2014 engagement with civil society
In 2014 the EBRD continued to actively engage with civil society organisations (CSOs) in countries where it invests, through outreach activities, dialogue and consultation events on the development of the Bank’s policies, strategies and projects. This year also marked important changes in our work with civil society. We launched a new initiative – the Civil Society Capacity Building Framework – which aims to improve awareness and capacity among CSOs that are affected by specific EBRD projects, enhance policy dialogue initiatives, and help to establish a stronger partnership between the Bank and civil society.
Our engagement with civil society is designed to support the Bank’s mandate of fostering transition towards inclusive market-oriented economies in countries that respect the principles of democracy and pluralism.
There are several reasons why we engage in continuous dialogue with regard to our investments, strategies and policies. First, a vibrant civil society is an essential component of any democratic society. Listening to the perspectives of civil society – alongside the views of our shareholders, governments of the countries in which we work and private sector clients – is fundamental for the planning and implementation of our operations. Second, civil society plays an important role in enhancing our accountability and transparency. Through their valuable local knowledge, CSOs help us deliver better projects and policies in transition countries. We remain committed to this approach while constantly searching for new ways to improve our engagement with civil society and respond more effectively to the challenges we face.
In 2014 more than 2,700 civil society organisations were registered with the EBRD and over 380 civil society representatives participated in the 23 thematic meetings that we organised.
2014 Civil Society Programme
The 2014 Civil Society Programme was held in Warsaw on 14-15 May, as part of the EBRD Annual Meeting and Business Forum. A total of 52 participants attended the event from 23 countries.
During the event the Bank’s management and representatives from civil society organisations (CSOs) discussed the EBRD’s role in the global financial community after more than two decades of operations. In particular, CSOs shared their expectations about our role in addressing the issue of democratic development in the countries where we work, our business model, and the environmental and social impacts of our investments, both completed and ongoing.
The Civil Society Programme included a discussion panel on Civil Society as a Partner in Transition, which brought together experts and consultants from the private, public and civil society sectors to share views on how the three sectors can make a difference and accomplish more together in terms of inclusive growth than they could on their own. The Programme also featured an associated event on effective stakeholder engagement in climate finance programmes, which was jointly organised with the Secretariat of the Climate Investment Funds.
In 2014 the EBRD President, Vice President and members of the Board of Directors continued to engage in high-level dialogue with representatives of civil society.
The President, Suma Chakrabarti, met with local civil society stakeholders in Kazakhstan, Moldova, Serbia and Tajikistan to exchange views and perspectives about country-level transition challenges. The Vice President, András Simor, also met with several international civil society organisations at EBRD Headquarters in London to discuss broader thematic issues related to human rights and sustainable energy production and consumption.
Furthermore, civil society stakeholders had the opportunity to meet with other members of our senior management and the Board of Directors in six countries: Belarus, Bulgaria, FYR Macedonia, Kosovo, Morocco and Romania. Thematic meetings with the EBRD Board of Directors were also organised in London to discuss our work in the southern and eastern Mediterranean (SEMED) region.
In 2014 the EBRD engaged in dialogue with international and local civil society organisations on 46 projects in 24 countries. The main sectors of interest were:
- agribusiness in eastern Europe and SEMED
- mining in the Caucasus and Mongolia
- municipal and environmental infrastructure in eastern Europe and the Western Balkans
- natural resources, power and energy in the Western Balkans, SEMED, central and eastern Europe, the Caucasus, Central Asia and Russia
- tourism and property in SEMED
- transport in Russia and the Western Balkans.
This year the EBRD held extensive discussions with local and international civil society organisations about broader thematic issues, such as sustainable development, climate change, taxation, response to natural disasters, economic inclusion and human rights. We also engaged in written correspondence on these matters and organised dedicated meetings to create opportunities for dialogue between our senior management and civil society.
Review of Good Governance Policies
In 2014 the EBRD completed a comprehensive review of its Good Governance Policies, namely the Environmental and Social Policy, the Public Information Policy and the Rules of Procedure for the Project Complaint Mechanism.
The two-stage review process started in 2013 with a request for comments on the existing policies. We received numerous comments from shareholders, clients, civil society, industry associations, international financial institutions and other peer organisations. Furthermore, we conducted a series of consultation workshops in February 2014, which were attended by 190 individuals and organisations in Almaty, Casablanca, Kiev, London, Moscow, Sofia and Tbilisi. On request from local organisations in Serbia, we also organised a video conference with civil society organisations in Belgrade.
A report summarising stakeholder comments was made available to the Board of Directors. All of this helped to shape the proposed changes to the policies. The new policies came into force on 7 November 2014.
In 2014 the EBRD continued to provide opportunities for engagement with civil society stakeholders during the drafting stage of its country strategies. This year we engaged with civil society organisations in a range of countries, including Armenia, the Kyrgyz Republic, Romania and Tajikistan, and held discussions on the first strategies for some of the newest countries in which we work, including Cyprus, Jordan and Morocco. We recognise that consultations early on in the process, when strategies are still at a concept stage, help to provide a broad spectrum of perspectives in strategy design.
Civil Society Capacity Building Framework
In 2014 the Civil Society Engagement Unit (CSEU) finalised the pilot phase of the Civil Society Capacity Building Framework, a new initiative that was set up to further enhance the EBRD’s proactive engagement with civil society. The aim of the framework is to raise awareness, improve technical knowledge and organisational capacity, and develop outreach and project management skills among community-based civil society groups and organisations. These civil society organisations (CSOs) are directly or indirectly affected by specific EBRD investment projects and policy dialogue initiatives.
The framework uses our technical cooperation funds – mainly bilateral and multilateral donor funds – to partner with local and international CSOs and consultants to provide training for civil society groups.
The pilot phase, which took place from July 2013 to July 2014, was modest in scale. Nevertheless, the initial results were very promising. The CSEU mobilised around €180,000 in donor funds and reached just over 150 final beneficiaries, whose capacity improved substantially.
Coordination with IFIs and IOs
Although the EBRD differs from many development banks, it is working with other international organisations (IOs) to address common global and regional development challenges as part of the UN’s Post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals. It is clear that complex problems such as poverty and climate change cannot be tackled effectively by any one sector on its own. Cross-sector cooperation between civil society, the private sector, governments, the EBRD and other IOs can maximise the strengths of each sector and help to find innovative solutions to these challenges.
Coordination with other international financial institutions (IFIs) and organisations is an important aspect of the work of the Civil Society Engagement Unit. In 2014 the Unit continued to play an active part in the United Nations Civil Society Focal Points, alongside UN agencies and other IOs, to promote innovative practices related to civil society engagement. We have also been cooperating with the Global Environmental Facility and the Climate Investment Funds to enhance the role of civil society in the green economy, and we have started a dialogue with the Council of Europe on youth participation and employability issues.
The EBRD’s priority is to re-energise transition and build support for economic reform by reaching beyond projects to encourage broader change. Building deeper relationships with civil society as a key stakeholder group is important to draw support for transition and related reforms. Civil society organisations are important drivers of reform because they generate demand for change. This is why civil society can play a crucial role in building support for the transition process by helping to strengthen good governance and enhance economic inclusion.
To achieve this, the EBRD will continue its engagement with civil society at all levels, through information disclosure, dialogue, consultation and partnership. In particular, we will work on the scalability of our Civil Society Capacity Building Framework through the transfer of skills and demonstration effects.
Nine other technical cooperation projects are in the pipeline for 2015. The activities will focus on areas of strategic importance to the Bank’s operations, including sustainable energy and resources, economic inclusion, governance and the investment climate.
Lastly, we are working towards a new approach to our Civil Society Programme, which will be presented on 14-15 May 2015 in Tbilisi, Georgia. The Programme, which is held alongside the EBRD Annual Meeting and associated Business Forum, will provide a new format for dialogue between CSOs and the Bank’s senior management, President and Board of Directors.
The EBRD is an active participant in international sustainability initiatives and policy development, and continues to play a prominent role in international efforts to address climate change. EBRD President Suma Chakrabarti participated in the UN Climate Summit in New York in September 2014 and accepted an invitation to join the advisory board of the UN’s Sustainable Energy for All (SE4All) Initiative, which aims to modernise energy supplies and promote sustainable energy use. Regarding the Bank’s commitment to SE4All, set at the Rio+20 Conference in 2012, the EBRD exceeded its US$ 8 billion (€7 billion equivalent) target for the end of 2014 by US$ 1.4 billion (€1.2 billion equivalent).
In addition, President Chakrabarti attended the Global Green Growth Forum in Copenhagen in October to take part in discussions on investing for a low-carbon future and sustainable urban development. EBRD delegates also participated in the UN Climate Change Conference in Peru in December in preparation for the 2015 conference in Paris, where countries are expected to adopt a binding and universal agreement on climate.
The EBRD and other multilateral development banks leverage large volumes of private sector investment through their climate finance activities. In 2014 they pledged to track and report these investments with a view to cooperating more closely on climate change. The EBRD also worked on improving its internal monitoring and reporting of climate investments.
Looking ahead, 2015 is likely to be a watershed year for sustainability with the anticipated UN Sustainable Development Goals and the COP21 Climate Change Conference in Paris in December. At the EBRD we remain committed to making these processes a success and to playing our part in achieving their outcomes in the countries where we invest.
Environmental and Social Advisory Council
The EBRD’s Environmental and Social Advisory Council (ESAC) was created shortly after the Bank was founded in 1991. It is an independent body of environmental specialists who advise the EBRD on environmental issues such as policy, international standards, technical development, emerging trends and future opportunities.
ESAC members are appointed for a three-year period and are selected based on their professional expertise as well as their potential to contribute to the development of the Bank’s policies and programmes. They represent a wide range of interests from non-governmental organisations, academic and research institutions and the private sector.
In 2014 the Council focused its efforts on providing advice and inputs for the revisions of the Environmental and Social Policy, the Public Information Policy and the Rules of Procedure for the Project Complaint Mechanism.
ESAC members provided feedback, suggestions and constructive challenge on these issues. Minutes of the meeting and further information about ESAC are available on the ESAC members’ website.
Our internal performance
The EBRD is committed to minimising the environmental impact of its offices and business activities. We source all electricity for our London Headquarters from renewable energy suppliers. Office paper is certified by the Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC) as coming from sustainable sources.
The 2014 EBRD Annual Meeting held in Warsaw was carbon neutral. We purchased carbon credits in Poland to offset emissions from flights, energy consumption and food and paper use.
|EBRD HQ consumption and recycling figures||2014||2013||2012|
|Water (thousands m3)1||52.2||75.5||80.4|
|Energy CO2 emissions (kT)2||7.8||8.2||10.8|
|Air travel (millions km)||30.8||28.3||29.0|
|Rail travel (thousands km)||437||480||441|
|Travel CO2 emissions (kT)||6.0||5.5||5.7|
|Printer paper consumption (millions of sheets)||12.6||13.6||14.0|
|Printer paper consumption (tonnes)||58.1||63.0||66.8|
|Paper recycling (tonnes)||185.4||51.7||15.5|
1 Water consumption has decreased due to the installation of a more efficient chiller system for air conditioning.
2 C02 data are compiled using the latest UK Defra/DECC methodology paper for GHG reporting. A conversion factor of 0.49426 kg CO2 per kWh is used for grid electricity and 0.185 kg CO2 per kWh is used for consumption of natural gas.
In October 2014 the EBRD held its first Green Week, aimed at encouraging staff to think about their personal impact on the environment and see if they could find ways to reduce it.
EBRD employees were encouraged to make a pledge to do something different during the week. Ideas included taking the stairs rather than the lift, using their coffee mugs rather than paper cups, or switching to a vegetarian diet for a few days. Each day of Green Week had a different theme: save energy, save resources, choose local and sustainably sourced food, and recycle. A “cycle buddy” scheme was also introduced to encourage staff to cycle to work, by partnering novices with more experienced cyclists from their area.
Alongside these softer measures, we also invested in energy-efficient IT, lighting and air conditioning for our London office.