(London) – The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development’s (EBRD) new draft Environment and Social Policy would fail to weed out abusive development projects, seven human rights and bank watchdog organizations said today in a joint statement. The bank’s consultation on the draft policy closes on March 5, 2014. It then has an opportunity to revise the policy before sending it to the bank’s board for approval in the coming months.
The EBRD loan for the Kolubara lignite mine project in Serbia was approved when the forced removal of the local graveyard of the Vreoci community was already initiated and in spite of protests and appeals to the EBRD and in spite of on-going corruption investigations of the company. This case offers important lessons learned for the Environmental and Social Policy of the EBRD with regards to human rights.
The findings of a visit to the EBRD sponsored Patos Marinza oil field in Albania show how local development and investments in resource extraction often do not go hand in hand. The case provides valuable lessons for the revision of the EBRD’s safeguard policies.
Currently, a High Level Reflection Group is evaluating the institutional set-up and working methods of the Energy Community and will report this June with suggested improvements to the Ministerial Council. Yet the composition of this group and the informal reports from its first meeting suggest that the environment is in danger of being neglected once again in the updated Treaty.
Facing criticism by the European Parliament of its progress on climate friendly energy sources, the Serbian government tells Bankwatch's member group that the future of the country's energy system is none of their business.