How do we engage with stakeholders?
The manner in which the EBRD engages with stakeholders helps us to improve our environmental and social policies and evaluate the impact of our work on daily lives. We also ask our client to proactively engage with their own stakeholders in order to maximise benefits and ensure that the potential impacts of a project are fully understood by all parties.
- Engagement with civil society
- International cooperation
- Environmental and Social Advisory Council
- Our internal performance
ENGAGEMENT WITH CIVIL SOCIETY
The EBRD continued to engage actively with civil society organisations (CSOs) in countries where it invests throughout 2015. Our engagement with CSOs includes, but is not limited to, the following:
- disclosure of information, outreach and formal consultations on the development of the Bank’s policies, strategies and projects in line with the Bank’s Public Information Policy
- ongoing informal dialogue, ranging from technical discussions related to projects to high-level dialogue with the Bank’s senior management or the President, as well as the Board Directors
- cooperation through capacity-building technical cooperation projects.
A vibrant civil society is an essential component of any democracy. We recognise CSOs as important stakeholders that can promote local ownership of the transition process towards well-governed, sustainable and inclusive economies. In addition, our engagement with CSOs enhances the Bank’s own accountability and transparency. Through their valuable local knowledge, CSOs also often help us deliver better projects and policies in transition countries.
We are committed to engaging in a manner that helps civil society participate in the Bank’s strategic decision-making, and are always trying to find better and more innovative ways to engage with CSOs.
In 2015 we enhanced our engagement with CSOs in several ways. We scaled up our Civil Society Capacity Building Framework which aims to improve awareness and capacity among CSOs in relation to specific projects, enhance policy dialogue and help establish a stronger cooperation between the Bank, private sector companies, public utilities and CSOs.
Communications has also been a priority in 2015, with the development of a reference manual “Understanding the EBRD: A Guide for Civil Society on the Work and Practices of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development” to provide CSOs with a concise overview of the Bank. This will be published in 2016, to coincide with the launch of a new consultation hub, a project also developed in 2015 to facilitate our continuous two-way dialogue with civil society.
In 2015, more than 3,100 CSO representatives were registered with the EBRD and nearly 500 civil society stakeholders participated in over 40 thematic meetings and events that the Bank organised.
2015 Civil Society Programme
The EBRD Civil Society Programme took place on 14-15 May in Tbilisi, Georgia, with a record number of 144 civil society participants from 18 countries.
This flagship event featured a series of discussion sessions between civil society representatives and the Bank’s senior management on specific investment projects and policy dialogue activities, as well as with the Board of Directors and the President on the EBRD’s key strategic directions.
Discussions focused on the EBRD’s investments in the energy sector and natural resources, transparency, accountability, and human rights issues in a number of countries. A special facilitated discussion panel on the economic inclusion of youth concluded that private sector employers, schools and universities, as well as civil society, should join forces to address the problem of youth unemployment. Panellists agreed that the skills mismatch in the labour market is a major challenge for businesses across the EBRD regions. They stressed that investing in the development of young people’s professional skills could bring significant economic return for private sector companies, while helping them better adapt to a changing global environment.
The Civil Society Programme is held every year at the EBRD’s Annual Meeting but what made 2015’s event different was that CSOs were given the chance to actively design the programme. CSOs were invited to make suggestions for discussion topics via social media to cover EBRD projects, initiatives or other political, socio-economic or environmental issues in the countries where the Bank invests.
Another new feature of the 2015 Civil Society Programme was that CSOs had the opportunity to run a thematic panel themselves on an issue of specific interest to the Caucasus region and the EBRD. We sent out a call for proposals and 17 bids were submitted by CSOs. The winner was a panel, “Effective Local Stakeholder Partnerships to Improve Road Safety”, by the Eastern Alliance for Safe and Sustainable Transport, together with the Partnership for Road Safety Georgia, the National Road Safety Council NGO Armenia and HAYAT NGO Azerbaijan. The Programme also included roundtables with high-level officials, such as the Deputy Mayor of Tbilisi and the first Deputy Minister of Environment and Natural Resources Protection in Georgia.
Disclosure of information and outreach
Regional outreach event on Independent Accountability Mechanisms (IAMs)
Over 30 CSO representatives from 13 EBRD member countries participated in a two-day workshop in Istanbul to share information about IAMs and exchange views and experiences. Participants discussed how the submission of complaints can help promote accountability in projects that affect local communities and mitigate any negative impacts. The event was hosted by the EBRD’s Project Complaint Mechanism and it included the World Bank Group’s Inspection Panel and Office of the Compliance Advisor Ombudsman, as well as the EIB’s Complaints Mechanism and the Black Sea Trade and Development Bank’s Complaints Mechanism.
Enhancing information disclosure
Since May 2015, the EBRD has taken significant steps forward in terms of transparency. We now start by publishing data on EBRD operations in line with the standards of the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI), which provides common definitions and publishing standards for the activities of a number of institutions – including the EBRD and other development finance institutions (DFIs) – and thus improves access to information about their work. The EBRD has also made public our IATI implementation schedule, in line with the agreed standards for DFIs and international financial institutions (IFIs).
Throughout 2015 the Bank continued to incorporate input from CSOs in its decision-making, at the strategic level and during periodic reviews of policies. At the country level, as has been our practice for several years, we consulted with civil society early in the process, wherever possible, to ensure the broadest spectrum of perspectives is integrated into strategy concepts. In particular, we engaged proactively through consultation meetings with CSOs during pre-drafting stages of the preparation of country strategies for Albania and Turkey. CSOs were also invited to provide written comments on all country strategies reviewed during 2016, namely Morocco, the Kyrgyz Republic, Cyprus, Bulgaria, Romania, Turkey, Tajikistan, Armenia, Albania, Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia.
We invited civil society feedback on our Gender Strategy, which was adopted in December 2015. The Bank held seven public meetings with 142 attendees, plus 19 bilateral meetings with development agencies, IFIs and industry associations.
The EBRD has invited civil society to comment on the review of its Financial Sector Strategy for 2016-2020. Although the CSO feedback was limited, the strategy was nevertheless amended to elaborate on comments received from a CSO about climate change and green finance mechanisms.
From technical discussions with EBRD staff to high-level dialogue with senior management, the President and the Board of Directors, we continued to provide a wide range of opportunities for an exchange of views with civil society in 2015, both in London and in the countries where the EBRD invests.
In Baku, Azerbaijan, EBRD President Sir Suma Chakrabarti discussed a range of issues with local civil society representatives, from democracy and human rights to transparency in the extractive industries and economic diversification. In Ankara, Turkey, a meeting between the President and senior CSO representatives took place with a focus on human rights, civic participation, gender equality and environmental issues. He also met with local CSOs in Minsk and international CSOs working in Belarus to discuss recent political and socio-economic developments in the country, as well as the Bank’s calibrated approach and its operational priorities in the country.
Civil society representatives met with EBRD Board Directors in Hungary, Jordan, Mongolia, the Slovak Republic and Ukraine to discuss developments in the civil society landscape, progress in the fields of human rights, anti-corruption and democracy, as well as regional development challenges. Another meeting between Board Directors and international CSOs took place at the EBRD’s London Headquarters to discuss CSOs’ concerns in the run-up to the EBRD Annual Meeting in Tbilisi.
The EBRD’s Chief Compliance Officer met with representatives of local CSOs in Kazakhstan and Romania to hear their views on corporate governance, transparency, accountability and the rule of law, as well as to advise CSOs how the Bank is implementing its commitment to promoting the highest standards of integrity, corporate governance and transparency in all its activities.
In 2015 the EBRD engaged in dialogue with international and local CSOs on around 40 investment projects in some 20 countries across a variety of sectors.
Over the past two years, the Bank’s traditional engagement with civil society has advanced to a new level through the development of the Civil Society Capacity Building Framework. Through the framework, technical cooperation funds are used to raise awareness and transfer knowledge and skills to local CSOs in three areas, in line with the Bank’s strategic priorities: sustainable energy and resources; economic inclusion; and investment climate and governance.
The framework represents a truly proactive approach in the Bank’s cooperation with CSOs. By recognising civil society as a partner in achieving the Bank’s mandate, the framework fosters cooperation between CSOs, the EBRD and its clients in relation to projects and policy dialogue activities and thereby also enhances the Bank’s own transparency and accountability.
Going forward we will take this cooperation with CSOs further by adapting and upgrading the framework. Projects will be scaled up regionally, with CSO capacity building integrated, whenever possible, early into the design of investment projects and tailored for specific sectors and strategic initiatives, such as in the Bank’s Investment Climate and Governance Initiative (ICGI) and the Green Economy Transition (GET).
International cooperation related to CSO engagement
The Bank’s Civil Society Engagement Unit (CSEU) has continued to establish close ties with its counterparts in other IFIs and IOs, including climate finance partners, in order to enhance civil society engagement in our work on tackling sustainable development challenges and promoting transparency, such as the Network of United Nations Civil Society Focal Points.
We have engaged with the Global Environmental Facility, the Climate Investment Funds on an institutional as well as a project level and the EBRD became an accredited entity of the Green Climate Fund. We participated in the latest GEF CSO consultation meeting in October 2015 in Washington DC and are also part of the GEF Working Group on Public Involvement.
We also took part in the latest meeting of the IFI Working Group on Information Disclosure and Stakeholder Engagement in Luxembourg in October 2015 hosted by the European Investment Bank, where our intervention focused on the Civil Society Capacity Building Framework.
Lastly, the CSEU, alongside the EBRD’s Small Business Support team, became an observer in the Group of Experts of the European Commission on Social Entrepreneurship (GECES).
The EBRD’s priority is to facilitate and re-energise transition and support economic reforms by encouraging broader and more sustainable change. CSOs will continue to play an important role in this mandate.
In the area of economic inclusion, EBRD projects will aim to increase economic opportunities for youth and rural communities. We want to empower local service-providing CSOs in their role as the bridge between citizens and other stakeholders in society, such as local and central authorities and businesses.
Good governance will be promoted through enhancing the capacity of CSOs, think-tanks, academia and business associations for consultation and helping to set integrity standards, the provision of expert input into policy-making processes, and for the facilitation of multi-stakeholder dialogue.
Lastly, the EBRD’s continued partnership with CSOs in the area of sustainable energy and resources will help to address common global and regional challenges, particularly the Sustainable Development Goals which the EBRD participated in devising and delivering with a number of MDBs and the IMF in July 2015.
The EBRD continues to play a prominent role in international efforts to address climate change. 2015 has proved to be a crucial year for global development, one in which the world’s leaders have taken historic decisions about our sustainable future – and how it will be funded.
EBRD President Suma Chakrabarti chaired talks at the Delhi Sustainable Development Summit in February 2015, which focused on the key global development goals for the year, ahead of COP21 in Paris in December. The President also attended and spoke at a side event for heads of multilateral development banks (MDBs) at the Addis Ababa Financing for Development conference in July, when world leaders met to discuss how to mobilise and channel resources for sustainable development.
That month we also joined other multilateral development banks in contributing to Fin4Dev, an online platform aimed at provoking debate about and enhancing understanding of sustainable development.
At the United Nations General Assembly in New York in September, world leaders endorsed new Sustainable Development Goals, which were endorsed by leaders of MDBs, including the EBRD. The SDGs overlap with core areas of the EBRD’s operations and with its strategic priorities. As an MDB specialised in working with the private sector, the EBRD is well-placed to support the delivery of an agenda in which private firms will play a key role.
The Bank, together with the United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEPFI), hosted a global energy efficiency finance forum in Istanbul in September 2015, attended by representatives from over 70 IFIs who endorsed a joint statement pledging to further integrate energy efficiency investments into both their own operations and those of their clients.
Following the COP21 conference in Paris in December 2015, the EBRD is fully committed to playing its role in ensuring the successful implementation of the historic Paris Climate Change Agreement.
Through our investments, we will support the countries of our region to implement their Intended Nationally Determined Contributions under the COP21 Accord. The sustained focus of the EBRD’s investment is on energy efficiency improvement in cities, industries and utilities where the fastest reduction in carbon emissions can be achieved. We are also increasing our activity in climate adaptation financing.
The Paris Agreement places a major emphasis on the transfer of finance to support climate investments in emerging and developing economies. It provides a good basis for developing further international consensus as well as capacity- and trust-building in tackling global warming.
The EBRD will contribute to this undertaking by applying its own successful track record in attracting private finance and expertise in its own investments in order to maintain a strong flow of funding.
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 2015 the Council provided advice on the adoption of environmental and social performance indicators for projects, as well as reviewing the lessons learned to date from the EBRD’s Project Complaints Mechanism.
The Council also provided advice on the development of the EBRD’s Gender Strategy. For the latter ESAC members congratulated the Bank on the success achieved so far and encouraged the EBRD to be bold in its approach and to align itself with ongoing global initiatives, including the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
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 (HQ) from renewable energy suppliers. Office paper is certified by the Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC) as coming from sustainable sources.
The 2015 EBRD Annual Meeting held in Tbilisi was carbon neutral. In fact, it was one of the first major carbon-neutral events in Georgia. We compensated for the environmental impact by purchasing the event’s carbon emissions equivalent in carbon credits from the Enguri hydropower plant (HPP).
We also purchased 50 recycling bins from a local NGO, COOP, which were used during the event to ensure any waste was recycled. These bins were donated to different state schools in Georgia after the event to continue promoting recycling and sustainability.
|EBRD HQ consumption and recycling figures||2015||2014||2013|
|Water (thousands m3)1||47.9||52.2||75.5|
|Energy CO2 emissions (kT)2||7.8||7.8||8.2|
|Travel CO2 emissions (kT)||7.1||6.0||5.5|
|Printer paper consumption (millions of sheets)||12.2||12.6||13.6|
|Printer paper consumption (tonnes)||59.1||58.1||63.0|
|Paper recycling (tonnes)||112.4||185.4||51.7|