KATHMANDU, August 31: A group of climate activists gathered today in Maitighar Mandala to protest against the World Bank’s climate loan under the Green, Resilient and Inclusive Development (GRID) initiative.
This comes two days after Nepal and the World Bank (WB) signed a controversial US$100 million (Rs 12.7 billion) concessional financing agreement for the GRID initiative. The budget support aims to create an enabling environment in Nepal towards green, climate-resilient and inclusive development. The agreement also aims to support priority policy actions in the areas of water, land use, climate-smart agriculture, sustainable forest management, urban waste and the fight against Pollution.
However, experts and youth activists fear that the multilateral financial institution will impose loans for climate resilience and adaptation purposes, for which Nepal is entitled to receive grants instead. They argued that Nepal is legitimately entitled to receive subsidies to combat the impacts of climate change as its contribution to the global problem is negligible.
Youth activist Prakash Adhikari said WB is working against climate justice. He said Nepal should avoid climate change related loans from any donor agency as this only adds to the debt burden of Nepalese citizens who are already hard hit by the impacts of climate change.
Another campaigner, Sahil Shrestha, said the loan had climate components that merited financial assistance in the form of grants, not loans. He asked the government to remain cautious while taking loans in the name of the climate.
“No to the World Bank climate loan in Nepal,” read one of the banners unfurled by the young activists in agitation. They also carried signs reading “No financial burden in the form of climate loans” and “We demand climate justice”.
Activists said they would continue their protest until the decision to take out climate loans is withdrawn. They claimed that the new loan will add an additional debt of Rs 4000 to each Nepalese national.