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ECGD told to observe human rights abroad

FOLLOWING PUBLICATION of a Mission and status review of its operating strategy, ordered by the Department of Trade & Industry last year, the Export Credit Guarantee Department has been told that its methods for assessing projects should be changed to include screening for human rights and more rigorous environmental impact assessment.

ECGD must now produce a statement of its business principles and information on how it will in future address 'sensitive issues' by the end of the year, the report says.

Pressure follows mounting criticism that ECGD's lending policy is adrift from UK foreign policy. Attacks have recently focused on contractor Balfour Beatty's application for ECGD support for construction of Turkey's proposed Ilisu dam.

'The UK has important international policies to promote sustainable development, human rights and good governance throughout the world, ' the report states.

'ECGD can support these objectives in ways that are consistent with its statutory purpose and it is appropriate that it should do so, given that it relies on the UK taxpayer to stand behind the guarantees and insurance cover it issues.

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