Financial Institutions Meet with NGOs in Zurich

Zurich - 28 March 2005

Eighteen financial institutions which have adopted the Equator Principles met in Zurich on 4 February 2005 with 17 NGOs interested in how these institutions are implementing the Equator Principles. Credit Suisse hosted the meeting. The agenda was built around topics including NGO involvement, disclosure and reporting, and the Equator Principles' website which were identified at a prior meeting held between financial institutions and NGOs in London in July 2004. A financial institution/NGO working group had discussed these issues prior to the meeting. In addition, a financial institution presented an overview of the life cycle of a project finance transaction, illustrating when financial institutions typically become involved. Finally, at the request of the NGOs, a consultant to several of them presented NGO views on the IFC's proposed Performance Standards which will replace the Safeguard Policies on which the Equator Principles are based. At the conclusion of the meeting, the financial institution representatives and the NGO representatives agreed on a list of next steps. One of the priorities for the next few months will be participation with the IFC as it develops the Performance Standards. The financial institutions and NGOs agreed to continue constructive dialogue on these issues of mutual interest, including exploring ways the NGOs can engage directly with the IFC and ways the IFC can encourage this.