MIGA pressed to reform

15 April 1998

Friends of the Earth US and other NGOs wrote to their government representatives in April to stress that the donor discussions about providing more money for MIGA should talk about reforms first and about shifting the portfolio away from mining and fossil fuel projects such as the controversial Lihir Island goldmine in Papua New Guinea.

NGOs are concerned that very slow progress is being made on extending the inspection panel to MIGA, and that MIGA should clarify how it selects which projects to back. The equivalent US bilateral agency, the Overseas Private Invesment Corporation, has recently released a new environmental policy, including a list of project types that OPIC will no longer finance because their environmental and social impacts tend to be too difficult to mitigate. OPIC will not finance large dams, extractive and infrastructure projects in primary tropical forests, projects in protected areas, national parks and World Heritage Sites, or projects that involve ozone-depleting chemicals or persistent organic pollutants.

International NGOs, many of which work primarily on World Bank issues, met in Germany in April to discuss how to campaign on export credit agencies – which sometimes back projects which have been refused funding by the Bank. An international statement is available from: urgewald@koeln.netsurf.de

More information on MIGA or OPIC from: Andrea Durbin, adurbin@essential.org