ECA Watch: International NGO Campaign on Export Credit Agencies
home what are ecas? the problems goals take action! press room about us

Information in: Español - Français - Deutsch - Português - Russian - Japanese - Svenska - Italiano - Suomi

The Problems
*
*
*


view ECA Watch




 

Search ECA Watch



What's New! Vol. 4, No. 5

  May 2005


"What's New!" is a periodic update to keep you informed of the latest on the ECA Watch website. What's New! features a wide range of materials related to the reform of Export Credit Agencies (ECAs) including NGO publications and releases, news articles, commentaries and announcements about the policies and practices of ECAs and ECA-financed projects world-wide. If you would like to receive "What's New!" simply add your e-mail to the ECA-Action list at www.eca-watch.org today! Questions? Email info@eca-watch.org
  1) NGOs Oppose Subsidies to Hydro as a Renewable Energy
  2) OECD to Revise Anti-Bribery Statement
  3) Canada's ECA Continues to Withhold Key Environmental Information
  4) Sakhalin II Update:
    A. 33 NGOs Demand Banks and ECAs Refuse Sakhalin II Financing Without EIA Improvements
    B. Russia Accuses Sakhalin Energy of Inflicting $2.6B Damages
    C. BankTrack Issues Briefing on Sakhalin II
    D. Sakhalin II Dumping in Aniva Bay Ruled Illegal
  5) Fifty Campaign Groups Protest World Bank Failures on Controversial BTC Oil Pipeline
  6) Trade Minister Demands Strengthening of OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises
  7) NGOs Gravely Concerned About Subsidies to Drinking Water Projects
  8) French Representative Challenged on Nam Theun 2
  9) British Energy Giant Starts Filling Oil into BTC Pipeline
  10) OECD Participants in the Arrangement on Export Credits Refuse Better Terms for Local Costs
  11) ECA Watch Launches Analysis of 2002 OECD ECA Data
  View April Issue of What's New
  View Other Back Issues of What's New
   
  1. NGOs Oppose Subsidies to Hydro as a Renewable Energy [PDF]
May 13, 2005 (Source: ECA Watch) — Prior to the April meetings at the OECD, NGOs offered support for subsidies covering truly new renewable energy projects, but rejected the inclusion of large hydro dams in this category because of the massive and irreversible social and environmental damages they generate. In a May 11 OECD press release, Participants in the Arrangement on Export Credits announced their approval of the renewables subsidies, but included large hydro dams in the definition of "renewable", and put off implementation of the policy for dams pending the definition of standards for hydro. NGOs have recommended that the OECD environmental practitioners group mandated to come up with appropriate standards for dams consult with a number of experts and governments that are working on the implementation of the World Commission on Dams recommendations.
What are truly renewable energy technologies? See the CURES declaration (PDF) .
   
  2. OECD to Revise Anti-Bribery Statement
  May 16, 2005 (Source: ECA Watch)—The OECD Working Group on Export Credits (ECG), meeting in Paris April 21-22, has agreed to strengthen its 2000 Action Statement on Bribery (PDF) at its November 2005 plenary meeting. The revisions will be based on recommendations from an Autumn 2005 special meeting of the ECG, in consultation with the OECD Working Group on Bribery, the International Union of Credit and Investment Insurers (The Berne Union) and Transparency International.
   
  3. Canada's ECA Continues to Withhold Key Environmental Information
  March 29, 2005 (Source: Sierra Legal Defence Fund) — Canada's ECA Export Development Canada (EDC) continues to withhold key environmental information about the projects it supports, citing reasons of “commercial confidentiality”. "EDC's disclosure policy advocates what is in essence a 'trust us' approach", said Tim Howard, co-author of a recent Sierra Legal Defence Fund report on the EDC policy. "Not only is this totally inconsistent with basic principles of democratic transparency, but it also falls short in terms of both national and international standards around the disclosure of environmental information."
Read the full Sierra Legal Defence Fund Report (PDF)
Learn more and take action at the Halifax Initiative's web site
   
  4. Sakhalin II Update:
The Sakhalin II project is seeking up to USD $5B from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and Export Credit Agencies (ECAs) of the US, UK and Japan.
    A. 33 NGOs Demand Banks and ECAs Refuse Sakhalin II Financing Without EIA Improvements [PDF]
May 5, 2005 (Source: ECA Watch) — A group of 33 NGOs have asked the EBRD, and ECAs JBIC, US Ex-Im Bank and ECGD to not move forward with financing for the Sakhalin II oil and gas project until it complies in full with the banks' policies. In particular, they cite problems with the Sakhalin II Phase 2 Environmental & Social Impact Assessment material submitted to lenders by Royal Dutch/Shell and the Sakhalin Energy Investment Company, Ltd.
    B. Russia Accuses Sakhalin Energy of Inflicting $2.6B Damages
May 6, 2005 (Mosnews, Russia) — The Russian Audit Chamber has accused Sakhalin Energy Investment Company, the Sakhalin II operator, of breaking a product-sharing agreement which led to USD $2.6B in damages.
    C. BankTrack Issues Briefing on Sakhalin II
April 2005 (Source: BankTrack) — The group PLATFORM has authored a briefing for BankTrack providing banks with arguments why they should not step into the Sakhalin II project. It comes in two versions, for Equator Principle signatory banks, and other private banks.
Read the briefing for banks signatory to the Equator Principles (PDF).
Read the briefing for other private banks (PDF).
Learn more and take action at the Rainforest Action Network web site.
Read more BankTrack educational fact sheets on private finance.
    D. Sakhalin II Dumping in Aniva Bay Ruled Illegal
May 12, 2005 (Source: Sakhalin Environment Watch, via RAN) — The Sakhalin Regional Office of Public Prosecutor has exposed violations of Russian environmental law regarding the granting of a license to Sakhalin Energy for the dumping of dredging waste near the construction of a Liquified Natural Gas terminal in Aniva Bay, part of the controversial Sakhalin II oil and gas project.
Read a related April 2005 item: Shell Moves Pipeline to Avoid Whales as Subcontractors Dump Dredging Waste on Valuable Fishery.
   
  5. Fifty Campaign Groups Protest World Bank Failures on Controversial BTC Oil Pipeline
April 29, 2005 (Kurdish Media)— More than fifty human rights and environmental groups from thirteen countries have launched a protest against the failure of the World Bank to rectify ongoing problems with the controversial Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) oil pipeline. The groups outlined serious safety, environmental and human rights concerns with BTC in a detailed Memorandum to the Bank and other BTC project funders. The controversial pipeline is being built by the oil giant BP to take oil from the Caspian Sea through Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey to the Mediterranean. Most of its nearly £2B cost comes from public sources, including the UK ECA, the Export Credits Guarantee Department (ECGD), which is backing the pipeline with £60M public money.
   
  6. Trade Minister Demands Strengthening of OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises
May 4, 2005 (Financial Times) — At the early May OECD Forum in Paris, Sweden's minister for industry and trade told the body that the voluntary OECD guidelines for multinational corporations must be made more effective. Developed countries are coming under pressure to strengthen enforcement of standards that promote responsible behaviour by companies in their international operations. Trade unions and OECD Watch have urged that official export credits should be conditional on the recipient company's compliance with the OECD Guidelines for multinational corporations.
Read the original article in the FT.
   
  7. NGOs Gravely Concerned About Subsidies to Drinking Water Projects (PDF)
May 13, 2005 (Source: ECA Watch) — Over 20 international water-rights groups, in addition to 18 ECA Watch campaign member groups, have signed a recent letter to the OECD, expressing grave concerns about the proposed extension of subsidies under the Arrangement on Export Credits for renewable energy projects to drinking water infrastructure and waste water treatment projects. The promotion of private sector involvement in the water sector is controversial due to a track record that has included raising the price of water in low-income communities and failure to meet contractual commitments to invest in expansion and to reduce water contamination.
Learn more about alternative approaches to equitable access to water at Water Justice and Public Citizen's Online Water Rights Library.
   
  8. French Representative Challenged on Nam Theun 2
May 4, 2005 (Source: ECA Watch) — Amis de la Terre France, Proyecto Gato, and 56 other NGOs from 34 countries have asked the OECD to investigate non-compliance with OECD rules by the National Contact Point (NCP) of France which handled the Nam Theun 2 complaint by NGOs against Electricité de France. The groups claim that lack of fair adjudication and respect for the position of all stakeholders seriously undermines the credibility of the role of NCPs as arbitrators under the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises. The NGOs cite several conflicts of interest between the NCP and the Nam Theun 2 dam project, including overlaping representation in the NCP, the Ministry of Finance, the Board of the French ECA COFACE, and the Asian Development Bank.
Read the NGO letter to the French National Contact Point (Word document).
Read a list of cases raised by civil society organizations concerning various NCPs.
Read the TUAC user's guide to the OECD Guidelines (PDF).
   
  9. British Energy Giant Starts Filling Oil into BTC Pipeline
May 10, 2005 (Kurdish Media)— British energy giant BP has stated it has begun filling up the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) pipeline ahead of the project’s completion later this year.
See above in this May What's New for more information on the BTC project.
   
  10. OECD Participants in the Arrangement on Export Credits Refuse Better Terms for Local Costs
May 16, 2005 (Source: ECA Watch) — In late April OECD Participants in the Arrangement on Export Credits agreed to extended repayment terms for renewable energy projects (see Item 1 above), but failed to arrive at a consensus on all points in the EU proposal on renewable energy (PDF). The EU had recommended increases in the maximum allowable local costs eligible for export financing from 15% to 30% of the export contract value. Had it been approved, this policy to cover local expenditures would reduce the tied aid component of ECA support and facilitate the transfer of technology and enhance the development impact of ECA financing. This would have been in keeping with the OECD’s stated commitment to achieving the Millennium Development Goals. NGOs had recommended its increase to 50%.
   
  11. ECA Watch Launches Analysis of 2002 OECD ECA Data
  May 16, 2005 (Source: ECA Watch) —ECA Watch campaign participants have collected and analysed the OECD's ECA data for 2002: it is now available publicly in a format useful to campaigners.
Read the ECA Watch analysis (Excel document)
   
Home | What are ECAs? | The Problems | Goals | Take Action! | Press Room | About Us For Questions or Comments, email info_at_eca-watch.org
To report broken links and/or technical difficulties, email webmaster_at_eca-watch.org
View our Privacy Statement