Last June, President Obama called upon the national and international community to give no more public support to foreign coal. Shortly after this, the World Bank and the European Investment Bank EIB followed the example, setting stricter criteria for loans to energy companies, which will make it nuch more difficult, if not impossible for new coal plants to get financing from these banks.
After the second shocking murder of an indigenous rights activist in Honduras in less than two weeks the Dutch development bank, FMO, and the Finish development bank, FinnFund, announced a suspension of all their operations in Honduras. They declare that they will no longer engage in new projects or disbursements in the country, including in new disbursements in the Agua Zarca Project.
Today, it is exactly one year ago that Berta Cáceres was brutally murdered in her home in Honduras. Cáceres was a globally known human rights defender and coordinator of the indigenous Lenca organisation COPINH. The murder of Berta is closely related to her protest against the Agua Zarca dam, a hydroelectric project financed partially by the Dutch development bank FMO.
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the World Bank will donate $23 million to the Philippines, but will also provide a loan of $500 million to this country for the reconstruction of the areas damaged by the storm. According to ‘NGO Forum on ADB,’ Both ENDS’ partner organisation, these banks abuse this crisis. The debt will have to be repaid with interest and Philippine society will end up paying the price.
Infrastructure has become a buzzword of the current development debate. But will the recent infrastructure strategies of the World Bank and the G20, which favour large centralized projects, address the needs of the poor? This is the central question in International Rivers' report "Infrastructure for whom?". Strategic infrastructure projects such as large dams and transport corridors promoted by the World Bank and G20 are funded with public money. In order to make these projects attractive to private investors, they are supported by public guarantee schemes. One of the examples mentioned in the report is the Grand Inga Dam in the Congo River (DRC) which - if ever realised - would be the largest dam in the world.
‘The polluter pays’ is a good principle, but what about the institutions that financially support polluting companies and projects? Shouldn’t banks, that are often major investors in unsustainable activities, take their responsibility and pay as well? In the end, these banks also cash in. Pieter Jansen of Both ENDS contributed to research about the ‘Green Credit Policy’ of Chines banks, executed by the Chinese NGO ‘Green Watershed’. Pieter Jansen of Both ENDS and Chen Yu of Green Watershed have launched the report 'Green Credit Footprints of Chinese Banks'.