IFC Conducts Training for Banks on the Implementation of Equator Principles

Rome - 12 May 2004

International Finance Corporation (IFC) conducted a training programme in Rome this week for banks that have adopted the Equator Principles. The programme was designed for professionals working in project finance, corporate finance, credit, legal, customer relations and other relevant areas dealing with environmental and social risk management within banks. The programme covered risk assessment, categorizing projects, selecting appropriate assessment tools and identifying value-added solutions for project sponsors. Representatives of nine banks attended the programme conducted in Rome. IFC has, in addition, conducted training programmes on the Equator Principles at individual banks, customized to their needs. To date, a total of thirteen banks have received training from IFC, and IFC estimates it has trained 365 professionals at banks that have adopted the Equator Principles.


Twelve Banks Speak Out on the Extractive Industries Review

Washington D.C. - 5 May 2004

Eleven of the banks that have adopted the Equator Principles have written a joint letter to the World Bank President, James Wolfensohn, to express their views on the Extractive Industries Review (EIR). Another bank has sent a separate letter to Mr. Wolfensohn stating its concerns.

In the joint letter, the banks expressed their concerns about EIR recommendations that the World Bank Group (WBG) withdraw from lending to coal immediately and to oil by 2008. The letter states that the banks believe the "EIR has not given sufficient consideration to the fact that the extractive industries are essential to global economic growth and poverty reduction, and that for some countries the extractive industries represent a very important means of creating revenue for government programs."

The banks expressed concern about an EIR recommendation that it should be a precondition of WBG investment that countries have robust governance criteria in place. The banks said that "a country's current inability to meet robust WBG governance criteria should not prevent that country from gaining access to the support, both financial and structural, that is required in order to develop such governance mechanisms. Otherwise, countries that are most in need of such developmental assistance could be excluded ... and will either remain mired in poverty or find less desirable paths to develop their extractive potential."

They also expressed concern about EIR recommendations concerning 'prior informed consent,' and stated the view that the implementation of the WBG Safeguard Policies is intended to result in effective consultation with affected groups and tangible benefits for local communities.

The banks did support the EIR recommendation for increased transparency on revenues paid to governments.

For the full text of the banks' letter, see EIR Banks Letter (pdf - 90k).


IFC Conducts an Equator Principles Workshop

Washington D.C. 18 March 2004

IFC held a workshop on social risk assessment for banks which have adopted the Equator principles. The workshop was held at IFC's offices in Washington on 11 March, 2004. Among the topics discussed were IFC's experience in managing social assessments and issues relating specifically to resettlement, indigenous people and cultural property. There was discussion of how to identify vulnerabilities to social issues in project development. Other topics discussed included sharing of project benefits with local communities, transparency, and promoting effective consultation and stakeholder engagement.