Civil Society Organisations Skeptical of Involvement of Some Development Finance Institutions in the Implementation the Paris Agreement

The Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA) is pessimistic of the involvement of some of the Development Finance Institutions (DFIs) in climate actions, Secretary General Mithika Mwenda has said.

Speaking during a side event organised by Christian Aid (CA) and PACJA on The role of the Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs) in delivering the Paris Agreement at the UN Climate Conference in Bonn, Germany, Mr Mithika said investment in climate change action do not have a return on investment required by such institutions.

“Development Finance Institutions (DFIs) are profit driven and as such will not invest in a place where they are not going to get a profit,” he remarked.

The secretary general, however, noted that the move to involve them in climate action is firmly cemented in the Paris Agreement, adding that climate change actors now have no choice but to look for a role for the organisations to play.

He pointed out that there have been concerns by indigenous people that the involvement of DFIs could turn out to be negative, as the issue of prior  and informed consent is not always addressed in such investments.

“Civil society organisations in Kenya have raised concerns with particular investments where some foreign companies are investing in renewable energy such as wind energy and this has led to the dispossession of the communities already facing challenges of climate change in drought. In the Congo basin we have such experiences in forest investment,” he noted.

Key Questions

According to Mr Mithika, climate change actors must look at the benefits of DFIs’ involvement to ascertain whether they will compliment the multilateral climate funds such as the Green Climate Funs (GCF) and whether or not their impact is negative or positive.

“The trend is that the governments in developing countries have a challenge [whereby] they don’t care about the people, they [only] count the profit,” he said, adding: “That is a serious issue that we have to confront as the investment by DFIs in addressing climate change becomes prominent.”

Demands by Civil Society Organisations

The civil society leader noted that there are no best practices outlined, no minimal standards and no set guidelines for the involvement of DFIs in climate action, noting that an investment seems largely driven by demand.
“We as CSOs want guidelines, do we have best practices and minimal standards while looking at this investments or is it just investment because there is an opportunity in renewable energy in a particular country?” he posed.

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