Public Banks politics and policies • protections for impoverished communities and the environment
As a child I saw a movie about Smokey Mountain in Manila on Dutch television. Smokey Mountain was a landfill, a mountain of dirt, with on top an army of desolated scavengers making a life by picking through the rubbish. Slums surrounding the mountain now and then were caught by fire, which resulted in many deaths.
At around the same time that I saw Smokey Mountain on television, Manila hosted the World Bank Annual meetings. The new convention center was inaugurated by then World Bank President Robert McNamara, in support of then dictator Marcos' ambition to make Manila a Financial Center. The adagio of the World Bank and other banks is that economies should grow like mountains.
For Both ENDS, I follow the policies and money politics of international financial institutions (IFIs) for quite some time now. In 2012 I attended the Asian Development Bank Annual Meeting which was held in Manila. Parts of the road that brought me from the airport to the convention center were shielded off with billboards to hide the slums behind them. The city's ambitions and economic growth politics followed since Marcos and McNamara have not helped these slum dwellers to climb out of poverty.
In the IFI-work that I do for many years now one thing that repeatedly fascinates and worries me is the ongoing disconnection of Bank language with the reality of destitution on the ground. It is important for poverty solving to study the world's poor, in city slums as well as living in remote rural areas. It is important as much to study the Bank language in the conference centers to better understand the political dimension of dealing with destitution. This is what my work for Both ENDS is all about.
Advocating for responsible policies of development banks
Development banks should comply with strict environmental and human rights rules to ensure that their projects benefit and do not harm the poorest groups. Both ENDS monitors the banks to make sure they do.
Large-scale infrastructural projects have detrimental effects on local people and the environment, while their benefits are felt elsewhere. Both ENDS is working to ensure that local people have a greater say in decision-making and is investigating the way these projects are funded.
Letter / 25 October 2022
Official Statement of Indonesian Coalition for Monitoring Infrastructure Development related to AIIB Statement of Anti Retaliation
The Mandalika International Street Circuit is a street circuit in the resort of Mandalika in Central Lombok in West Nusa Tenggara Province. The project, mainly intended to attract tourists, is largely financed by the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB).
News / 22 August 2022
Complaint to development banks about the Nachtigal dam in Cameroon
Both ENDS partner IFI Synergy has filed a complaint to the World Bank on behalf of local inhabitants about the Nachtigal dam in Cameroon. The dam is causing considerable problems for local communities and local people feel that the compensation they receive is inadequate. They also feel that they were insufficiently informed and consulted before construction of the dam started.
Letter / 15 May 2022
Both ENDS Comments and recommendations on the Bank Group’s Environmental and Social Policy of the AfDB Integrated Safeguards System
This letter by Both ENDS to the African Development Bank is a comment written in reaction to a draft version published by the Bank of its Environmental and Social Policy as part of a formal public consultation held by the Bank. This comment was sent to the bank along a joint submission letter with other CSOs, and specifically responds to the overarching Policy.
The bank's flexible requirements for clients and national standards for risky projects dilute safeguards. Project approval should be predicated on specific and binding targets for compliance and reflect input from communities involved.
Letter / 15 May 2022
Joint Submission of comments and recommendations to the Public Consultation on AfDB Integrated Safeguards System
Together with 29 other CSO's, we've submitted our comments and recommendations in the Public Consultation on the AfDB Integrated Safeguards System. These include that the Bank should prioritize community-led development and human rights-based approaches; protect natural resources and tackles environmental and climate crises; raise the bar on access to information, transparency and accountability; facilitate participatory processes in policies, programmes and projects; and end inequality, poverty, and the cutback and privatization of vital services.
News / 15 April 2022
IDB stops funding for two controversial dams in Guatemala: ground-breaking decision
The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) has taken a unique decision to withdraw from the construction of two controversial dams in Ixquisis, Guatemala. Both ENDS has supported our partner AIDA for many years in its fight against the dams. Tamara Mohr and Pieter Jansen explain why this decision is so exceptional.
News / 4 March 2022
Stand with Ukraine: statement by more than 450 organisations from 49 countries
Hundreds of organisations from dozens of countries have expressed solidarity with the Ukrainian people in a collective call on world governments to end fossil fuel production once and for all. The current crisis sees Putin weaponising oil and gas money to threaten livelihoods and fuel terror with escalating violence, underscoring the fossil fuel system's role in driving conflict.
Letter / 23 August 2021
Joint CSO Submission A Gender comment on the newly proposed EIB E&S Framework
6 civil society organizations, including Both ENDS have submitted a gender comment on the newly proposed EIB Environmental and Social Framework. The EIB Environmental and Social Standards has to be updated to ensure that due attention to gender specific impacts, risks and related mitigation strategies is integrated in the policy and each standard, as well the assessment needs to specifically address the needs and problems of all genders. A lot of improvements can be made in the integration of gender aspects in policy and standards, in order to prevent violation of the rights of women and girls during project implementation, and tools (widely used by other organisations) and or commitments for their development should be included (inclusive consultations, Gender assessments and analyses, gender impact assessment, Legal Assessment Tool (LAT) for gender-equitable land tenure, gender responsive tools for prevention of violence.
Letter / 23 August 2021
Reflecting the duality of gender and climate in the EIB’s Environmental and Social Sustainability Framework’s Standard 5 on Climate Change
This briefing of Eurodad, co-authored by Pieter Jansen, Both ENDS aims to outline recommendations on how the European Investment Bank should address the interconnected issue of gender inequity and the climate crisis in the newly proposed environmental and social policy.Severe climate change has consequences for human rights, including the right to life. As such, under the European convention on human rights the EIB has a duty to stop carbon-emissions related investments. The EIB and project promoters must monitor a project's greenhouse gas emissions and the climate risks of the project on the natural environment, and the women possibly affected by the project. The newly proposed policy should ensure that project promoters, who apply for EIB funding, submit a gender and social inclusion plan, and full participation and engagement of women, local communities and stakeholders in the Climate Risk Vulnerability Assessment methodology.
Letter / 5 August 2021
A joint CSO submission to the European Investment Bank, Standard 11 on intermediate finance in the Public consultation on the EIB Group's
16 civil society organisations including Both ENDS have written a letter of concern to the European Investment Bank about a newly proposed standard for the Bank its intermediate finance investing. Both ENDS contribution to the contents of the joint letter consists out of proposals for improvement of screening, scoping, due diligence, appraisal, monitoring and supervision of high-risk clients and sub-projects. through financial intermediaries and clear and mandatory social, environmental and human rights requirements for FI investing matters.
Letter / 5 August 2021
Joint CSO Submission EIB Group Environmental and Social Policy
25 civil society organisations, including Both ENDS have submitted a comment on the overarching policy of the newly proposed Environmental and Social Framework of the EIB Group. The EIB has to undertake environmental, climate, social and human rights assessment and appraisal of proposed projects to inform the decision of financing and must not rely on a clients' self-assessment and reporting (solely). The Policy needs to state clearly what the due diligence, monitoring and reporting responisibilities for the EIB are, in particular regarding human rights and contractual clauses with clients should enshrine the standards in all EIB operations, enabling for suspension of contracts if the standards are not implemented.
External link / 19 June 2020
Engaging investors for a fossil-free future (Annual Report 2019)
"If it is the fossil fuel-based ‘real economy’ that is driving us toward catastrophic climate change, it is the financial world behind the steering wheel." Therefore in 2019, Both ENDS worked towards fossil free investments by both individuals and public institutions such as the European Investment Bank (EIB).
Letter / 1 March 2020
Both ENDS submission to Phase One of the ESF review of the AIIB, March 20 2020
Both ENDS letter to the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank on the Environmental and Social Framework review.The AIIB adopted its Environmental Social Framework shortly after it opened for business in 2016. In fact, the AIIB didn't consult widely for the draft policy at the time. A full review in fact still has to be conducted.Safeguards policies are of crucial importance for project affected people to hold banks to account. However, Environmental and Social Frameworks (ESF) nowadays replace safeguards at banks. The ESF model leads to a reduction of a Bank's direct and mandatory role in overview, including due diligence, monitoring, and evaluation, of Bank funded activities and investments, along with a shift towards a greater reliance on client self-assessment and self-reporting.
News / 18 November 2019
European Investment Bank goes fossilfree
Good news for the climate: last week, the European Investment Bank (EIB) decided to stop investing in fossil fuels by 2021. This is part of its new energy strategy.
News / 8 November 2019
European Commission, help the European Investment Bank go Fossil Free!
On Thursday November 7th, a group of European NGO's including Both ENDS, sent a letter to Vice-President of the EU Frans Timmermans, in which they ask him to support the phase out of European Investment Bank’s fossil fuel financing by the end of 2020.
News / 30 July 2019
EIB wants to stop fossil investments: big step in the right direction
The European Investment Bank (EIB) has published its new policy for energy investments. In the new draft policy, the bank states to stop investing in fossil fuel related projects from 2020. This is good news for the climate, so Both ENDS and partners are happy with this draft policy. The shareholders of the bank, the member states of the European Union, still have to approve it.
Blog / 12 July 2019
Dutch participation in the AIIB, an international bank with Chinese characteristics
and Stijn Deklerck of Amnesty International Nederland
On 12 and 13 July, the Asian Infrastructure and Investment Bank (AIIB) will be holding its annual meeting in Luxembourg. This is the fourth annual meeting of the AIIB which was set up on the initiative of China. As a shareholder, the Netherlands will be attending the meeting.
News / 2 July 2019
‘Like Fish on Land’: testimonies from people in Uganda and Laos after being displaced
In the Nam Ou river in Northern Laos, seven dams are built by a Chinese company. All over the world one can see the same picture when it comes to hydropower projects: it has devastating impacts on the people living in or around the area where they are being built, primarily because they are being displaced. It seems that displacement of communities is still accepted as the unavoidable collateral damage of infrastructure projects. This reveals a highly unacceptable attitude towards poor communities in whose name development is proceeding. In Laos, our Laotian partner visited communities along the river to talk with people about their life after displacement:
Blog / 24 June 2019
The European Investment Bank should withdraw from gas investments
The European Investment Bank EIB should get rid of its gas-investments, and the Netherlands can take the lead in this. The Netherlands appears to be relying less and less on gas in its energy policy, and also seems to focus on gas-free investments at the EIB. Now it is important to maintain this position and also convince the other EU countries.