Statement by the OECD Secretary-General Donald J. Johnston on Export Credits and the Environment


04/12/2001 - "Negotiations have been proceeding at the OECD on common approaches to officially supported export credits and the environment. Much progress has been made, and I foresee OECD discussions continuing towards further improvements".

"Export credit policy can contribute positively to sustainable development and should be consistent with that objective, while creating a level playing field for healthy international competition".

"The current proposal of common approaches, after fifteen months of negotiation, has also taken into account consultations with civil society organisations. The implementation of this proposal by most members from January 2002 will mean that all major exporting countries of the OECD will now be applying environmental review mechanisms. This results in the first common "greening" of export credits and should be seen as a major accomplishment".

"This proposal is an important first step. I believe the countries of the OECD will, through ongoing negotiations and review, improve the level playing field for export credits and the environment".

The main elements of the proposal of common approaches which have been negotiated to date are:

  • Screening of all projects with a repayment term of 2 years or more.
  • Classification of projects in one of three categories, according to their potential effect on the environment, in order to indicate the extent of the information required for the subsequent environmental review.
  • Review of projects, including scrutiny of Environmental Impact Assessments in sensitive sectors and locations, in order for Members to evaluate whether to cover or decline official support and, if support is to be provided, the extent of any mitigation requirements.
  • Benchmarking of projects against international standards such as those contained in the guidelines of the World Bank Group.
  • Exchange and disclosure of information with relevant stakeholders and with other Members.
  • Reporting and monitoring and a review no later than the end of 2003.

This statement follows the meeting of the OECD Export Credit Group held on Thursday 29 November in Paris. For further information, journalists should contact Meggan Dissly, OECD's Media Relations Division (tel. [33] 1 45 24 80 94).

More information on the OECD work of Environment and Export Credits.


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