News / 25 January 2011

The EIB complaints mechanism is only a green washing machine

The European Investment Bank (EIB) disbursed an additional EUR 40 million for the Bujagali dam in Uganda while complaints from the local communities are still waiting for a response. The dam is controversial because of its tremendous social and environmental impact. "By neglecting its own complaint mechanism, the EIB proves that its policy is nothing more than a green washing machine", several civil society organisations state.


After the EIB approved the 'Complaints Mechanism Policy' in 2008, organisations like Counter Balance - which has been tracking the EIB for years - and NAPE from Uganda, took the opportunity to file a complaint. According to them by financing the Bujagali Hydroelectric Project in Uganda, the EIB is violating several of it's own principles, like 'fighting against climate change' and 'environmental protection and sustainable communities' .... This has also been confirmed by the World Bank Inspection Panel. The project has already been opposed by the local communities since more than a decade.


According to the EIB's own Complaints Mechanism Policy, the EIB Complaints Office has six months time to address the complaint. More than a year later the complaint is still pending. At the date of the submission of the complaint the bank had only disbursed EUR 42,5 million of the total loan of EUR 95 million. In a meeting with the plaintiffs in January 2010 the EIB ensured that the bank was not going to disburse additional money before the investigation would be closed. However, while the plaintiffs are still waiting for a response, the bank disbursed an additional EUR 40 million.


"The bank is not serious at all in dealing with communities' concerns, the bank disbursed an additional EUR 40 million and the project is well under way. We are determined to take the case to the European Ombudsman", concluded Frank Muramuzi from the Ugandan association NAPE.


Both ENDS has been part of Counterbalance and supporting NAPE for a long time. They will continue to do so in their efforts to stop the Bujagali-project. In 2009 together with NAPE, Both ENDS made a short documentary on the negative effects the dam has on the local population. The European Investment Bank, which was originally founded to finance projects in Europe only, also invests in projects in developing countries. Both ENDS opposes to these practices because the EIB does not take into account the negative effects they might have on local populations.

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