• EBRD bank projects ‘unsustainable’

    The leading NGO monitoring the activities of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development says the bank is ignoring environmental requirements in its charter and is continuing to invest in unsustainable transport projects in Central and Eastern Europe.


    In a statement, CEE Bankwatch Network criticised the EBRD’s 2005-08 transport operations policy for lacking clear objectives and commitments on the promotion of sustainable transport. It says the plans contradict the bank’s environmental mandate to “promote in the full range of its activities environmentally sound and sustainable development”.

    According to Bankwatch, 52% of the €400 million the EBRD invests in the transport sector is currently used for road projects, and this trend is likely to continue in the 2005-08 period.

    Bankwatch’s transport coordinator Anelia Stefanova said: “The new EBRD transport policy fails to address these damaging trends which are impacting heavily on social welfare, helping to accelerate climate change and causing irreversible damage to the biodiversity of central and eastern Europe.”

    Railway privatisation and restructuring projects were highlighted by Bankwatch for their potential to lead to the closure of thousands of kilometres of railway lines. Other unsustainable trends cited include funding air transport projects despite the lack of an air fuel tax and the impact of aviation on climate change.

    Responding to the claims, the bank said it will “include the consideration of such issues in its policy dialogue with governments, recognising each government’s sovereign role in establishing national environmental and transport policy.”

    A coalition of NGOs has launched a database of projects outside the EU that have been funded by the European Investment Bank (EIB). The coalition hopes to provide information about what it calls “the notoriously secretive EIB”, including details of several significant transport infrastructure projects the bank has failed to provide. The group says “most” of the projects listed are unsustainable.

    • See www.eibprojects.org

    This news story is taken from the June 2005 edition of T&E Bulletin.