PBI-Canada regrets human rights defenders not included at Finance in Common Summit
Peace Brigades International-Canada believes that human rights defenders should have been included at the Finance in Common Summit (November 9-12) and that a presentation by FinDev Canada on gender equality at the summit could have benefitted from the participation of women human rights defenders.
On November 11, The Guardian reported: “The world’s publicly financed development banks have pledged to tie together their efforts to rescue the global economy from the Covid-19 crisis and the climate emergency [but] stopped short of pledging an end to fossil fuel finance in a declaration signed on Thursday by 450 development banks worldwide.”
The Government of Canada’s export credit agency, Export Development Canada (EDC), provides on average nearly $14 billion a year to oil and gas companies.
Hundreds of millions of dollars of EDC financing has gone to Canadian companies in Colombia, including Frontera Energy. PBI-Colombia accompanied CSPP and COSPACC have drawn attention to the criminalization of eight social leaders, including two women, opposed to Frontera’s operations in San Luis de Palenque, Casanare.
Anne-Marie Levesque, Head of Gender and Impact at FinDev Canada, is scheduled to speak at this summit on November 12.
FinDev Canada is a wholly owned subsidiary of Export Development Canada with a mandate “to provide financial services to the private sector in developing countries with the aim of combating poverty through economic growth.”
Levesque will be speaking at High Level Event 7 titled: Development Banks as Actors for Change Towards Gender Equality.
The summit program notes: “The panel will address the role and impact of development banks in the achievement of gender equality described in [Sustainable Development Goal 5] and in the promotion of inclusive and sustainable finance for gender responsive policies.”
It adds: “A presentation of a field study on gender equality within [the International Finance Development Club] will illustrate this commitment, as well as concrete examples of the financing of gender and climate justice.”
Prior to the summit, PBI signed this letter that highlighted: “In many instances, PDB supported activities have exacerbated poverty and inequality and human rights abuses such as reprisals against human rights defenders and forced evictions, without meaningful redress for affected communities.”
We recommended: “It is a matter of priority to have human rights defenders and communities directly impacted by PDB activities at the table.”
That was followed by this statement from several United Nations Special Rapporteurs, including David R. Boyd from Canada, that echoed the call that summit organizers should create a space for human rights defenders at this conference.
PBI-Canada regrets that space was not created for human rights defenders, women environmental human rights defenders and affected communities to meaningfully participate in and provide input to the Finance in Common Summit.
Given the high level of financing provided to fossil fuel companies by Canadian public development banks we further draw attention to this major study by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature released earlier this year that found that climate change is increasing gender-based violence and that there are numerous examples of violence against women environmental human rights defenders.
Photo: Two of the defenders criminalized for their opposition to Toronto-based Frontera Energy in San Luis de Palenque, Casanare, Colombia.