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Appeal to China EXIM Bank on Sino-Russian Hydropower Development

12 March 2013 Topics:

 

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To: Mr. Li Ruogu

President of China Export-Import Bank

Cc: Zhao Changhui, Chief Country Risk Analyst,

Li Fusheng, Deputy General Manager of Assessment Review

Subject: Controversial side-effects of Sino-Russian hydropower trade:

Social and Environmental Impacts of Trans-Sibirskaya

and Nizhne-Angarskaya Hydropower Projects

Date: 14.03.2013

Dear Mr. Li Ruogu,

Rivers without Boundaries is a coalition of NGOs dedicated to protecting transboundary rivers. Today, on the International Day of Action for Rivers and Against the Large Dams, we write to you to express our serious concern regarding China EXIM Bank’s support to En+ Group, that includes Eurosibenergo – a Russian energy company that, in cooperation with China Yangtze Power Co., has proposed hydropower projects in Eastern Siberia. China EXIM Bank has signed a USD5 billion agreement with En+ Group that includes the construction of these highly controversial hydro power plants (HPP). We are particularly concerned with the Trans-Sibirskaya HPP on the Shilka River and the Nizhne-Angarskaya (Motiginskaya) HPP on the Angara River. It would be prudent for China EXIM Bank to address these concerns before it enters into contracts to finance the construction of these hydropower dams.

Below are our key concerns regarding two abovementioned

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hydropower projects that Eurosibenergo is pursuing:

· Trans-Sibirskaya HPP: Located in the upper reaches of the Amur River, this project would block important migration corridor between Amur River and northern Dauria region, destroy unique Dauria floodplain ecosystems, and inundate many important historic sites and settlements. The 500 km2 reservoir would be contaminated by rotting wood and toxic substances from upstream mining complexes, decimate local fish populations, including a few endemic to the transboundary Amur-Heilong River. There has been significant opposition to this project raised by citizen groups, scientists, conservation professionals and authorities in both Russia and China. On March 12, Mr. Ilkovsky (acting governor of Zabaikalsky region in Rusia) has publically opposed the construction of Trans-Sibirskaya HPP on the Shilka River. According to him, this project will not help the region to solve existing energy and economic issues, but will only pose an additional risk on the local environment.

· Nizhne-Angarskaya HPP: The proposed project would be fifth large dam built on the Angara River, the only river flowing out of Lake Baikal, a UNESCO World Heritage Site (the integrity of the World Heritage Area continues to be a key focus of the UNESCO committee). The project threatens to destroy the habitats of valuable, endangered fish species in the Yenisei–Angara River basin. In addition, the project would prevent development of the timber industry in the Lower Angara region.

In recent years, China EXIM Bank strove to improve its public image regarding environmental and social responsibility performance. Specifically, the Bank’s Environmental Policy publication was a significant and long-awaited toward strengthening China EXIM Bank’s corporate social responsibility policy locally, and underlining the Chinese government’s national policy on sustainable development.

It is therefore unclear why, despite the risk of increased public scrutiny and criticism that would surely ensue, China EXIM Bank intends to provide financial support for an environmentally and socially harmful HPP construction project without having first conducted an adequate risk assessment or examined alternatives. We also find it unwise that to support these projects, China EXIM Bank would neglect its own Environmental Policy, overriding the “Guidelines for Environmental and Social Impact Assessments of the China EXIM Bank’s Loan Project”. In addition, we believe that the projects listed above do not comply with People’s Republic of China national policies such as the China Banking Regulatory Commission’s Green Credit Policy.

We believe the Bank’s decision to fund the harmful En+ group dams is based on a lack of environmental and social impact assessment, and an insufficient risk disclosure from the borrowers. The law of the People’s Republic of China requires that detailed environmental impact studies are made public. Chinese laws also require policy makers take public opinion into account prior to making a decision by examining and verifying comments submitted by the local population.

With this letter we hope to convince China EXIM Bank to abide by Chinese laws, follow its own published Environmental Policy, stick to the sustainable development values proclaimed by the government, and withhold financing for En+ Group’s hydropower projects until a sustainable alternative is found. We also hope this will convey a strong message regarding the importance of adhering to high corporate social responsibility standards for all joint Sino-Russian projects, – especially hydropower projects. En+ Group has launched a campaign and promoting Siberian rivers as a sustainable energy resource, but this claim is groundless, as neither HPP listed above follows any national or international sustainable development principles.

We also ask you to clarify the measures through which China EXIM Bank will monitor the risks and quality of projects that the loan supports. With regard to the EXIM Bank’s Environmental Policy, please kindly explain the screening procedure and public consultation mechanism used for decision-making when developing projects in Russia.

Please advise what information you lack to mitigate your risks in the Russian hydropower sector, and how we can help you best providing such information. We would be happy to discuss this with you in greater detail, either through written correspondence or in person.

We look forward to your response.

Sincerely,

Aliona Zenkova, Financial advocacy coordinator

Alexander Kolotov, Russian projects coordinator

Rivers without Boundaries Coalition

 

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???????????????????: Trans-Sibirskaya?Nizhne-Angarskaya??????????????

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???????Eurosibenergo???????????????????????

  • Trans-Sibirskaya ???: ?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????500????????????????????????????????/?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????3?12??Ilkovsky????????????????????????Shilka???Trans-Sibirskaya?????????????????????????????????????????????????
  • Nizhne-Angarskaya???: ???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????-??????????????????????????????????????????????????

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Aliona

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Zenkova????????

Alexander Kolotov?????????

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