Banking on Conservation

The World Conservation Union (IUCN) and the European Investment Bank (EIB) signed a historical framework for cooperation on strengthening awareness about nature when financing investment projects.

This is a first concrete commitment from the conference on Biodiversity in European Development Cooperation, organized by the World Conservation Union in Paris from 19-21 September 2006. The conference is gathering more than 350 participants from the development cooperation and environment communities to integrate biodiversity into EU development cooperation.

This new framework for cooperation between the European Union's major lending institution and the world's largest conservation network is a big step forward on incorporating biodiversity concerns into the banking sector, said Ibrahim Thiaw, Acting Director of the World Conservation Union.
Our MoU expresses the determination of two very different organizations to cooperate to optimize their contribution to biodiversity conservation and sustainable development said Simon Brooks, EIB Vice President.

The EIB's role is to finance capital investment promoting European Union (EU) economic policy objectives. As an EU institution the EIB is committed to protection and improvement of the environment and to promote mitigation measures where projects impact on nature. The new framework, the EIB's first ever framework agreement with an environmental organisation, aims at strengthening the EIB's screening of biodiversity issues in projects it finances through joint consultation, advice and capacity building.

The new framework for cooperation outlines the following activities:

  • Consultation and advice on biodiversity concerns in investment project: The World Conservation Union will provide advice on EIB's initiatives, policies and strategies impacting on the diversity of life on earth. Examples could include reviews of guidelines on due diligence, such as environmental impact assessments, and provision of expert advice on biodiversity issues when evaluating projects.
  • Capacity Building: the World Conservation Union will assist in the EIB's in-house training and awareness building on impact assessments and integration of biodiversity concerns, conservation-related concerns and/or mitigation measures into proposed projects.
  • Monitoring: The Union will provide assistance to the EIB at the EIB's request in the appraisal of projects the Bank is considering, and with the monitoring of environmental biodiversity aspects of financed projects.
  • Exchange of information: Maintenance of regular contacts to develop joint initiatives and exchange information to strengthen efforts to manage biodiversity issues consistently on a long term basis, including the support of studies and other actions of mutual interest.

About the European Investment Bank (EIB)

The European Investment Bank's role is to finance capital investment promoting European Union (EU) economic policy objectives. While it finances projects mainly within the European Union, it also supports investment in other regions within the framework of the EU's development aid and cooperation policies. The EIB has published its approach to environmental issues in its Environmental Statement (2004) and is a founder signatory of the European Principles for the Environment. The EIB's headquarters are in Luxembourg.

About the World Conservation Union

The World Conservation Union is the world's largest and most important conservation network. Originally founded in October 1948, its mission is to influence, encourage and assist societies throughout the world to conserve the integrity and diversity of nature and to ensure that any use of natural resources is equitable and ecologically sustainable. The priority of the Union's current Programme (2005-2008) is to build recognition of the many ways in which human lives and livelihoods, especially of the poor, depend on the sustainable management of natural resources. (