October 10, 2018

Asian Movements to IFC: Take Bolder Moves Away from Coal and Fossil Fuel Involvement!

In response to the October 8, 2018 blog of International Finance Corporation (IFC) President Philippe Le Houerou’s blog on IFC’s new vision for greening banks in emerging markets, Asian movements and civil society organizations say  “We need you to be bolder! Move IFC and its financial intermediaries quickly away from coal and fossil fuels!
Peoples organizations, NGOs and other civil society groups from all over the world are gathered in Bali, Indonesia to raise their issues and calls on the occasion of the World Bank and IMF Annual Meeting this week. One of the biggest clamor is for the World Bank group, which includes the IFC, to immediately and completely stop their involvement, direct and indirect, in coal and fossil duel projects.
Strong pressure from peoples movements and civil society organizations seem to have some effect on the World Bank group.  In 2013, the World Bank Group’s new Energy Policy stated that it will be funding coal only under exceptional circumstances. In December 2017 at the One Planet Summit,  it announced that it will no longer finance upstream oil and gas after 2019.
In his blog, the IFC President Philippe Le Houerou mentioned that for years civil society groups have been critical of IFC for supporting financial intermediaries that have investments in coal. Le Houerou said that in response to this critique the IFC had already taken steps to significantly reduce its direct and indirect support for coal.  He now acknowledges that the IFC should do more, and said that the IFC will ask its new financial intermediary clients for greater transparency and full disclosure of their investments, as well as upfront commitment to “formally commit to reduce, and in some cases to exit all coal investments over a defined period.”
In 2017, the IFC was the subject of a complaint filed by the Philippine Movement for Climate Justice for the institution’s involvement in 19 coal-fired power plant projects in the Philippines. The Compliance Advisor Ombudsman (CAO), a recourse mechanism of the  World Bank group, is currently conducting an investigation into the complaint. Insiders say that the filing of this complaint and the subsequent investigation is a major reason for this latest pronouncements from the IFC President.
Civil society organizations see this as a very important development but are expecting more.  “We appreciate that the IFC President is talking about pushing for greater transparency and reduction of exposure and investment in coal energy by its intermediaries. But the IFC should go even further and faster. It should not settle for its intermediaries to just formally commit upfront to reduce or and only in some cases to exit all coal investments over a defined period.”  said Ian Rivera, National Coordinator of the Philippine Movement for Climate Justice. “Our people and the planet urgently require much bolder actions. The IFC should withdraw equity from all clients – financial intermediaries and corporations – who refuse to divest from coal and other fossil fuels.”
According to Praman Adhikari of the South Asia Alliance for Poverty Eradication, “The use of fossil fuels is completely unsustainable and severely damages the environment.  Developing countries should shift strategies towards 100% renewable energy for people communities. We strongly demand all International Financial Institutions, including the IFC, to completely stop financing coal and fossil fuel energy.”
“If the World Bank Group is serious about aligning with the Paris agreement, especially with the goal of keeping global temperature rise below 1.5 degrees Celsius, it has to go the full distance, and be quicker about it”  said Lidy Nacpil of the Asian Peoples Movement on Debt and Development.  “The world has to fully decarbonize before 2050, a huge task that has to be accomplished within a short period of time. There are already accessible, viable and affordable renewable energy alternatives to coal and fossil fuels. It is a matter of political will and the prioritization of the common good over the fossil fuel industries’ interest to pursue profits as long as it can.”
Mecanzy Dabre of the National Hawker’s Federation of India echoes the clamor to end all kinds of support from the World Bank Group to coal and fossil fuels. “In India, the coal-based power currently stands at 200GW that is expected to reach 450GW by 2040. Coal dominates the Indian energy sector because it is supposedly cheap and easily available.  Coal is not cheap, it comes at huge cost to people, communities and the environment.”  Further, Dabre also calls on the World Bank, IFC, and all other international financial institutions to stop financing all other harmful energy and infrastructure projects.”
For further Information:
Ian C. Rivera  Cel# 63-998-551-8055