Ruggie guidelines stir debate
In 2008, the UN Human Rights Council extended Special Representative John Ruggie’s mandate on business and human rights. Among other things, the Council asked Mr. Ruggie to identify “concrete and practical recommendations on ways to strengthen the fulfilment of the duty of the State to protect all human rights from abuses by or involving transnational corporations.”
Financial Transaction Tax feasible, says report
The Leading Group for Innovative Financing for Development, an inter-governmental organization gathering 55 member states, released a report on 16 July announcing the feasibility of taxing financial transactions. The report, commissioned by 12 of the group’s member states, was conducted by a team of international financial experts and focuses on foreign exchange transactions. The report finds that as currency transactions between banks are processed via high–security international systems, which collect a per transaction fee on interbank exchange, it would be relatively easy to implement a foreign exchange tax into the system. The report calculates that introducing a small tax of 0.005% would generate USD$33 billion per year, which could be used to finance development activities such as poverty reduction and sustainable development.
Mr. Steve Tvardik
Head, Export Credits
Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development
Dear Mr. Tvardik,
Thank you for the opportunity to provide comments on the on-going review of the Sector Understanding on Export Credits for Renewable Energies and Water Projects (Sector Understanding) by the Participants to the Arrangement on Officially Supported Export Credits (Participants).
We have outlined our comments starting with our overall concern about ECA financing of fossil fuels and then following this up with specific inputs to sections of the Sector Understanding. It ends with a short conclusion bringing together the main issues to concentrate on.
Overall Issue: The need to end fossil fuel financing
Government accountability bill returns to the House
On March 3, the Governor General will open a new session of Parliament, ending the recess created when the Harper government prorogued the previous session in December. All legislation that was under consideration at that time was extinguished, with the exception of private members’ bills, which return to the House, unscathed. These bills begin anew at whichever stage of the legislative process they had reached before the plug was pulled on Parliament.
CSOs push for Common Approaches revamp
Members of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) are currently reviewing a 2007 Council Recommendation regarding export credit agency (ECA) operations. The Recommendation on Common Approaches on the Environment and Officially Supported Export Credits (Common Approaches) is a “gentlemen’s agreement” that seeks to establish a level playing field regarding ECA environmental practice. CSOs argue that the Recommendation’s impact is undermined by the lack of effective accountability mechanisms to ensure consistent and effective application by member governments.
OECD, Export Credit Division, Trade Directorate
2, rue André-Pascal
Paris Cedex 16 - France
Brussels, 12 January 2010.
Further to your letter of December 2009, you will find below the elements that ECA-Watch and Amnesty International would like to see addressed and revised in the review of the 2007 Revised Council Recommendation on Common Approaches on the Environment and Officially Supported Export Credits (Common Approaches). We believe that the 2010 Common Approaches Review must consider these issues in order to improve ECA standards and practices and to meet the objectives set out in the Recommendation.