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315 civil society groups renew call for Equator Principles Financial Institutions to stop funding climate disaster & abuses of Indigenous rights

Author: Johan Frijns, BankTrack, on behalf of 315 civil society groups, Published on: 15 November 2019

“Letter to: Mr Beck, Chair of Steering Committee Equator Principles Association; All Equator Principles Financial Institutions (EPFIs)”, 13 November 2019

...Equator Principles Financial Institutions (EPFIs) will meet in Singapore at the annual meeting of the Equator Principles Association (EPA), to decide...commitments under the proposed new Equator Principles, EP4. [The] decision…taken at your 2017 Annual Meeting in São Paulo after 270 organisations and 130,000 individuals signed the Equator Banks Act petition, [asked] your institutions to ‘Stop financing climate disasters’ and to ‘Respect Indigenous Peoples’ rights and territories’…, [reflecting] our deep concern over the ongoing financing…of coal, oil and gas and infrastructure projects.

[The petition]…was triggered when in 2016 no fewer than 14 EPFIs provided finance for the Dakota Access Pipeline in the United States…, leading to well-documented human rights violations. [If such] projects…can get financed under the Equator Principles,…communities and the planet continue to be exposed to major environmental and human rights risks,…but also [it poses] reputational and financial risks [to Equator banks]…

One week before the 25th Conference of the Parties to the UN Climate Treaty,…your two year drafting process for EP4 will…end. [T]he final draft…has not been shared with stakeholders. [If] the final EP4 closely resembles the draft…, it will not put an end to financing…climate disaster projects,…ensure the rights of Indigenous Peoples, [and will not address]…shortcomings [in] transparency and accountability.

Our organisations would consider such an outcome unacceptable,…in a world increasingly prey to an ever-accelerating climate crisis, with forests disappearing…, tens of thousands of animal and plant species disappearing…, with poverty and inequality rising and conflicts over control of land, water and resources deepening. [C]ontinuing with ‘business as usual’ will also not help EPFIs [to] meet the stated objectives of…adequately managing risks. [Our] organisations once more call upon your institutions to Act, with courage and ambition…[and] to ensure that the EP4…will contain clear, ambitious and courageous commitments and provisions that no longer allow the financing of projects that pose a direct threat to our world and to your future business, [but] will preserve it and help it thrive for future generations.

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