Reckless Lending Volume I documents the negative impacts of several projects financed by Canada's Export Development Corporation (EDC). These publications demonstrate clearly the need to ensure that EDC, a public agency, be required by law to uphold public policies and international standards protecting human rights, the environment and the social needs of communities.
Canada’s Export Development Corporation puts people and the environment in developing countries at risk. The following case studies document some of the negative impacts of EDC-supported projects. Unlike the World Bank and the US Export Credit Agencies, EDC is not required to undertake assessments of the possible impacts on the environment, human rights or communities when, for example, a dam, a nuclear reactor or a mine is being built. The result, as these case studies show, can be disastrous.
In 1999, Amnesty International raised alarms about the killing of four indigenous people protesting a hydroelectric dam in Colombia that has devastated their food source and, if completed, would flood most of their land.
In 1998, an accident at a mine in Kyrgystan resulted in two tons of cyanide entering a river. A lack of an emergency response plan worsened the disaster, leaving two people dead and over 600 hospitalized.
In 1995, a gold mine in Guyana spilt 3.2 billion litres of cyanide and heavy metal effluent into the country’s main waterway, endangering the health of 23,000 people and killing thousands of fish.
I am the Coordinator of the Halifax Initiative. The Halifax Initiative is a coalition of 14 Canadian NGOs deeply concerned about the policies and practices of the international financial institutions. Since 1995, we have joined efforts to push for reforms at the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, reforms which will make these institutions protect human rights and the environment, reduce poverty and increase equity among people.
Debt aspects related to export credit agencies
The cancellation of Third World debt has been a rallying cry of social movements for years, gaining in volume and numbers in 2000 as a result of the global Jubilee movement. Much attention has been focused on the debts owed by poor countries to the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. However, export credit agencies collectively own more debt of Third World countries than the World Bank and the IMF combined.