Campaigners in both Bangladesh and Britain are resisting the conditions that the UK government is imposing on a climate finance offer to Bangladesh.
The UK is offering £60 million, but ministers insist that it must be channelled through the World Bank. Campaigners say that the British government is refusing to consider other managers of the funds, such as a Bangladeshi fund which has greater transparency and participation by civil society.
Later in the year, the UK will be giving more money to Bangladesh through the World Bank to tackle climate change, but all of it will be in the form of loans.
“Bangladesh is facing a catastrophe caused by climate change, which is the result of high carbon emissions historically by the developed countries” said Mohammad Shmasuddoha of Justice and Equity Bangladesh.
Yesterday (15 February), campaigners in Dhaka in Bangladesh held a mass rally and formed a human chain around the donor conference where the UK was imposing its conditions. They called for “the donors to pay their carbon debt as compensation”.
At the same time, campaigners in Britain demonstrated outside the Department for International Development (DFID) in London, urging them “not to force the World Bank on to Bangladesh”.
“We’re protesting in London today because the World Bank is a deeply mistrusted institution that through its lending to developing countries has increased inequality, carbon emissions and debt in those countries,” explained Tim Jones of the World Development Movement (WDM).
Nick Dearden of the Jubilee Debt Campaign agreed. “Bangladesh is already paying large sums of money to the rich world every year,” he said, “Repaying debts which have done little to benefit the Bangladeshi people and which prevent that country's fight against poverty”.