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International Financial Institutions: Private Banks & Investors
 Private Banks & Investors

  Lesotho Highlands Dam-Affected People

People affected by the Lesotho Highlands Water Project

Most dam projects only go ahead if they are supported by governments and public financial institutions. Private bank loans often complement the public funding for large dams.

Since the 1990s, many governments, under instructions from the World Bank, have privatized their power sectors. In such cases, hydropower projects are sometimes developed and operated by private investors, even if these investors often still rely on public support.

This site presents major reports and documents, and other news and updates about role of private banks and private investors in large dam projects.

  news & updates  
New Environmental Standards for Private Bank Operations: Half A Loaf
The good news is that a new version of the Equator Principles, a set of environmental and social sustainability standards for private bank operations for development projects, was launched on July 6, 2006. The bad news is that these new standards are unlikely to meet their stated goals.

IRN as part of BankTrack – a network of civil society organizations that monitor the private financial sector – argues that the new principles, while welcome, need to be substantially strengthened. Read our response to the revised principles at www.banktrack.org. Read the revised principles at www.equator–principles.com. Read an article about more than 40 international financial institutions who have commited to complying with Equatorial Principles.
Banks Advised Not to Sell Environmentally Damaging China Bonds
Two financial institutions in China are trying to raise $2 billion through international bond issues. The institutions have a track record of financing destructive projects such as the Three Gorges Dam in China, as well as others around the world. IRN and Friends of the Earth have called on provate banks not to participate in these bonds.
  reports & documents  
Environmental Money Laundering
IRN and Friends of the Earth/US call on international banks not to finance a $1 billion bond issue of China Exim Bank. Given China Exim Bank's negative environmental record, such financing would amount to environmental money laundering. Read the press release and a short background paper.
Karahnjukar – a Project on Thin Ice
A new IRN briefing paper (15 pages) and a leaflet (4 pages) summarize the impacts and risks of the Karahnjukar dam and smelter project in Iceland.
IRN Action on Iceland Dam and Aluminum Smelter Project
Icelandic NGOs are opposing a hydropower and aluminum smelter project that would irreparably damage large wilderness areas in Iceland’s Eastern Highlands. In support of their struggle, IRN and more than 100 other NGOs have called on banks and international financial institutions not to provide any funds for this project.
IRN report documents problems of private power projects
A new IRN report analyzes the international experience with private power projects and their Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs). See the report, "Private Gain – Public Risk? The International Experience with Power Purchase Agreements of Private Power Projects"
Power Finance
A new NGO report analyzes the mechanisms through which banks and other financial institutions finance large dams in India.
Additional Information

For further information, please contact:

    Ann Kathrin Schneider, International Rivers Network
    E–mail: akschneider@irn.org
    Phone: +1 510–848–1155
    In Berlin: +49 30 214 00 88