Towards better safeguards policies
Empowering communities to be heard. Protecting whistleblowers and pushing back against the threat of violence, intimidation and attacks on free speech and assembly. Preserving the environment.
Photo by bliink (CC BY-NC 2.0)
Strong safeguard policies to guide bank lending are essential.
At the EBRD meetings this week in Jordan, we are pushing for these types of reforms based on our collected experience with bank projects across the region.
Blog entry | 11 February, 2019
After almost a year of struggling to get basic environmental information from the EBRD about the Krapska hydropower project, Bankwatch has submitted an official complaint  to the bank’s Secretary General. As we run the same administrative circles over and over again, another precious river valley has been irreversibly damaged.
Blog entry | 8 February, 2019
“We invest in changing lives” is the slogan of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, whose investments in 2018 reached EUR 9.5 billion through 395 projects. Whether the change is for better depends on the bank’s environmental and human rights safeguards.
Despite its commitments to increase the share of renewables under the Energy Community and reduce greenhouse gas emissions within the process of EU accession, the Serbian government seems determined to remain locked-in to a carbon intensive energy system, with several coal projects planned. The EBRD should stick to its Energy Strategy and reject any investments in the Serbian coal sector.
Nenskra project, Georgia
The banks have a responsibility to ensure that when they make an investment, they mitigate and avoid situations that put persons at risk. The Nenskra dam in Georgia is one example where the lack of proper environmental and social assessment can potentially unfold into a crisis. The reservoir will flood communal lands and would reduce families incomes, contributing to poverty and marginalisation.
Small hydropower, the Balkans
The use of third-party financial intermediaries by the public banks presents a huge barrier to transparency, with next to no information available about their clients’ operations. This has proven especially problematic in the hydropower sector, where financial intermediaries have funded projects that violate national legislation, decimate pristine areas and dry out riverbeds.
The economic viability of coal is ever decreasing. Without public financial support many coal investments are doomed to fail. Yet several institutions are still willing to finance an energy source that wrecks our climate, damages our health and wastes our money. In 2013 the EBRD made a very welcome decision to limit its coal financing to rare and exceptional circumstances, but further improvements are needed.
New Kosovo power plant
After years of delay, the New Kosovo lignite power plant took a step forward in 2017 with the signing of commercial contracts. However, numerous old issues, including carbon emissions, resettlement, and the dubious single-bidder procurement process, have not been resolved, and coal power alternatives have not been properly examined.
EBRD strategy for Uzbekistan
It is important that the EBRD clearly indicates to the Uzbekistan government the need to have progress towards meeting those benchmarks from over 15 years ago that remain relevant to this day. We suggest that the Country Strategy will envisage an early review to assess the progress in these areas.
Myronivsky Hliboproduct (MHP), Ukraine
With over half a billion euros from the EBRD and the IFC, the leading Ukrainian agribusiness giant has grown into a near monopolist in poultry production. The company’s poor track record of stakeholder engagement and accountability towards impacted villages attracted public criticism and opposition to its expansion.
Belgrade waste PPP
The Vinča waste PPP contract between the City of Belgrade and the Suez-Itochu consortium raises numerous issues including the terms of the contract, the waste management model envisaged, and the impacts on the Roma population living on the landfill, as well as those surviving in the city through informal waste collection.
#Georgia's Caucasus mountains are a natural and cultural treasure - surely the development banks @EBRD and @ADB_HQ would think twice before flooding this area with funding for the billion dollar #Nenskra dam project? cc @intlrivers @AgFilipiak @RFERL @robinfwalker pic.twitter.com/123dLkgavC— Bankwatch (@ceebankwatch) May 3, 2018