The Dutch development bank FMO and the Finnish FinnFund announced this week that they are seeking ‘a responsible and legal exit’ from the Agua Zarca project in Honduras. Last week, it was reported that four suspects had been arrested in connection with the murder of human rights activist Berta Cáceres, who opposed the project for many years. One of those arrested is the manager for social and environmental affairs of DESA, the company implementing the Agua Zarca project. Because the company is a direct client of FMO and FinnFund, the banks consider the arrest good reason to take action.
A highly critical report on the Bujagali Dam was recently released by the World Bank Inspection Panel - the independent investigation body of the World Bank. The controversial Bujagali Dam, a US$860 million hydropower dam under construction in Uganda, is co-financed by the World Bank and the African Development Bank. Unfortunately the report of the Inspection Panel has done little to change the commitment of the World Bank in funding the dam. Nor will it implement any fundamental changes in response to the indicated problems.
The European Parliament in its plenary session on the 5th of April, adopted a proposal to regulate Export Credit Agencies (ECAs) that will force them to become more transparent on where their funds come from, and go to, as well as how they count social and environmental risks. Furthermore, the Parliament requires ECAs to comply with EU human rights objectives in their activities, and to phase out the subsidising of fossil fuel projects in line with commitments adopted by the G20 in 2009.
The Clean Clothes Campaign (CCC) together with international and Bangladeshi labour rights groups and unions, has reached an agreement with the German-based retailer Tchibo on an ambitious safety programme in garment factories in Bangladesh. Earlier this year, PVH (owner of Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger) committed to the programme.
“I will not go!” Sena Alouka yells in the bus along the highway as we pass a desolate farm that is totally surrounded by bulldozers and soil that has been turned and ploughed. A familiar sight for most of the riders in the bus, which includes nine Africans, an Indonesian and a handful of Dutch people. Evictions and land expropriations are an almost daily occurrence in Africa and Indonesia. And then the whole group spontaneously chants: “I will not go! We will support you!”
On the 27 September 2012, the negotiations for European Partnership Agreements (EPAs) with African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries mark their 10 year anniversary. But it is not really a time for celebration. 10 years on, EPAs negotiations continue to be fraught with concerns that when it comes to supporting development efforts and promoting regional integration, the EPAs will do more harm than good. Please join us for a debate on: "EPA negotiations: 10 years is enough?" at the Residence Palace, Brussels, 27 September 2012 from 9:30 to 11:30 am.