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Anger over World Bank payouts role

Campaigners condemned plans backed by the UK to involve the World Bank in delivering billions of pounds to poor countries to cope with climate change.

As the latest round of United Nations climate talks enter their final days, the race is on to reach agreement on issues such as measures to provide money for developing countries to deal with the impacts of rising temperatures, including establishing a "green fund" to supply finance for poor nations.

The moves come after last year's Copenhagen talks saw broad agreement for delivering 100 billion dollars a year (£60 billion) by 2020 from private and public sources for poor countries to cope with climate problems such as increased floods and drought and to develop cleanly.

But campaigners at the talks are concerned that rich nations are pushing for the World Bank to have a role in managing the funds, warning the institution is the wrong place for the green fund because it continues to fund fossil fuel projects, imposes climate finance as loans and economic policies that increase inequality.

In a letter to the conference signed by groups from around the world including ActionAid, Friends of the Earth International, the World Development Movement and the Jubilee Debt Campaign, campaign organisations urged governments not to give the World Bank a role in distributing finance.

They called for a global climate fund under the auspices of the UN, which prioritises money for those who needed it most, operates with full transparency, democracy and accountability and provides direct access to funding.

Kirsty Wright, from the World Development Movement said: "Donor countries, in particular the UK, are unfairly pushing for climate finance to be channelled as loans through the World Bank.

"Rich countries are undemocratically imposing the World Bank into these talks.

"The current negotiating text goes further than the Copenhagen Accord, by specifically inviting the World Bank to become the manager of climate finance.

"The World Bank cannot be trusted with climate finance given that it is a leader in investing in fossil fuel projects, like coal power stations.

"It's absolutely disgraceful, and we will resist this strongly together with our allies from around the world."

A UK government spokesman said: "The Green Fund will need to provide value for money and demonstrate that it's making a positive impact on tackling climate change in developing countries.

"The World Bank has been playing a constructive role on climate change finance and if the green fund is to be well managed we believe the World Bank should be the trustee - the same role it plays with the UN's Adaptation Fund.

"Its precise functions should be considered as part of the design process."

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