Foreign Aid

Thanks but no thanks: Bangladesh says no to climate aid from the UK

Probe International
March 16, 2010

Bagladesh has refused a $94-million-dollar offer of climate aid from the British government, saying the money, which would have been channelled through the World Bank, comes attached with unfavourable “terms and conditions”.

“If this money is channelled through the World Bank and the IMF it will attract strings and conditions which are not favourable to Bangladesh”, a spokesman for the Bangladeshi government told the Guardian [PDF] . “If the money goes [via the bank] then it does not go to its real purpose. We want it to go through the UN.”

“We are strongly against the World Bank’s involvement in handling the climate fund. [The Department for International Development] should give the money straight to the Bangladesh government rather than giving it to the World Bank to disburse it,” Food and Disaster Management Minister Abdur Razzaque said. “It should be a country-led programme rather than a World Bank-led one.”

The decision to reject aid was celebrated by a number of campaigning organizations, including the World Development Movement (WDM), the Jubilee Debt Campaign and Friends of the Earth.

“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,” said Tim Jones of WDM.

Campaign groups within Bangladesh have also raised concerns about climate funds. Md Shamsuddoha, a campaigner with Justice and Equity Bangladesh, said: “Channelling climate funds through the World Bank is a trickery of the British government to weaken the argument for channelling funds through the United Nations or national funds. Developing countries are opposing involvement of the World Bank in the management of climate finance because of its long history of imposing economic conditions on developing countries, fuelling unjust debts and promoting dirty development.”

Bangladesh is not the only country in recent months to reject money supplied through the World Bank. In India, the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests, decided against accepting World Bank aid for a tiger conservation programme, in the wake of strong opposition from conservation groups. They pointed to the Bank’s poor track record for implementing eco-projects in protected areas.

Tiger expert Belinda Wright said the Bank’s past conservation programs, in particular, its eco-development projects, had adversely affected tiger habitats.

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Categories: Foreign Aid

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