IFC, EIB, IIC Make Few Concessions on Disclosure About Private Sector Projects

16 November 2005

Three of the major international lenders with a mandate to finance private sector projects with public interest benefits are making few concessions to transparency.

Pro-disclosure campaigns are underway to achieve better outcomes in ongoing disclosure policy reviews being conducted by the European Investment Bank and the World Bank’s private sector lending arm, the International Finance Corporation. And in October the Inter-American Investment Corporation revised its disclosure policy.

After examining draft policies issued for comment by the EIB and the IFC, pro-disclosure advocates are finding fault with the limited amount of information made available about proposed projects both before and after approval, among other things. Both institutions offer broad latitude for applicants to exempt information from disclosure. Also at issue is how much material will be released about the monitoring and supervision of projects.

Regarding the IFC, concerns exist over plans to devolve disclosure obligations to the applicants under general guidelines, allowing the borrowers to disclose "relevant" information. The IFC does not propose that borrowers release a pre-approval draft of the "Action Plan" that stipulates their commitments to address social and environmental issues.

Unlike the Asian Development Bank, which this year decided to release a summary of the recommendation sent to its board about private sector projects, neither the IFC nor the EIB plan to make such materials available after a project is approved.

The EIB and IFC proposals are still subject to public comment, and formal comments are just beginning to be submitted. Information on the EIB process is available here. The IFC review, involving not only disclosure, but also 9 other related policies, such as the handling of environmental reviews, is highlighted here. The IIC proposal is not obviously available on the IIC website. A copy was provided to freedominfo.org.

By Toby McIntosh

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Filed under: IFTI Watch


In this column, Washington, D.C.-based journalist Toby J. McIntosh reports on the latest developments in information disclosure in International Financial and Trade Institutions (IFTI).
Contact: freeinfo@gwu.edu or
1-(703) 276-7748