Our own Dutch development bank FMO recently introduced a complaints mechanism. This means that anyone adversely affected by a project supported by the FMO may file a complaint.
Amnesty International, Bank Track, Both ENDS and SOMO have contributed to the design of the complaints mechanism and have now issued a response to the final result.
Anouk Franck of Both ENDS has provided input into the complaints mechanism and explains why it is so important for institutions to have a good complaints mechanism.
The Dutch Entrepreneurial Development Bank (FMO) has put pressure on the Panamanian government to proceed with the construction of the Barro Blanco dam. This was reported by the Dutch Newspaper ‘de Volkskrant’ on Monday the 18th of May. Construction works were suspended last February after the Panamanian environmental authority had found out that the company carrying out the construction – the Panamanian company Genisa – had violated environmental regulations and had failed to make proper arrangements with local Ngöbe communities. FMO is one of the investors in the project.
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.
It can be hard to establish small-scale adaptation projects in developing countries, because governments, development banks and donors generally prefer to finance larger initiatives. Of course, a single large project is more visible and easier to manage than ten small ones. But it is extremely important that the very small-scale initiatives, which are based on the knowledge and needs of local communities, are supported. How can we ensure that these - often very effective - local projects find their way to the appropriate funds and vice versa?
For the very first time, the expert panel of the independent complaints mechanism of the Dutch development bank FMO will handle a complaint. It was filed on May 5 by residents of the area where the Barro Blanco dam is currently being built. These people form part of the indigenous Ngäbe-Buglé tribe. They feel that FMO has not adhered to its own social and environmental standards when they lent 25 million US dollars to build the dam. Anouk Franck of Both ENDS has been keeping a close eye on the situation.
The Dutch Minister of Foreign Trade and Development regrets the fact that part of the Ngäbe-Buglé tribe is unhappy with the construction of the Barro Blanco dam in the river Tabasara in Panama. Ploumen said this in reply to parliamentary questions filed by Jasper van Dijk (SP). The Netherlands is involved in the construction of this controversial dam because of the loan provided by the Dutch development bank FMO. The minister does not have the intention of forcing the FMO to withdraw the loan, even though the basic human right of "free, prior and informed consent’ has been violated. A part of the Ngäbe tribe has not been informed before the plans were carried out. Anouk Franck of Both ENDS looks at the impact of the FMO loans.
The European Bank voor Reconstruction and Development wants to provide $40 million to a Kuwaiti company that is going to start doing oil drilling in Egypt. Huub Scheele from Both ENDS together with Egyptian NGOs urges the EBRD to postpone the decision, as the money is not going to contribute to any positive changes for the Egyptian people.
SEATINI Uganda is engaging women working in the palm oil sector in a campaign to improve their work situation. Around International Women's Day, March 8, they are organizing various actions to gain awareness for the situation and the rights of these women workers.