The recent rejection to release Evgeny Vitishko's, an imprisoned environmental activist in Russia, illustrates the backlash against fundamental rights and freedoms in some countries. Multilateral development banks need to take notice of this trend and be more wary of the risk that their lending may strengthen authoritarian regimes.
Currently presiding over the EU-backed Energy Community's Minsterial Council, Ukraine will likely try to dilute environmental regulations in the Treaty. But the country's ageing coal-fired power plants are troubled by inefficiency and pollution and in dire need of environmental improvements.
Brussels – A group of leading NGOs active in the Balkan region are calling for urgent reform of the Energy Community Treaty, as its Ministerial Council prepares to meet in Kiev on September 23rd. The groups are calling for both the expansion of the environmental and climate component of the Treaty and measures to ensure that existing obligations are better enforced.
The study, based on a field trip to two coal power plants and communities in Western Ukraine, highlights some of the pollution challenges of energy generation from coal in Ukraine, explains the urgent need for reform in Ukraine’s energy sector and the opportunities that the Energy Community membership brings to the country.
While likely not the cause, the EBRD-financed Dariali hydropower plant is being constructed without proper assessment or mitigation of known geological risks. The construction must be halted to avoid further damage.
The letter asks EU Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Stefan Fule to put pressure on the Azeri authorities and support and protect civil society that faces an escalating suppression. Last week more than 20 NGOs were confronted with sanctions that included freezing bank accounts and seizing personal accounts of NGO executives and others. This is a continuation of the government’s on-going harassment campaign against human rights defenders that uses tactics like police summons, arrests, propaganda, and slandering and threating organisations with closure.
The EBRD should stick to its newly approved Energy Strategy and reject any investments in the Serbian coal sector, argue a group of 7 international NGOs in a letter sent to the bank’s board of directors today. The groups were concerned with recent statements by the EBRD according to which the bank’s regional flood response in the Balkans could include “rehabilitation of (…) damaged power stations and transmission and distribution networks.”
This letter, co-signed by Serbian, regional and international NGOs and sent to the Board of Directors of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development ask whether in the aftermath of the recent floods in the western Balkans, the EBRD's response will prop up Serbia's coal sector or whether it will ensure that its post-flood assistance is used for much needed residential energy efficiency improvements and sustainable renewable energy.