OECD Spurs Environmental Assessment Of Export Credits

By Agence France-Presse Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) member states have agreed to boost common means for evaluating the environmental impact of projects backed by their respective export credit agencies, the group said Dec. 18. The move is designed to ensure respect for international standards and involves business estimated at $50 billion (40 billion euros) in 2002, the OECD said in a statement. "The agreement is expected to increase transparency in government export credit agencies' environmental review processes and so to contribute to a better coherence in public policies in the context of sustainable development and good governance," the statement said. "Projects should, in all cases, comply with the environmental standards of the host country. When the relevant international standards against which the project has been benchmarked are more stringent, these standards would be applied." Any higher standards, such as those of the European community, may also be used as benchmarks, the OECD added. The agreement took the form of an OECD recommendation. The organization said that while the accord is not legally binding it has a "great moral force" and should encourage the 30 OECD-member countries to fully implement its terms. "For the most sensitive projects, ECG (the body's Export Credit Group) members will seek to make environmental information, particularly Environmental Impact Assessment Reports, publicly available 30 calendar days before final commitment," the statement said. Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2003

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