The last time civil society groups met with you in person during the 2013 EBRD annual meetings in Istanbul, we agreed that there would be disagreementsahead. It was a warning not to expect a very ambitious Energy Sector Strategy, and during those two days of discussions, civil society participants heard a number of excuses about why the imperative to end EBRD financing for coal and other fossil fuels could not be realised in our region.
We now turn to you after a week of consultation meetings in Istanbul, Belgrade and Moscow with EBRD staff and other civil society groups, as we believe that some of our concerns deserve your attention. On each occasion participants submitted a petition to the EBRD signed by 16 725 people from around the world, amplifying the call for the EBRD to phase out fossil fuels from its portfolio, beginning with coal. This is a clear sign that interest in and criticism of the EBRD’s energy investments are broader than the few civil society groups that have traditionally shown interest in the bank and its operation. It is also a reminder that the EBRD risks falling behind similar financial institutions on its climate commitments.