This page links to information concerning a number of projects on which we have worked, in solidarity with local communities. In some cases, the projects rely on World Bank funding. In others they involve Canadian companies that may be seeking, or have secured, financial support from Export Development Canada (EDC). Sometimes they involve both. Regardless of the source of funding, in all cases, communities have contacted us because they are concerned about the significant adverse environmental, social and human rights impacts of the projects.
Inter-American Development Bank
|Hon. James Flaherty
Minister of Finance
Department of Finance Canada
140 O’Connor Street
Ottawa, ON K1A 0G5
|Hon. Lawrence Cannon
Minister of Foreign Affairs
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada
125 Sussex Drive
Ottawa, ON K1A 0G2
1st February 2010
Ref: Immediate debt cancellation for Haiti
Dear Ministers Flaherty and Cannon,
We are writing to commend the government’s efforts to date to mobilise emergency assistance for disaster relief in Haiti and for speaking to the urgency and importance of debt cancellation for the country. The call to cancel Haiti’s remaining multilateral debt, including last week’s highly concessional $102 million loan from the IMF, benefits from a strong Canadian voice. We urge you to keep demonstrating such leadership in the government’s interventions at the Bretton Woods Institutions, and at Haiti’s largest multilateral creditor, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).
CSOs push for Common Approaches revamp
Members of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) are currently reviewing a 2007 Council Recommendation regarding export credit agency (ECA) operations. The Recommendation on Common Approaches on the Environment and Officially Supported Export Credits (Common Approaches) is a “gentlemen’s agreement” that seeks to establish a level playing field regarding ECA environmental practice. CSOs argue that the Recommendation’s impact is undermined by the lack of effective accountability mechanisms to ensure consistent and effective application by member governments.
New loans for LICs: IMF “with a human face” or “a mask”?
At the end of July, the IMF announced “unprecedented” increases of concessional (grant/low-interest) lending for low-income countries (LICs) ($8 billion in the next two years; up to $17 billion by 2014), zero interest on new and existing loans through 2011, greater loan flexibility, and a set of new instruments to channel the increased support (Extended Credit Facility for flexible medium-term support; Standby Credit Facility for short-term and precautionary needs; and Rapid Credit Facility for emergency support with limited conditionality). The shift also came with assurances from Fund Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Khan that new programs would focus on poverty reduction, economic growth, and safeguards on social protection. In addition to the anticipated new resources, IMF membership also greed this month to a new general allocation of Special Drawing Rights (see “Agreement…” in this issue).
What is the Bank of the South?
On December 9th, 2007, representatives from Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Ecuador, Paraguay, Uruguay, and Venezuela met in Buenos Aires, Argentina, to launch “el Banco del Sur” or the Bank of the South (BoS). With the creation of the Bank, the leaders of Latin America envisaged a new development institution to help promote growth and tackle poverty. The BoS was originally proposed in 2006 by Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez. Chavez, along with other South American leaders, wanted a Bank that would allow them to assert their political and financial independence from traditional international financial institutions (IFIs), like the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank, and put an end to decades of structural adjustment policies imposed by the IFIs on countries in Latin America.
IMF back in business, but still politically bankrupt
Even before US President George Bush announced plans for next month’s G-20 Summit on the financial crisis (see “Just the Facts”), International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Strauss Khan has been pushing for the IMF to be front and center in addressing the crisis. In a complete about-face from one year ago, Strauss Khan now sees the IMF not just fighting fires through new flexible emergency loan arrangements to address food, fuel and finance crises, but as a “global regulatory coordinator” or world central bank.
On May 29, Bill C-293 or the “better aid bill”, received royal assent. This now legally requires Canadian official development assistance (ODA) to contribute to poverty reduction, take into account the perspectives of the poor, and be consistent with international human rights standards. The Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) and Foreign Affairs Canada (FAC), among others, are in the process of developing plans on how to implement the Bill in practice. These comments are intended to help CIDA and FAC in their interpretation of the Bill for the various international financial institutions for which they are the lead agencies.
12 June 2008
Hon. Minister Christine Lagarde Hon. Minister Giulio Tremonti,
Hon. Alistair Darling, Chancellor of the Exchequer
Hon. Minister Peer Steinbrück Hon. Minister Jim Flaherty
Hon. Henry Paulson Jr., Secretary of the Treasury
Hon. Minister Fukushiro Nukaga Hon. Minister Alexei Kudrin
Re: Open letter to G8 Finance Ministers calling for immediate debt cancellation for Haiti
The undersigned civil society organizations from the Group of Eight (G8) nations and other European organizations urge all G8 Governments to support immediate multilateral and bilateral debt cancellation for Haiti or a moratorium on all debt service payments until such a time as the debt is cancelled.
Groundswell of Interest in Canadian Overseas Extractive Operations
This month the Government of Canada’s final roundtable on Corporate Social Responsibility and the Canadian Extractive Industry in Developing Countries was held in Montreal (see April 2006, Issue update). In order to accommodate public demand, more time was dedicated to public sessions in the November roundtable than in any of the previous consultations. Roundtable participants heard diverse perspectives from an impressive range of stakeholders. An Indonesian speaker described how her community is affected by the operations of a Canadian mining company. John Ruggie, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on business and human rights also addressed roundtable participants.
Halifax Initiative Coalition
153 Chapel Street
Ottawa, ON K1N 1H4
PAULO BERNARDO SILVA
President, Board of Governors
LUIS ALBERTO MORENO
Inter American Development Bank,
1300 New York Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20577, USA
Re. Demand for cancellation of IDB debt