Letter to Environment Minister Re: ECA Reform at the G8 Environment Summit in Angers, France - April 22, 2003

April 22nd, 2003
The Hon. David Anderson
Minister of the Environment
10 Wellington Street
Hull, QC   K1A 0H3
Fax: (819) 953-3457
Re: ECA Reform at the G8 Environment Summit in Angers, France
Dear Minister Anderson 
This year, as in past years, the NGO Working Group on the Export Development Canada (EDC), a Canadian coalition of development, environment, faith, labour, and rights groups, is writing to urge you to reaffirm your strong commitment to the reform of export credit agencies (ECAs) in the final communiqué of the G8 Environment Summit in Angers, France, on April 25th-27th.
Without such a strong commitment, efforts to promote sustainable development will continue to be undermined by ECA-backed operations that do not respect such principles or practice.

One such example is Canada’s ECA. As you will know, EDC was one of two crown corporations to recently elude the stronger provisions of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act. This was because EDC has its own Environmental Review Directive (ERD). This Directive, however, has a number of flaws. For instance, EDC currently only expects, rather than requires, companies to conduct public consultations with affected communities. It does not require the early release of social and environmental information. And it fails to consistently apply one clear methodology to Category A projects, simply referring to an illustrative list of good practices. (See attachment for further details.)

Given these concerns, it is worrying to note the remarkable similarities between the current draft (Rev. 6) of the OECD “Common Approaches” on environment and export credits, and Canada’s own ERD. Stronger legislation is clearly required, but no such commitment currently exists at the OECD to improve the draft text.

Please, therefore, reaffirm your commitment to ECA reform at the G8 meeting in Angers, and put further negotiations of ECA environmental and transparency reforms, and participation of civil society in all environmental decisions, back on the OECD Export Credit Group agenda. This will help ensure that OECD countries contribute to sustainable development by adopting high-level, binding, environmental and social procedures and standards, that draw on internationally recognised good practices for all ECA-funded activities.
Thanking you in advance, I remain yours sincerely,

Fraser Reilly-King
Encl:     Critiques of EDC’s environmental review directive
ECA-Watch letter to European Commissioner Wallström
oordinator, NGO Working Group on the EDC