Japan has been a major economic player among G8, G20 countries and international bodies in terms of international development finance, lending, guarantees, and export credits. Hence, since early 90s FoE Japan has worked on the environmental and social issues in developing countries, caused by the Japan-backed development projects.
In the last few years, FoE Japan has provided and facilitated critical public input into a formal review and revision process of the Environmental and Social Guidelines (Guidelines) of Japan Bank for International Corporation(JBIC), Nippon Export and Investment Insurance (NEXI) and Japan International Cooperate Agency (JICA). Through this activity, we aimed to ensure that the official Guidelines would meet high standards for information disclosure, accountability, and environmental and social impact criteria.
To achieve this, we first worked to ensure a publicly transparent and accountable process. After our advocacy on this, JBIC and NEXI decided to hold consultation meetings and to release verbatim minutes to the public. JICA decided to establish the Committee on Revising JICA's Environmental and Social Guidelines, again with verbatim minutes, and chaired by an independent expert. One of our staff was selected as a committee member.
In the case of both JBIC and JICA, we felt that their review of Guidelines was one-sided and superficial, and thus we urged them to make additional reviews, including case studies. As a result, both conducted additional studies in their review of the Guidelines.
In July 2009, the Guidelines of JBIC and NEXI has been revised. Many improvements from the previous version, which are reflected by "NGO Recommendation Paper" FoE Japan submitted with other NGOs, were evident. Some are listed below.
|Past Guidelines||Current Guidelines|
|Disclose only environmental impact assessments (EIA)|| Disclose EIA, resettlement plan, indigenous people's plan
Disclose other environmentally and socially important documents that are disclosed in the country
|Disclose EIA only in the JBIC's office in Tokyo||Disclose the above documents on the website of JBIC|
|No mention about ecosystems in Guidelines||New stipulations about ecosystems and forests|
|No mention about replacement cost in the case of involuntary resettlement||Compensation must be paid at replacement cost where possible|
More Information for Affected Communities and Local NGOs:
FoE Japan regularly sends emails for NGOs overseas to let them know the information of JBIC's new projects. If there are any inquiries and concerns, FoE Japan supports the NGOs and local people to acquire more information such as Environmental Impact Assessment reports, to contact with JBIC/ involved companies and to send letters.
There are also guidebooks on JBIC, NEXI and JICA to serve as a reference for anyone concerned about international finance, including affected communities and local NGOs who wish to understand the environmental guidelines and how the guidelines can be utilized to address social and environmental concerns. You can download them as below.
-A Citizens’ Guide to Environmental and Social Guidelines of Japanese
Public Financial Institutions Involved in Projects Overseas (Sep. 2010) (PDF 3.18MB; 22 pages)
(Published by FoE Japan, Japan Center for a Sustainable Environment and Society, and Mekong Watch)
-Handbook on JBIC's New Environmental and Social Guidelines “Protect
Yourself from Destructive Development” (2004) (PDF 4.5MB; 122 pages)
(Published by FoE Japan and Mekong Watch)
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