International development banks' environmental, social policy, grievance financing mechanisms, and other issues were discussed at a seminar in Georgia on September 24-26.
The representatives of CEE Bankwatch International Network, BIC (Bank Informational Center / USA) and Georgian 'Green Alternative' NGO shared their experience and knowledge with the civil society representatives from Georgia, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Mongolia and Uzbekistan. Activist from Armenia, member of 'Save Amulsar' Initiative Tehmine Yenokyan and 'EcoLur' Informational NGO representative Christina Ter-Matevosyan participated in the discussion from Armenia.
Tehmine Yenokyan presented the situation regarding Amulsar Gold Quartzite Mining Project. Tehmine Yenokyan noted that the implementation of Amulsar project did not adhere to the EBRD's social and environmental responsibility principles and environmental and social standards. Speakers were asked what steps could be taken to held the EBRD liable. Fidanka Bacheva-McGrath, EBRD Policy Officer at CEE Bankwatch International Network noted that in 2016 the EBRD has added a second investment, according to which it is possible to lodge a complaint with the bank on the impact of further activities with the financing of its Lydian projects.
Reminder: In 2014, a petition signed by 209 residents of Gndevaz village affected by the Amulsar project in Vayots Dzor Region was lodged to the EBRD Ombudsman's Office (PCM) to stop financing Amulsar open gold mining project and the construction of cyanide production in Gndevaz. The EBRD/ PCM rejected the complaint on the ground that the bank, under a contract with Lydian, was directing the funds to the mine deposit exploration, and the complaint concerned the potential consequences of Amulsar's operation.
"Rejecting your complaint to the EBRD/ PCM, it stated that they did not finance the mine development phase and therefore could not be held responsible for any potential impact during the mining phase. But in 2016 then a second round of investment has been added and a new appeal may be filed,” Fidanka Bacheva-McGrath said.
"What is important here is the legislation of the country and the agreement where the country has expressed its desire to join the EBRD," Alexey Passyuk, CEE Bankwatch Network Coordinator said.
International financial institutions have specific mechanisms to provide feedback and allow them to refine financial plans for which funding is provided.
The issue of applying to court in case of failure to meet the requirements of the policies developed by banks was also discussed. BIC Infrastructure Policy Manager Elizabeth Summers noted that such a precedent exists in the US, but it is not yet clear how the process will end.
10:01 October 04, 2019