Monday, May 19, 2008

When "Aid" Becomes A Loan

excerpt from:

Anger over climate change loans

By Roger Harrabin
BBC environment analyst

Development campaigners have accused the UK government of making a stealth cut to an £800m fund designed to help poor countries adapt to climate change.

Ministers said they were proud to have set a moral lead when the Environmental Transformation Fund was launched.

The government now says an unspecified amount will go out as interest-free loans but insists it never pledged all the money would be used as aid.

One campaign group attacked the loan element of the fund as "outrageous".

The £800m total was confirmed in last year's Budget. The word "loan" was not mentioned at the time, so it was assumed by campaigners the money was aid.

The International Institute for Environment and Development, based in London, has criticised the decision.

Spokesman Saleem ul-Huq said: "Rich countries like the UK have caused the climate problem and poor countries are predicted to suffer most.

"It is outrageous that the UK is prepared to make poor countries even more heavily indebted trying to combat a problem they did not cause".

He welcomed the principle of the fund but said it was not nearly enough, and insisted that loans should be ruled out.

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