COP 27 World Bank tells rich countries, give us more cash for climate

  • Axel van Trotsenburg urges donors to do more
  • Following criticism of the ambition of the banks’ climate plan
  • Seek agreement on Zambian debt by December

SHARM EL SHEIKH, Egypt, Nov 10 (Reuters) – The World Bank is ready to step up funding for climate change action in the world’s poorest countries, but needs fresh money from donor countries to do so rich, said its chief operating officer. told Reuters.

Axel van Trotsenburg made his comments on the sidelines of the COP27 climate talks in Sharm el-Sheikh. Criticism has mounted of the bank’s efforts to mobilize enough support for developing countries to switch to clean energy.

“There is no money for sub-Saharan Africa. Period,” van Trotsenburg said. “I would like to challenge everyone: do more.”

The world’s largest multilateral lender could make a “decisive contribution” to increasing climate finance, but that depends on additional support from member countries, including the United States, Britain and Germany.

“It will cost members something because without financial resources you cannot make a difference,” he said.

“People would like the international community, including the MDBs (multilateral development banks), to step up. We agree. So what is my challenge for them: setting the ambition, and how much do you want to put on Table ?”

The World Bank Group provided $31.7 billion in climate finance to countries in fiscal year 2022, its highest total yet. Yet the bank faces increasing scrutiny of its climate change record, including the lack of a timetable for phasing out fossil fuel financing and failing to mobilize enough of private capital for every dollar of development.

Criticism mounted in September when World Bank President David Malpass refused to say at a New York Times event whether he accepted the scientific consensus on climate change. He later clarified his remarks and said it was clear that greenhouse gas emissions were causing climate change.

Malpass’s remarks fueled new calls for a broader overhaul of international financial systems after World War II to free up more liquidity for developing countries to invest in emissions reductions without being saddled with more lending. at high interest rate.

The World Bank uses money from rich countries to offer loans and grants to poorer countries – providing a major pathway for climate finance to the developing world.

The United States, its biggest shareholder, is working closely with the World Bank as it rushes to meet a year-end deadline to develop and implement reforms to bolster the bank’s lending capacity. , U.S. Deputy Treasury Secretary Alexia Latortue told Reuters in an interview.

“We are vigilant and confident. We have engaged strongly and will continue to do so with a range of people at the World Bank,” she said.

An independent commission said changing the way the bank operates could unlock “several hundred billion dollars” in the medium term without hurting the credit ratings it relies on to borrow in the capital markets.

The bank has long opposed such changes, but Malpass said the bank would work to implement the requested reforms.

Van Trotsenburg gave no figures on how much money could be freed up for more lending if the World Bank enacts reforms, including relaxing its capital adequacy rules.

Reporting by Kate Abnett, Simon Jessop and Andrea Shalal; Editing by David Gregorio

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