Seanad debates

Thursday, 20 December 2018

Finance (African Development (Bank and Fund) and Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2018: Committee and Remaining Stages


1:25 pm

Photo of Michael D'ArcyMichael D'Arcy (Wexford, Fine Gael) | Oireachtas source

Central to our engagement with the banking fund is the importance Ireland places on ensuring that its operations are held to account against robust standards in terms of human rights, social, environmental, gender and governance matters. In that regard I note that the bank has in place a strong operational framework and standards, with the bank's integrated safeguard systems being the cornerstone. I note that the bank views economic and social rights as an integral part of human rights. Accordingly, the principles and values of human rights as set out in the UN and African charters of human and people's rights are firmly embedded in the bank's integrated safeguard system.

The system is a clear and integrated package of policies and procedures to address and safeguard issues that arise in development. Of note, it provides for transparency and accountability by providing a structured, systematic and managed way of allowing the concerns and voices of affected people, and in particular vulnerable populations, to be heard and addressed during project planning and implementation. I understand these independent review mechanisms cover adverse impacts in respect of environmental and social impacts, as well as labour conditions, health and safety, involuntary settlement, biodiversity, ecosystem impacts, pollution prevention and control, hazardous materials and resource efficiency.

In terms of climate and sustainability more broadly, the banking fund, along with other multilateral development banks, has committed to scaling up significantly investment in climate adaption and climate mitigation. In this regard the bank has pledged by 2020 to triple its climate financing spend to 40% of investments and to mainstream climate change and green growth initiatives into all investments. In 2017, the bank reported that 28% of all new bank approvals were allocated as climate finance and all the bank's new energy portfolio approvals were for renewables. These results are indicative of the bank and fund's commitment and ambition in the climate change area. Given its global importance, upon joining we shall push for further ambition in this regard.


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