Letter to Environment Minister - April 8, 2002

Monday April 8, 2002

The Honourable David Anderson
Minister of the Environment
10 Wellington Street
Hull, Québec   K1A 0H3
Environment Canada
Fax:  819-953-3457

Dear Minister Anderson:

On behalf of the Export Credit Agency Watch (ECA Watch) campaign, an international coalition of non-governmental organizations from 35 different countries, I would like to respectfully request your consideration in incorporating the following language on export credit agencies in the Banff Ministerial Statement on the World Summit on Sustainable Development.  The Statement has come to our attention in the form of Revision 2, written April 3, 2002.

1.     In the third paragraph of the section “Towards a Successful World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD), it is stated:  “These should include…concrete action in the field of energy and sustainable development, to reduce the number of people without access to energy supply and to increase energy efficiency and conservation and the share of renewable energy in all countries”.   We propose the addition of:  “In support of this goal, we commit our export credit agencies to an immediate target of 20% of their energy sector lending and support to go to renewable energy and energy efficiency development and to work with other OECD governments to achieve this target”.

2.     In the first paragraph of the section “Environment and Development”, it is stated:  “We are committed to work with our respective domestic and international partners to ensure that globalization promotes sustainable development for the benefit of all…In particular we recognize the pressing need to continue to improve coherence among social, trade, finance, investment, bilateral and multilateral environmental assistance and international development assistance policies”.  We propose the addition of:  “For example, we  urge multilateral and bilateral institutions, including export credit agencies, to adopt the highest common approaches to sustainable development and consider relevant elements of the recommendations of the World Commission on Dams (WCD)”.

3.     In the first paragraph of the section “National and Environmental Governance”, it is stated:  “We will promote proposals and ideas that encourage foreign investment to make a greater contribution to environmental protection and sustainable development.”  We propose the addition of:  “Recalling the statement of the G8 Environment Ministers at Trieste, we recommit ourselves to complete the work unfinished in the OECD Export Credit Group agreement, including common binding environmental standards for export credit agencies based on those of the World Bank Group, EBRD and European Union.  We commit to complete our work on common guidelines with respect to public access to environmental information, transparency and public consultation in the evaluation of the environmental aspects of investments”.

It would be unfortunate for Canada to block the momentum that the past G8 Summits have gained on export credit agency issues and the environment.  While we appreciate that this request is coming to you late in the preparatory process, we urge Canada to show leadership on this issue and build on the commitments made in Trieste last year.

Thanking you in advance, I remain yours sincerely,

Melanie Quevillon
NGO Working Group on the EDC
A Working Group of the Halifax Initiative Coalition

Cc:  The Honourable Pierre Pettigrew, Minister of International Trade