Campaigner in Serbian Bankwatch member group CEKOR
May 13, 2013
People from the Kolubara mine basin in Serbia have many stories to tell about the hardships they face due to the lignite mining operations. Serbian Bankwatcher Nikola Perusic adds his account to two stories in the guardian and in Bankwatch Mail 56.
Istanbul – With the 2013 EBRD annual meetings underway and in spite of repeated commitments to sustainability, the bank is set to continue financing coal projects that will dangerously aggravate climate change.
A USD 3.7 billion refinery expansion project inside urban Cairo attracting international public development finance, including potentially from the EBRD, is also attracting major controversy as a result of forced evictions, pollution and concerns about the involvement of financial entities linked to the deposed Mubarak regime.
In a landmark ruling laid out in a March 25 letter to the Ukrainian Ministry of Environmental Protection, the Implementation Commission of the United Nations Espoo Convention has deemed that Ukraine’s plans to expand the lifetime of its old nuclear reactors is in breach of the convention – the same convention that Ukraine ratified in 1999. Ukrainian campaigners believe that this should lead the EBRD to halt the disbursement of a EUR 300 million ‘nuclear safety’ loan agreed with Ukraine’s state nuclear operator just days prior to the issuing of the Espoo verdict.
The findings of a recent report entitled ‘The unpaid health bill: How coal power plants make us sick’, released by the Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL), detail the health impacts of existing coal in Europe and quantify the associated costs of mortality and chronic respiratory and cardiovascular disease due to coal pollution.
The EBRD’s new country strategy for Kosovo, announced by the bank on May 3 after Bankwatch Mail Issue 56 went to press, has confirmed what NGOs and others had feared in the consultation process for the EBRD’s first strategy in its new country of operation: that financial support for a new major lignite power plant is very much on the EBRD’s radar, despite evidence that Kosovo does not need such a power plant as well as the potential undermining of EU climate goals.
If there is one sector in which the EBRD has been causing particular controversy in recent years, it is the energy sector. From lignite in Slovenia to hydropower in Georgia and nuclear in Ukraine, the bank has financed a series of projects that have incurred opposition from various quarters. Now that the EBRD is revising its Environmental and Social Policy it's time to take a look at what needs to be learned from these projects.
The attention of the environmental community in Armenia has recently been focused on events swirling around the Deno Gold Mining Company (DGMC). The company has been contending with rising tensions in Kapan as a result of its laying off of workers at its gold mining operations coupled with failings at its Geghanush tailings facility. The controversies have arisen just as the company awaits disbursement of a new loan from the EBRD.