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Energy for the People: Environmental organizations call the World Bank

Russian Socio-Ecological Union endorsed the statement of environmental organizations addressed to the World Bank. The public calls to help the poor of the world, instead of promoting giant energy projects of international corporations under the guise of good intentions. Instead of financing large-scale hydropower and other megaprojects of energy corporations, it is necessary to invest in green energy and sustainable development of local communities!

Russian Socio-Ecological Union endorsed the statement of environmental organizations addressed to the World Bank. The public calls to help the poor of the world, instead of promoting giant energy projects of international corporations under the guise of good intentions. Instead of financing large-scale hydropower and other megaprojects of energy corporations, it is necessary to invest in green energy and sustainable development of local communities!

On 16-17 December 2013, the World Bank summons donor countries in Moscow to replenish the resources of the International Development Association (IDA). This organization was once founded to help the world's poorest population, but today the IDA energy portfolio is dominated by multibillion "transformational" projects for giant dams on major rivers in Africa and Asia, as well as super-energy bridges between Central Asia and Pakistan, instead of decentralized energy sources. In 2013, according to Oil Change International, only 8% of the energy portfolio of the World Bank was aimed at improving access to energy for the poor. Instead, the World Bank today supports such projects which involve significant negative social and environmental impacts and many violations of its own rules (e. g., construction of transmission lines to Gilby 3 hydropower plant in Ethiopia or TPP Medupi in South Africa).

We believe that the desire to create giant energy infrastructure in the interests of the few and the suppression of democratic freedoms are two inseparable processes. Therefore it is natural that this year both the G20 meeting and the World Bank meeting take place in Russia, where suppression of civil society actively takes place in the last year, and activists are accused of espionage and piracy without grounds.

Russia is also building its own portfolio of energy mega-projects that run counter to the interests of the development and the needs of the local population. Now the filling of the Boguchanskaya HPP giant reservoir on the Angara is being completed, which, besides creating huge social and environmental costs, demands the withdrawal from under current legislation in order to avoid defaulting on its multi-billion dollar loan for construction. Nevertheless, quite in the spirit of the new policy of the World Bank to support construction of large dams, Russian company "RusHydro" hastily prepares plans to build a dozen of new major "anti-flood" HPPs in the Amur River basin, to increase export of "cheap" electricity to China. We are convinced that the same money invested in adaptation of settlements of the Amur Region to floods could really help the people of the Russian Far East.

We call representatives of the Russian Federation at the meeting of the World Bank in Moscow on December 16-17 to propose to all donor countries redirection of funding previously assumed for IDA energy projects to other multilateral funds, more conducive to the sustainable development, for example the Green Climate Fund. We are confident that those 1.6 billion dollars that the World Bank expects to get now for energy projects from donor countries, being redirected to the Green Climate Fund, will be invested in support of widely available renewable energy, and not environmentally and socially dangerous megaprojects.

We also call the Russian government not to invest public funds and provide no state support for construction of large hydroelectric dams on the rivers of Siberia and Far East. We are convinced that such mega-projects in the current situation will primarily serve the energy needs of the other country (China) by shifting the environmental costs on the Russian side. We believe instead that public funding and state support should be provided for climate adaptation projects of existing HPPs to ensure their environmental safety, for energy efficiency projects of heat and electricity sources in settlements of Siberia and the Far East, as well as to investments in development of environmentally sound renewable decentralized energy sources required for the local population.

Energy must be accessible for all people, and not become a means for enriching the few!

This statement was prepared by the "Rivers Without Borders" international coalition and was supported by the following Russian environmental organizations:

Greenpeace Russia
Environmental Human Rights Center "Bellona"
Russian Social Ecological Union
International Social Ecological Union
Krasnoyarsk public association "Plotina.Net!"
Environmental NGO "Buryat Regional Association on Baikal "
AKOO "Geblerovskoe Ecological Society"
KROO "Krasnoyarsk Regional Ecological Union"
Primorsk Green League
Amur ecological club "Ulukitkan"
Environmental Center "Dront"
Kamchatka League of Independent Experts
ENWL project
Scientific and public coordination center "Living Water"
International Center for Environmental Monitoring BPI FEB RAS
Coordinating Council on Environmental Problems of Primorsky Krai
The committee of public movement "For environmental safety of the residents Sasovo and the district

Join the statement on the website http://www.plotina.net/openletters/p4p/