COMMONS

Report published on impact of overseas aid on environmental protection

29 June 2011

UK funding for World Bank aid programmes should be withheld if the Bank does not stop financing new unabated coal-fired power stations in developing countries, MPs warn in a report published on Wednesday 29 June 2011

Chair of the Environmental Audit Committee, Joan Walley MP, said:

"The World Bank should not assume continued support from the UK unless it changes its ways.

DFID needs to get tough and use its position as a major shareholder to vote-down dirty coal powered energy projects and ensure that the World Bank’s portfolio isn’t making climate change worse."

The committee's findings

The committee states that the UK should only provide funding for multilateral institutions with strong environmental credentials.  The current scale of the World Bank's lending to fossil fuel powered energy generation is unacceptable and the committee urges the Government to be prepared to vote against new World Bank funding for high emissions coal-fired power stations.

Chair of the committee, Joan Walley MP, added:

"Climate change and environmental degradation threaten to undo development progress in poor countries.

The UK needs to lead other donors by example by ensuring that environmental considerations underpin all our aid and that we invest sufficiently in environmental protection.

Every effort must be made to help emerging economies leap-frog fossil fuels and fuel their growth with clean energy instead; otherwise we run the risk of international aid efforts being squandered as climate change kicks in."

The profile of climate change has increased hugely but there is far less awareness of the importance of protecting biodiversity and ecosystems. The committee believes that the Department for International Development (DFID) needs to publish a clear strategy on its approach to environmental issues to ensure that it gives them sufficient priority in its programmes and expenditure.

High levels of consumption in the UK increases demand on production in poor countries which leads to degradation of their natural resources.  The report calls on the UK Government to ensure that economic activity in Britain does not cancel out, or even reverse, the positive impact that UK aid is having overseas.

Further information

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