Info Service on Climate Change (May08/01)
please find an article on the front page of The Guardian (
Developing countries attack plan to offer warming help as loans instead of grants
fund is designed to help nations like
the Guardian has learned that the money is not additional British aid
and will be administered by the World Bank mainly in the form of concessionary
loans which poor countries will have to pay back to
A letter signed by two government ministers and seen by the Guardian shows that Britain has been pressing other G8 countries to also give money to the new fund, which will be launched in July in Japan at the G8's annual meeting.
letter shows that the
several countries joined environment and development groups to condemn
the loans. "We need urgently to prepare for climate change, but
we are not in a position to pay back loans," said a spokesman for
climate situation has not been created by us. The money should come
spontaneously from rich countries and not be a loan."
A senior Brazilian diplomat was "indignant" that poor countries should have to borrow the money to prepare their populations for climate change. "It is not nearly enough money to tackle the problem, but I am not surprised. Increasing the debt of countries is not a good idea."
Development groups said they were dismayed that climate adaptation funds would be funded by any sort of loan. "The money should be additional to aid," said Toby Quantrill, head of international government at WWF.
should be grants and not loans, otherwise developing countries will
have to pay twice, once for the emissions that caused the problems and
then again to clean up the mess," said Tom Sharman, a policy adviser
with ActionAid in London. "This is not money that is additional
fund will be promoted as the G8's showpiece contribution to developing
countries at the next meeting of the organisation, in
The principle of a major fund to help poor countries adapt has been widely welcomed because the international community has so far contributed very little. The World Bank administers 10 climate funds but the majority have little money available.
were also expressed that the World Bank, to which
"Between 2005 and 2007 the Bank financed greenhouse gas-emitting fossil fuel projects from coal, oil and gas to the tune of $1.5bn (£767m). At the same time the Bank acts as trustee to 10 greenhouse gas-reducing funds, pocketing an average 13% 'overhead' in the process", said Janet Redman, an analyst with Washington thinktank Foreign Policy in Focus.
to the government, the £800m will be spent over the next three years,
focusing on projects that support development through environmental
protection and which help poor countries to tackle climate change. Of
the money, £50m has been earmarked for helping 10 countries in central
Africa to tackle deforestation in the
In a statement placed on the Department for International Development (Dfid) website, a government spokeswoman said: "A number of details are still under discussion, including the structure of the funds, how they are governed, which countries are prioritised for funding, and how much money different donors will commit.
World Bank is currently consulting widely on the proposals. Dfid, Defra
[the environment department] and other
"Funding should support country-owned action plans and must be consistent with wider poverty reduction activities at a country level."