ISTANBUL, October 6 -- New tension developed between the World Bank and Civil Society organizations at the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) joint annual meetings this week in Istanbul, Turkey.
The World Bank released in mid September its World Development Report (WDR) for 2010, which was presented to the Bank's members and press at various pre-conference meetings here.
The section of the report on Development and Climate Change has triggered the reactions of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) present at the annual meeting, which have been militating for a more equitable treatment of developing countries in respect to the financial burden that the various solutions proposed would impose on their respective domestic economies.
"This report shows that industrialized countries are leading the world into a disastrous future," said Caroline Pearce, Senior Policy Advisor with Oxfam International, one of the most outspoken NGOs dealing with climate change, in an interview Tuesday with OpEd News.
"Trillions of dollars were found to bail out banks in the financial crisis, but trifling sums are offered to poor countries that will suffer most from climate change damage. With 64 days to go until the UN climate change negotiations in Copenhagen, the response from industrialized countries has been deeply disappointing," she added.
The report warns that sustained effort is necessary by all countries and recommends that developed nations lead the way to a climate-smart world. It also acknowledges that developing states will be hit harder, but reassures that the costs for getting there will be high but still manageable. A key way to do this is by ramping up funding for mitigation in developing countries, where most future growth in emissions will occur, claims the WDR.
This is where one of the disagreements between Oxfam and the World Bank lies. For the NGO, the producers of emissions are by far the advanced economies, while the developing world is the victim of such emissions.
On the other hand, the Bank points to the fact that 1.6 billion people in the developing world lack access to electricity and one out of four persons lives on an income of 1.25 dollars a day. Any positive change in these conditions through economic growth will inevitably lead to additional carbon emissions. So the World Bank officials seem to be mostly concerned about responsibility sharing in the future, rather than the present, among developed and emerging economies.