The social and environmental policies of the World Bank – commonly referred to as the ‘Safeguards’ – have been under review since 2012. In July 2015, as part of this review, the World Bank, released a second draft of the Safeguards for consultation and public comments.
Published after the conclusion of the UN climate negotiations in Paris, Issue 63 of Bankwatch Mail presents ample evidence of how the EBRD and the EIB continue to be firmly tied to fossil fuel financing, in spite of increasing pressure to do more to end support for carbon-intensive sources of energy.
And even when multilateral development banks say they’re doing ‘clean energy’ some of the effects are proving to be catastrophic – as the impacts of IFI-backed hydropower projects across the Balkans show.
We also take a look at the new kid on the IFI block, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, and consider among other things how its ambition to be ‘lean, clean, and green’ sits with apparent plans for the new bank to help fire up a lot of coal power plants across Asia.
An assessment of the application of the “European Code of Conduct on Partnership” during the establishment of the national implementation bodies and the first phase of ESI Funds implementation in the Czech Republic, Hungary, Latvia, Poland and Slovakia.
In light of the worrying findings of a study on hydropower projects in southeast Europe - most notably the high number of projects in protected areas - this letter asks the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development to better implement its environmental and social policy and hydropower sustainability criteria, establish no-go zones in protected areas and rivers of outstanding quality, and disclose project information about projects with a clear environmental impact which are financed through financial intermediaries.
Southeast Europe is experiencing a wave of hydropower projects. In a region with a deadly combination of Europe's last wild rivers, rampant corruption and inadequate nature protection, the potential for damage is immense. In order to address this issue, we need to know who is making it happen. This research aims - to the extent possible given the secrecy around the financial sector - to find out who are the main actors involved in financing hydropower projects in the region, both overall and inside of protected areas.
Update January 2017
The EBRD has said that financing has been cancelled for four small hydropower plants in Macedonia: Zrnovska reka 1, Zrnovska reka 2, Estericka reka, Kadina reka.
In addition, financing has been cancelled for the 68 MW Boskov Most plant in the Mavrovo National Park, also in Macedonia.
Regarding the Ternove SHPP in Albania, the EBRD has said that it had conducted an on-site investigation into the concerns received in a letter from an affected citizen. The bank found nothing to substantiate the allegations. Bankwatch will continue to monitor the issue.
Following the revelations around Volkswagen cheating emission tests, Bankwatch requested information from the European Investment Bank about its loans to the car maker. After some delays, the bank released only part of the requested information, despite the profound public interest in the case.
A Bankwatch research into the EU's development funds for neighbouring regions finds that considerably more European taxpayer money is supporting fossil fuels than facilitating a sustainable energy transition.
This infographic belongs to a report presented in November 2015 to the European Parliament.
The North Giza Power Plant II, 1500 MW natural gas-fired power plant, is one of several large gas power plants that the Egyptian government is developing since 2011 in an effort to cope with the electricity gap. The power plant uses Combined Cycle Gas Turbine technology and the project promoters claim it is energy efficient, eco-friendly and community inclusive. Both the local community and the findings from a field trip strongly dispute these claims.
The European Bank For Reconstruction and Development states that it is “supporting energy efficiency and the development of a sustainable energy sector” and “financing private enterprises, with a focus on SMEs” among its four priorities for Tunisia. In this briefing, the Tunisian Observatory of the Economy (OTE) argues in its assessment of EBRD activities during the period 2012-2014 that it is difficult to find EBRD investments in line with their stated strategy of focusing on SMEs and a sustainable energy sector.
Since the early 1990s, the EU has actively sought the development of both the oil and gas sectors in former Soviet republics. Energy security, the cornerstone of the EU’s foreign policy became the driving force behind the European Neighbourhood Policy. Investments through the EU’s Neighbourhood Policy Instrument and public banks have supported the development of unsustainable energy systems in most Eastern Partnership (EaP) countries. Like in other countries, the EaP region received more for fossil fuels than renewable sources of energy.
Azerbaijan has been a part of the EU Neighbourhood Policy since 2004 and has enjoyed substantial support through investments in the energy sector. As a result of cooperation on energy projects, the EU is today Azerbaijan’s main trading partner, with bilateral trade amounting to more than EUR 16.7 billion in 2014. But while the European Commission's 2014 progress report on Azerbaijan stressed the good progress in the EU's partnership with Azerbaijan, problems for ordinary Azeris are increasing.
Between 2007-2014, Ukraine received from EU public institutions over EUR 2.5 billion for 56 projects in the country’s energy sector. This is the highest amount of support for the energy sector among all countries of the European Neighbourhood Policy, both by volume and number of investments. Only 15 per cent of that support went to combating inefficient energy use or to developing local sustainable energy sources. The focus of EU financial support has remained on ‘traditional’ sources of energy.
This briefing (an executive summary of an upcoming report) looks at energy investments by the EU in the Southern Mediterranean region and the impacts on the social, economic and environmental rights of citizens and communities by highlighting the compliance of these activities with the values of democracy, human rights and economic development for Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia. It also assesses the type of the investments that would be beneficial both for host countries as well as for the EU.