EIB Call to Action: Civil society organisations call for a progressive Environmental and Social Sustainability Framework

FIDH, jointly with other organisations, has pursued its efforts to see the Bank adopt progressive and protective Environmental and Social Sustainability Framework (ESSF). Their letter, sent on January 25, and their participation in the EIB Board of Directors Seminar with Civil Society that took place on Tuesday, 1 February 2022, raised concerns regarding the reviewed ESSF drafted by the Bank.

The new ESSF finally adopted on 2 February, contains some positive commitments and procedures to protect human rights that will apply to all new projects as of 1 March 2022. The policy recalls the human rights based approach, its zero tolerance policy on reprisals against civil society and human rights defenders and the commitment of the bank for “only supporting operations that do not significantly harm the environment, do not impinge on the sustainable use of natural and living resources and respect human rights.”

Some procedures have been put in place to achieve these goals. It also commits to seek a common approach when co-financing projects with other IFIs. Its Environmental and social standards also contain important human rights commitments in the promotion of an integrated approach to impact assessment and risk management by ensuring that environmental, climate, social and human rights considerations are addressed and taken into account in the decision-making processes.

However, and despite some improvements, the new standards fail to address many of the concerns raised. Indeed, without a clear system of human rights due diligence and explicit requirements for the bank’s clients to conduct human rights impact assessments, the EIB is in danger of continuing to inadvertently fund human rights abuse.

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