EFFORTS TO monitor the effectiveness of Britain's export credit guarantee agency ECGD are hampered by its failure to provide environmental impact information, MPs have warned.
The Commons environmental audit committee criticised the agency for allowing companies involved in projects it backs to be too secretive about them.
ECGD is the government agency responsible for insuring loans for British built projects abroad. It was ordered by the government three years ago to adopt a more 'ethical' approach to projects.
This followed protests over its support for schemes such as the proposed Ilisu Dam in Turkey (NCEI October 2000).
ECGD has since provided project descriptions, details about project clients and UK companies applying for credit guarantees.
But the committee's report says that 'no indication of the environmental or social impacts of the projects is included. This severely hampers systematic analysis of ECGD's performance', the report says.
'Companies have the right to expect ECGD to treat information which is commercially sensitive in a confidential manner but the onus should be on ECGD's clients to demonstrate the need for confidentiality, ' says the report.
'Requests for confidentiality should be tested against rigorous criteriaà A high degree of disclosure should become a condition of ECGD support, especially information regarding social and environmental impacts, ' the report adds.