Respect for human rights plays an important role in foreign trade promotion. In particular, projects that are supported with instruments of the Federal Government’s export promotion schemes are required to meet environmental, social and human rights standards. The Federal Government expects companies to respect the established human rights in their business dealings. The companies are asked to act in accordance with the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises (OECD Guidelines) and to comply with their due diligence duty in relation to human rights as stated in the German National Action Plan for the Implementation of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UN Guiding Principles).
Therefore the Federal Government has set high standards for the project appraisal prior to the granting of Untied Loan Guarantees.
In the course of the environmental, social and human rights impact assessment issues, such as, for example, occupational safety, health and safety of the general public, lawfulness of land acquisition and resettlement, protection of indigenous peoples, protection of cultural heritage, consultation possibilities for affected persons, labour rights (including freedom of assembly, right to trade union membership, freedom of movement, etc.), protection of minorities and other especially vulnerable groups as well as the existence of a complaints mechanism, are investigated.
In this context the reports published by the National Contact Point for the OECD Guidelines (NCP) must be taken into account in the assessment pursuant to the OECD Common Approaches. The Federal Government goes beyond these requirements by taking into account complaints already received by the NCP as well as certain incidents and problems related to these (e.g. a company’s non-participation) when appraising a project. Organisations as well as individuals can turn to the NCP if they believe that there has been a breach of the OECD Guidelines.
Environmental, Social and Human Rights Due Diligence (ESHR)
Against the background of the environmental, social and human rights risks frequently involved in them, raw material projects have to be closely examined with regard to their impacts.
The minimum prerequisite for the cover of an untied loan is that the project country’s standards are met. Furthermore, every project will be screened and categorised and reviewed in accordance with the internationally established OECD Common Approaches on the Environment and Officially Supported Export Credits (PDF). The project’s compliance with the IFC Performance Standards and the relevant World Bank/IFC Environmental Health and Safety Guidelines will be examined within the final assessment of the eligibility for cover. Besides, an Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) must usually be furnished for the review.