news that the government has finally given some money to the UN Adaptation Fund, it’s a tiny amount compared to what is being channelled through the World Bank, and institution that has been repeatedly responsible for reinforcing global power imbalances. And although we are pleased to see UK money being given as grants instead of loans, the struggle for climate justice has a long way to go as long as the World Bank is involved.
Here is a slideshow of highlights from the campaign.
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