EBRD 2008 Environmental and Social Policy

May 15, 2008

The 2008 Environmental and Social Policy is a key document of the Bank which details the commitments of the agreement establishing the Bank particularly for the “promotion of environmentally sound and sustainable development”. The 2003 Environmental Policy has been revised in order to reaffirm and strengthen these commitments and also to enhance commitments to social issues and good governance.


Inadequate integration of human rights law – the need for additional risk management

January 23, 2008

The risks associated with financing projects can vary significantly according to the geographical location of the project. While many projects that the banks are asked to consider financing are in compliance with national legislation and permit requirements, they may fall short of international standards and best practice. A detailed understanding of the project’s political and legal framework is required in order to judge the extent to which national requirements meet the risk management needs of international financial organisations.

Use, misuse and abuse of human rights rhetoric: the case of Serbia

National application of human rights law is one of the most important tests of its efficacy. This article examines the integration of international human rights law into Serbia’s legal system. The paper argues that the use of human rights language does not necessarily indicate the proper and correct use of human rights norms

The paper covers the following:

  • an overview on the intersection of international and national law with special reference to Serbia and Montenegro
  • the existing legal framework for the integration of international human rights law
  • an examination of the propriety of human rights law language discourse
  • a discussion on the separation of the executive and the judiciary

The paper makes the following conclusions:

  • the legislative framework in Serbia favours the integration of human rights law
  • despite some successes there some legislative acts and a lack of human right jurisprudence indicates that international human rights law has not been properly integrated into the legal system
  • there has been a misuse of human rights law and clash between judicial and political discourse on human rights
  • the inadequate training of the judiciary has led to judicial deference to the executive branch of government.

Minimum Requirements for Equator Principle Reporting and one year of EPII Implementation and

September 17, 2007

A template which sets out the minimum reporting requirements for EPII has also been released. This covers:

  • An annual report;
  • The number of projects screened each year;
  • The category and number of projects reviewed;
  • A discussion on EP implementation (although the scope of this is completely up to the bank concerned).
  • The template also contains suggested formats for providing regional and sectoral information, but this is not obligatory.

The template certainly is minimal and unsurprisingly many organisations and shareholders will be expecting the banks to provide substantially more information than is set out in the requirements. Many EP banks are already providing far more information and are setting an excellent example for those that have signed up to the principles more recently.

On May 14, 26 out of 51 EPFIs met to discuss lessons learned and challenges related to EPII implementation.

6 recent adopters attended the event and made a significant contribution to the success of the meeting. EPFIs have been implementing the new Principles for nearly one year following their revision and launch in London last July. Bank of America hosted the day-long event in Washington, DC. Issues related to EPFI governance, disclosure and transparency related to Principle 10, and other items were discussed. This EPFI meeting was then followed by a 2-day series of meetings at the International Finance Corporation (IFC’s) “Community of Learning” event which focused on lessons learned from application of the IFC Performance Standards. EPFIs interacted with and heard from IFC senior management and staff, and also had the opportunity to interact with a number of environmental representatives of Development Finance Institutions (DFIs) from across the globe.


IFC Guidance to the Private Sector on Indigenous and Tribal Peoples

March 14, 2007

March 13, 2007- The International Finance Corporation (IFC) announced today the release of a new IFC publication, “ILO Convention 169 and the Private Sector: Questions and Answers for IFC Clients.”

The ILO Convention 169 and the Private Sector (PDF, 90kb) publication is intended as a practical guide for IFC clients who operate in countries that have ratified Convention 169 on Indigenous and Tribal Peoples. It is the first guidance of its kind written for the private sector in relation to Convention 169 which is directed at governments. IFC prepared this publication, in close consultation with the ILO, in response to the experiences that IFC has had in recent years with private investments affecting indigenous peoples and their lands in Latin America.

IFC hopes this publication will help to raise awareness about the Convention and its possible implications for private sector companies, and provide added clarity and guidance for IFC clients. The publication should be read in conjunction with IFC’s Performance Standard on Indigenous Peoples.


A-Z Guidelines to Successful Public Private Partnership

November 3, 2006

This seminar is being held by the European Public Private Partnership Centre in Hungary. On the 27th – 29th November 2006, at the Corinthia Aquincum Hotel, Budapest.

I am delighted to have been invited to present on ‘The need for environmental and social risk management for PPP Projects’.

The European Public-Private Partnership Center (EPPPC) was established to serve as a know-how center for public sector bodies, private entrepreneurs, investors and other industry players in the growing international marketplace of PPPs. Their state aim is to fully embrace the idea of PPP and educate the above representatives by offering them comprehensive training services as well as widespread expertise through consulting.

Link to the Training Workshop Brochure


Outlining the labour components of the revised Equator Principles

October 18, 2006
Extract from ELDIS:
Ergon / Ergon , 2006
This briefing paper outlines the labour components of the revised Equator principles – Equator II – to assist signatories, their clients and other stakeholders in understanding the new requirements. It introduces the new Equator Principles, which are based on a revised version of IFC Performance Standards – provisions on labour standards and provides an overview of the issues financial institutions must now address. It also suggests some steps they must take to operationalise the new requirements.Until now, the labour component of the IFC policies referenced by the Equator Principles has been limited to occupational health and safety and avoidance of harmful child labour and forced labour. The new IFC Performance Standard 2 (PS2), covers a range of new issues such as non-discrimination, freedom of association and non-employee workers, and also introduces a new set of processes that must be followed.Highlights of the PS2 include:

  • there must be a human resources policy covering terms and conditions and other rights at work
  • all employees must be informed of their terms and conditions and entitlements
  • collective bargaining agreements must be respected, or if not in place, terms and conditions of work must be reasonable and, at minimum, comply with local law
  • the rights to freedom of association and collective bargaining must be respected
  • if rights to freedom of association are restricted in law, clients will enable alternative means for the expression of worker rights
  • projects must not use forced labour
  • projects must not employ children in economically exploitative or hazardous ways, and national laws must be complied with
  • if a significant number of jobs will be lost a retrenchment plan must be drawn up based on non-discrimination and consultation
  • there should be a confidential grievance mechanism
  • workers must be provided with a healthy working environment
  • sub-contracted workers are covered by most of these provisions

The brief argues that the new Equator Principles have the potential to improve conditions for many workers, but the procedures required for assessing risk and the issues that must be considered will be unfamiliar to most private sector banks – as will the possibility of engaging with wider stakeholders, such as trade unions.


New Report on Conflict-Sensitive Business Practice (CSBP)

September 29, 2006

A new report Conflict-Sensitive Business Practice: Engineering Contractors and their Clients, has been prepared by Engineers Against Poverty and International Alert

Contractors operating in unstable states face a range of conflict risks. Oil, gas and mining projects, which frequently have significant contractor involvement, can inadvertently trigger or sustain violence, or become the focus of resentment themselves. Produced in partnership with Engineers Against Poverty, this guidance note is addressed both to engineering contractors and their clients. It examines some key issues related to conflict, contractors and conflict sensitivity, and introduces conflict-sensitive business practice (CSBP) – steps through which these issues can be understood and managed.

The report outlines some of the key costs of conflict to projects, which include:
Direct costs:

  • Security – Higher payments to state/private security firms; staff time spent on security management
  • Risk management – Insurance, loss of coverage, specialist training for staff, reduced mobility and higher transport costs
  • Material – Destruction of property or infrastructure
  • Delays – Lost time through site blockades or disruption of materials and services
  • Capital – Increased cost of raising capital
  • Personnel – Kidnapping, killing and injury; stress; recruitment difficulties; higher wages to offset risk; cost of management time spent protecting staff
  • Reputation – Consumer campaigns, risk-rating, share price, competitive loss
  • Litigation – Expensive and damaging law suits

Indirect costs:

  • Human – Loss of life, health, intellectual and physical capacity
  • Social – Weakening of social capital
  • Economic – Damage to financial and physical infrastructure, loss of markets
  • Environmental – Pollution, degradation, resource depletion
  • Political – Weakening of institutions, rule of law, governance movements