March 10, 2000

EDC promotes green issues at OECD meeting

At a recent meeting of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Canada's Export Development Corporation (EDC) was a persuasive advocate for the incorporation of environmental risk assessment into officially supported export credits. The federal Crown corporation, which operates as a commercial financial institution, reports that it was successful in persuading export credit agencies to agree to an action statement on common approaches and best practices in addressing environmental issues, as well as a proposal for terms of engagement with all stakeholders, including non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

The action statement includes a commitment to develop a framework for common approaches for incorporating environmental impacts and mitigating strategies into official export credit support, thus ensuring that all OECD countries are competing on a level--and higher--playing field.

"Our ultimate goal is to promote a multilateral adoption of common guidelines as to how export credit agencies assess environmental risks and effects," explained EDC president and CEO A Ian Gillespie.

The proposal outlining terms of engagement for stakeholders recognizes the potential value of input on this subject from NGOs and other interests. It sets out a clear, transparent process for engagement and provides for advance notification of agendas, sharing of information and documentation in advance, establishment of clear objectives, and distribution of information about participants' organizations and their operations.

EDC also proposed a number of specific elements for inclusion in the environmental work plan of the OECD export credit group. These include: establishing common principles, scoping, screening, gathering environmental information, evaluating information, putting in place environmental covenants and monitoring requirements, and public dissemination of the final framework. All of this builds on previous environment-related EDC initiatives, such as its environmental review framework for reviewing the environmental effects and risks of projects seeking EDC support.

The OECD members are due to meet again in April, at which time they are expected to finalize the work plan leading to the development and implementation of a framework of common approaches to assessing environmental risks and effects. More information is available from Rod Giles at the EDC, 613/598-2904, E-mail rgiles@edc-sec.gc.ca, Web site, www.edc.ca.

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