Jubilee Debt Campaign Birmingham

More Information asked from the Government ECGD by Birmingham member

Posted on: May 30, 2011

Over the years  we have often asked for students and visitors from “the south “ and in particular those  from indebted countries to come to our meeting and talk about  their own country.

At our last meeting on May 18th Moses who is from Fiji came and listened to some very passionate exchanges by local campaigners.

Here he shares his view from the back row of our meeting.

“Its really promising that support exists in both Houses of Parliament on the need to attack toxic debt. Thanks to work already done by London staff and local JDC members.

What bugs me however is the way ECGD works.  I don’t know what the bill’s intention but if it does not ensure the change that ECGD needs to stop the creation of unnecessary debt, we may miss desired outcome of our campaign.

Some projects that ECGD underwrite are basically hazardous to the environment and are damaging s to human rights So UK’s rhetoric on the environment and rights of people especially the poor is rather shallow and does not really measure to what the country does in practice.

Campaigners may widely understand and agree that the past practice of allowing UK business/multi-nationals to pursue projects in developing countries with extensive ECGD cover is dangerous. Yes it is when not reviewed and effectively scrutinised.

Transparency and accountability of ECGD decision-making should be demanded if a sustainable impact on UK’s toxic debt dilemma is achieved.

Is the ECGD obliged to consider ethical issues of humans and the environment when underwriting projects?

Does it have any influence over the kind of projects that UK companies sign before they are under-taken?

Who scrutinizes this and is it effectively monitored?

I may be ignorant here but I sense that overhauling the system that creates toxic debt in the first place is as important as writing them off. Always best to attack the root cause and support in the House of Lords and House of Commons must be exploited for this. Simply, its time to bring the ECGD and the Business Secretary under the ethical lens”



1 Response to "More Information asked from the Government ECGD by Birmingham member"

Thanks Moses. Yes the Bill imn Parliament would lead to a complete overhaul of the way the ECGD works. I agree that there’s not much point in cancelling debts if they’re going to be run up again. So the bill would much much more transparency, as well as environmental and social criteria which are properly implemented and companies sanctioned when they fail to adopt the standards. We also don’t believe the ECGD should create debt – we don’t see any need for counter-guarantees if insurance premiums are set at an appropriate rate.

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