Hundreds of environment, human rights and development groups call for immediate reform of export credit agencies
For immediate release
20 June, 2000
Ottawa - International NGOs call for a fundamental reform of export credit agency policies, in a declaration adopted at a meeting in Jakarta. The declaration was endorsed by 340 NGOs from 45 countries, and is targeted at the OECD Ministerial Meeting of 26/27 June in Paris.
With almost $ 400 billion of loans and guarantees in 1998, official export credit agencies have become the largest source of public international finance. Since 1997, non-governmental organizations have called for social and environmental reforms of international export credit policies. At a strategy seminar in Jakarta, international NGOs reiterated the need for immediate reforms. "Export credit agencies have consistently learned no lessons from the past and continue to approve financing for environmentally and socially destructive operations", says Titi Soentoro of Bioforum, an Indonesian coalition which had organized the Jakarta seminar. "The current export credit policies are a form of untransparent, environmentally and socially destructive globalization, as serious and reprehensible as the policies of the WTO, the IMF and the World Bank", adds Pamela Foster, Coordinator of the NGO Working Group on the Export Development Corporation, who participated in the drafting of the Declaration.
A "Jakarta Declaration for the Reform of Official Export Credit Agencies" summarizes the NGO concerns and recommendations. The Declaration calls for:
- transparency, public access to information and consultation with civil society and affected people regarding export credit projects and policies in both creditor and recipient countries;
- binding common environmental and social guidelines and standards no lower than those of the World Bank Group, and coherent with other ongoing international social and environmental commitments;
- the adoption of explicit human rights criteria guiding the operations of export credit agencies;
- a halt to export credit support for non-productive investments such as military purchases and white elephant projects;
- and the cancellation of export credit agency debt for the poorest countries, much of which has been incurred for economically unproductive purposes".