The EBRD’s regions of operations are facing another crisis. The war in Ukraine and the sanctions against the aggressor Russia and its ally Belarus have led to new shocks to the economies of EBRD countries and uncertainties for the livelihoods of people there. Following the global COVID-19 pandemic, this new crisis has further increased pressure on the shrinking space for democracy and basic rights and freedoms, as human rights defenders continue to struggle to have meaningful dialogue in the imbalanced power relations with the private sector or authoritarian governments.
More than ever, we need credible and responsible public finance institutions that will ensure a safe space for public participation and effective safeguards for those affected by their investments. The EBRD has demonstrated that it can respond to crises swiftly and efficiently. On the occasion of the EBRD’s AGM, CEE Bankwatch Network, together with Recourse and other NGOs, call on the Bank to show leadership and strengthen its human rights due diligence tools and processes.
The new paper calls on the EBRD to develop and implement proper human rights due diligence that will:
• ensure, prior to project risk categorisation, a thorough Bank-led or commissioned analysis of human rights risks and make its methodology and conclusions accessible for each project public;
• ensure proper assessment of the impacts via human rights impact assessment (HRIA) or other contextual analyses, if the risks are identified; make these additional assessments public;
• provide safe and meaningful public participation, which is timely, a two-way process, transparent, accessible and safe, to all rights-holders; ensure that proper procedures are in place and there is regular capacity building and regular evaluations of procedures to ensure they provide for safe and meaningful public participation.