Export credit agencies force Ilisu suspension

(Environmental Finance, London, 8 January 2009) The German, Swiss and Austrian export credit agencies (ECAs) have suspended guarantees for the controversial Ilisu dam project in Turkey... issuing a joint statement saying that the project has failed to meet the World Bank’s minimum standards... The suspension will last 180 days, and will be lifted when the standards are met, the statement says. According to the ECAs, the focus of work must shift to environmental and cultural management, and resettlement, in order to bring the Ilisu dam into compliance and allow construction to continue... NGOs are pushing for the ECAs to completely withdraw their backing for the dam... According to the NGOs, the suspension means that European construction companies must halt deliveries to the project. These companies include Austria’s Andritz, Zueblin AG in Germany and Alstom in Switzerland, and loans from Bank Austria/UniCredit, DekaBank and Société Générale cannot be dispersed. They calculate this will leave the project with a shortfall of €500 million ($684.8 million).