As the Summit for a New Global Financial Pact concluded on Friday, June 23, 2023, after two days of discussions on issues such as climate finance and debt for emerging economies, 350.org, a civil society group, celebrates the array of remarkable civil society actions around the summit that highlighted the need to make polluters pay.
Activists from climate, labour, migrant, and social justice movements took part in creative actions around Paris. Coalitions across movements uplifted each other, drawing connections between interconnected justice issues and standing in solidarity to demand world leaders and financial institutions prioritise people over profit and address the climate crisis.
Amid the unprecedented climate impacts that are currently sweeping the world, and disproportionately affecting the Global South, the summit came at a crucial juncture in which climate finance, loss and damage, and debt cancellation to be discussed at the international level.
Despite powerful displays of activism, in terms of substance, the summit outcomes fall significantly short of what people and the planet need. Despite promising commitments on behalf of governments and financial institutions to begin implementing important reforms, bold and rapid leadership is required to address the multifaceted issues of our time.
May Boeve, 350.org Executive Director, says: “There has been some progress this week, although still far too limited for what is needed. It’s clear that the true winner this week was civil society, who rose up and made loud and clear their demand that polluters pay. The money needed for financing climate action exists.
“Some low hanging fruit available to rich government’s right now is a once in a generation opportunity to curtail excess money flowing to fossil fuel companies private bank accounts, and redirect it to communities around the world struggling with the climate and energy price crises. Politicians need to get behind voter sentiment and take this easy first step to tackle the climate and cost of living emergencies, and back the solar and wind energy global revolution that is taking place.”
Andreas Sieber, 350.org Associate Director for Global Policy says “The PACT Summit was only a starting point. This summit started an essential discussion: to reform an unjust financial system which is unfit to address the challenges of our time, namely the climate crisis. Trillions are needed to finance the transition to fair and clean renewable energy systems and address poverty, yet the summit delivered only a tiny fraction of that. World leaders must continue discussions on how to mobilise finance and reform our unfit financial institutions at the upcoming G20, World Bank, and IMF meetings.”
Clémence Dubois, 350.org Associate Director, Global Campaigns, says: “This week, we saw solidarity across communities, coalitions, and movements creatively and collectively calling for fundamental reform to the global financial system. While world leaders and the financial elite continue to lag behind, lacking the leadership required of our time, the people are ready to mobilise more than before to hold them accountable.”
Norly Mercado, 350.org Asia Regional Director, says: “Despite positive initial steps, the Pact Summit failed to produce sufficient outcomes for communities in the Global South, including across Asia, who are disproportionately impacted by climate impacts and who are the least responsible for them. At the same time, emerging economies are disproportionately impacted by concessional loans and crippling debt, leftovers from centuries of colonialism. It is crucial that the current status quo be redressed and that reparations be made. We are calling for debt cancellation and grant based climate finance, which are prerequisites for climate justice.”
Landry Nintereste, 350.org Africa Regional Director, says: “This summit was intended to address entrenched injustices that the global financial system has perpetuated for far too long. Communities in Africa and across the Global South are increasingly faced with worsening climate impacts exacerbated by the crippling burden of poverty, debt, lack of climate finance, and conditional aid. Without a significant increase in funding adaptation, resilience, and just energy transition on one hand, and a deep overhaul of the financial architecture that does not perpetuate injustice. With so many broken and empty promises made in the past, they are losing faith in such big gatherings.”
Joseph Sikulu, 350.org Pacific Managing Director, says: “The summit was meant to address the broken financial system that has failed to benefit those who need it most. It has gone some of the way, but not nearly far enough. Frontline communities are burdened with the need for adaptation and recovery, and the climate finance promised for this is ridiculously inaccessible. I firmly believe a world beyond destructive fossil fuels is possible, a world where Pacific Islands can thrive, but it’s going to need more than a broken system. It’s going to need debt cancellation, grant-based climate finance and a fossil fuel industry that pays for its crimes.”
Jeff Ordower, 350.org North America Director, says: “It is disappointing that time and time again countries in the Global North, controlled by the fossil fuel lobby, fail to suffiently move towards a less equitable world. The status quo fails to work for the majority of the world’s population. We need to reform our domestic banks and private equity, cancel countries’ debt, and make available the tools to help mitigate the climate crisis.”
Nicolo Wojewoda, 350.org Europe Regional Director, says: “European countries and the fossil fuel giants based here have a responsibility to pay back the Global South, who are facing disproportionate burdens from debt to climate impacts. It is their responsibility to provide climate finance, cancel debt, fund loss and damage. It is crucial that we continue to push for a swift transition away from the current, fossil-fueled global financial system, and towards a just transition to renewable energy that puts people before profits.”