Last night (10 April), on the opening day of the World Bank Group spring meetings, 100 cyclists swarmed the streets on bicycles to tell the World Bank Group to stop funding fossil fuels and instead fund clean energy and justice investments.
The activists, with ShutDown DC and others, blocked rush-hour traffic bearing flags, banners and calls for climate action, as finance ministers made their way to dinner parties and back-room meetings.
‘Bikes are very literally people powered. They’re the ultimate zero-emission vehicles. We chose to gather on bikes tonight to remind the World Bank of the potential we have as individuals and communities to show up for what we believe in – the need to protect our planet, the international right to make healthy choices for our families, and a future that is just and liveable for us all.’
Public health student and organiser with Shutdown DC
The action took place on the first day of the 2023 Spring Meetings, run by beleaguered outgoing World Bank President David Malpass, who has caused controversy and outrage over his climate change denial.
Activists are now looking to his replacement Ajay Banga to turn things around and take action on climate.
The bike ride kicked off underneath a massive banner that said ‘World Bank: Time for a Fresh Start on Climate.’
‘After years of David Malpass in the president’s office, we cannot afford another second of climate denial leading the bank.
‘Nominee Banga has the opportunity of a lifetime, if he can rise to the climate challenge — ending financing oil or gas, ramping up investment in renewables, and becoming the transformative leader the world is begging for.’
Director of the Glasgow Actions Team
Concerned citizens from around the globe are protesting throughout the week to demand the Bank stop financing fossil fuels.
They’ll also be calling for an overall reform to Bretton Woods institutions to prioritise justice, helping developing countries to follow a 1.5 degree roadmap with poverty alleviation at its heart.
They will also call to end the ‘gentlemen’s agreement’ that has thus far allowed only the US to nominate the World Bank president.
‘As the World Bank and IMF meet behind closed doors to advance the agenda of concentrated corporate and political power, a coalition of DC-area activists in solidarity with movements worldwide, especially in the Global South, manifested a very different vision outside.
‘We encircled the meetings on bicycle and on foot, to assert the power of organised people.’
Member of the For People For Planet coalition
Today (11 April), on the second day of the World Bank Group spring meetings, a crowd of activists with Glasgow Actions Team, Big Shift Global, and others will take over the plaza outside World Bank Headquarters to release a ‘First 100 Days’ checklist for incoming World Bank President Ajay Banga.
They’ll also be calling on Banga to clean up the fossil fuel mess of current president David Malpass, who caused national outrage when he doubted the reality of human-caused climate change.
The Bank, under Malpass’s leadership, continued to provide massive funding for fossil fuels despite signing onto goals of the Paris Climate Agreement, which scientists say requires an end to all new fossil fuel funding.
Further, the Bank claimed to have completely phased out fossil fuel funding – while continuing the flow to fossil fuels through its child groups, the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA).
The group will also be sharing their demands with World Bank employees and shareholders on their way into the meetings.
A recent poll of World Bank workers found that 87% of World Bank employees think the World Bank needs to be more transparent about its climate finance; 65% of employees think it should stop all fossil fuel financing; and 61% agree the Bank is NOT doing enough to align with the Paris agreement.