April 6, 2023

Valentina Stackl,
Claire O’Manique,
Collin Rees,

Oil Change International: Climate Expectations for World Bank Group Spring Meetings

WASHINGTON, DC — The World Bank Group (WBG) will hold its Spring Meetings and Civil Society Policy Forum next week, April 10-16, 2023 at its headquarters in DC. This years’ meetings are facing extra scrutiny following the surprise early resignation of World Bank Group President David Malpass and expected appointment of Biden Administration nominee and former CEO of Mastercard Ajay Banga as his replacement through the “gentleman’s agreement.”

Stakeholders are monitoring for key developments in proposals to increase the Bank’s financing capacity, revisions of the G7+ led ‘evolution roadmap,’ and the release of a Paris Alignment ‘sector note’ on how the Bank will approach fossil gas projects. In anticipation, Claire O’Manique, Public Finance Analyst at Oil Change International, released the following statement:

“The Biden Administration and other wealthy governments are trying to dress up the World Bank Group as a credible savior for today’s polycrisis. But giving the Bank more power and money will just result in more fossil fuels, more debt, and more inequality unless the institution is forced to first change its ways.

“The World Bank Group cannot be effective on climate action until it stops adding fuel to the fire. In 2022 the World Bank Group still provided almost a billion dollars in public finance to support climate-wrecking fossil fuels, on top of ‘indirect’ support like its heavy-handed development policy finance that has a record of locking recipient countries into expensive and volatile fossil fuel contracts and subsidy regimes. This week we will be looking to shareholders and Bank leadership to make serious commitments to stop all forms of support for fossil fuels, along with other critical changes communities around the world have called for for decades: democratic voting reforms, binding human rights and labor standards, and serious debt cancellation.” 


Notes to Editors

  • New data from Oil Change International shows that the WBG still provided the most MDB finance for fossil fuels at $1.3 billion a year on average between 2020-22, including $930 million in 2022. At least 67% of this was for fossil gas, which the Bank’s current Climate Change Action Plan says can continue to be supported if it fits still-undefined climate and development criteria. Much more influential fossil fuel support also flows indirectly through the Banks’ development policy finance and financial intermediaries but this is largely not possible to track in dollar amounts. Transaction-level data is available on email request.
  • More information can be found in this media backgrounder on next week’s meetings from Big Shift Global, a coalition of 55 groups calling on the world’s Multilateral Development Banks to stop funding fossils and support a globally just energy transition instead. 
  • Earlier this year, civil society groups sent a joint letter to U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen outlining the transformational changes missing from the ‘evolution roadmap’ for the World Bank Group. These changes — including ending financing for fossil fuels, rejecting misguided approaches to private finance and regressive policy advice, democratizing governance, and debt forgiveness, among others — would free up significant finance and political space for truly sustainable and just development solutions.