Letter to World Bank President and Executive Directors calling for more action on climate change

18 October 2019

18 October 2019 

Mr. David Malpass, President, World Bank Group,   1818 H St., NW Washington, DC 20433 

Dear President Malpass:

The signs of the unfolding climate emergency are evident: record-breaking forest fires in the Brazilian Amazon and Cerrado biomes; ice-melt in the Arctic; devastating flooding in Mozambique and South Asia; and unprecedented and deadly heatwaves across Europe in just the past year.

World leaders and institutions have a responsibility to act now to stop the climate catastrophe. Instead of helping countries make the transition out of fossil fuels, the World Bank Group (WBG), from 2014 to 2018 alone, has facilitated fossil fuel development in 45 countries, either through project finance or development policy finance and technical assistance according to data gathered by environmental group, urgewald, from the World Bank website.

During this period, the WBG provided over $12 billion in project finance for 88 fossil fuel projects in 38 countries. In addition, the WBG assisted the development of fossil fuels through policy programs in at least 28 countries, including the development of coal in six countries.

Given this reality, plus the fundamental threat that climate change poses to the Bank’s mission, we call on the World Bank to play a leading role among MDBs by committing to end all support for fossil fuels by the end of 2020, and signal the immediate shift to a carbonneutral world that is necessary to stabilize the global climate. This shift should be accompanied by increased investments in renewable energy access, particularly in SubSaharan Africa and South Asia, where access rates to electricity and clean cooking remain low.

Specifically, we call on the World Bank to: 

● Phase out lending for all fossil fuels after 2020, including lending for ‘associated facilities’ for fossil fuel projects.

● Require all IFC financial intermediaries to divest from all fossil fuels, not just coal, through adopting a robust final version of the IFC’s proposed Green Equity Approach which ends all fossil fuel investments as soon as possible.

 Devote at least 40% of finance to climate by 2020, to match or exceed targets set by peer institutions such as the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).

● Develop a strategy roadmap to mainstream off-grid renewable energy into its energy portfolio, and significantly ramp up public and private finance and policy and technical support for this, to meet demand and achieve energy access for all by 2030.
● Support calls for an automatic funding mechanism, including debt relief, through the UNFCCC to assist countries confronted with loss and damage because of climate disasters.

● Adhere to the UN Declaration on Human Rights and the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, specifically pertaining to Free, Prior and Informed Consent. The World Bank must respect and listen to the voices of communities affected by development projects and programs that the Bank is financing.

● Prioritize recycling, re-use, substitution, energy efficiency, reduced consumption and a circular economy over facilitation of new mineral mining.

● Prepare a strategy for all multilateral institutions to fund activities that reduce global warming and increase biodiversity.

The World Bank Group has been a major supporter of fossil fuel projects since its establishment. As it marks its 75th anniversary, the Bank has a responsibility to respond to the climate emergency by unequivocally ending support for fossil fuel-based development. The World Bank must also encourage other public finance institutions, the private sector, and markets to take steps immediately to halt global warming and replenish biodiversity.

We look forward to your prompt action to demonstrate the Bank’s leadership in confronting this epochal threat to life on Earth.


14 Poles Productions Inc.

350 Spokane


Abibiman Foundation

ActionAid International

African Coalition for Sustainable Energy and Access ACSEA

Amazon Watch

Anthropocene Alliance

Arab Watch Regional Coalition

Association Des 3 Herissons

Association for the protection of the environment and sustainable development of Bizerte (APEDDUB) Tunisia

Bank Information Center

Bank Information Center Europe


Bayansharga NGO

Bayarsaikhan Namsrai

Bio Vision Africa


Bretton Woods Project, UK

BRICS Feminist Watch

CAN International

Center for Biological Diversity

Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL)

Centre for Human Rights and Development

Christian Aid

Citizens’ Climate Lobby

CLEAN (Coastal Livelihood and Environmental Action Network)

Climate and Health Alliance

Climate Change Network Nigeria



Columban Center for Advocacy and Outreach

Detroiters Working for Environmental Justice

Divest Invest Protect

Durable (PNASC-CED) du Mali

Earth Ethics, Inc.


Ecological Christian Organisation (ECO)

Ecumenical Advocacy Network on the Philippines

Education, Economics, Environmental, Climate and Health Organization (EEECHO)

Elders Climate Action

Environmental Protection Society Malaysia

Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria.

Foundation for Environmental Management and Campaign Against Poverty

Freedom From Debt Coalition

Fridays For Future

Fridays For Future USA

Friends of the Earth Japan

Friends of the Earth US


Gemeingut in Bürgerinnenhand (GiB) e.V.

Gender Action

Global Rights

Government Citizen Partnership NGO


Health Care Without Harm

Healthy Environment Alliance of Utah

Heinrich Böll Stiftung Washington, DC

Hip Hop Caucus



Institute for Policy Studies- Global Economy Project

Interamerican Association for Environmental Defense (AIDA)

International Rivers

Jail and Prison Rehabilitation Information Community Outreach Program

Jamaa Resource Initiatives

Kwataniza Wimen Farmers Group

LGBT Centre

Lumiere Synergie pour le Developpement

Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns

Michigan Interfaith Power & Light

Nadi Ghati Morcha-India

National Center Against Violence

Natural Resources Defense Council

NGO Forum on ADB

Nuclear Information and Resource Service (anti-nuclear NGO)

Occupy Bergen County (NJ)

Oil Change International

Oyu Tolgoi Watch

Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA)

Partnership for Earth Spirituality

Presbyterian Church (USA), Office of Public Witness

Progressive Democrats Of America

Progressive Democrats Of America- California

Rachel Carson Council

Save Lamu

Sierra Leone Consortium for Climate Change and Sustainable Development (SLeCCSuD)

South Carolina Interfaith Power and Light

Sri Lanka Nature Group

Sustainable Energy & Economy Network


Texas Interfaith Center for Public Policy/Texas Impact

The Climate Mobilization

The Imani Group

The Oakland Institute

The People’s Justice Council (The PJC)

Unitarian Universalist Ministry for the Earth

Unitarian Universalist Service Committee

urgewald (Germany)

Utah Moms for Clean Air

Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment

War on Want

We Women Lanka

Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network (WECAN)

Youth For Environment Education And Development Foundation (YFEED Foundation)

Zo Indigenous Forum


Cc: World Bank Executive Directors

Hervé de Villeroché

DJ Nordquist

Richard Montgomery

Yingming Yang
Masanori Yoshida

Juergen Zattler

Hesham Fahad Alogeel

Jorge Alexjandro Chavez Presa

Koen Davidse,

Adrian Fernandez

Werner Gruber,

Geir H. Haarde

Merza Hasan

Kunil Hwang

Anne Kabagambe

Fabio Kanczuk

Roman Marshavin

Patrizio Pagano

Guenther Schoenleitner

Aparna Subramani

Kulaya Tantitemit

Shahid Ashraf Tarar

Jean-Claude Tchatchouang

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