The first edition of a review that describes the IDB’s progress in promoting social and environmental sustainability in its member countries in Latin America and the Caribbean was launched April 25 at a reception at the Bank attended by government officials, members of nongovernmental organizations, Bank board members and senior managers, and the press.
The Sustainability Review 2005 contains detailed information on new Bank policy initiatives as well as actions the institution is taking to address environmental and social issues in IDB-financed projects. It also describes steps the Bank is taking to reduce its own environmental impact and improve diversity within its own staff.
“Sustainability must be a fundamental guiding principle for the IDB,” said Bank President Luis Alberto Moreno at the event. “I’m happy to say that we’ve taken some important steps to that end.”
Moreno highlighted the recent approval of the IDB’s Environment and Safeguards Compliance Policy, which will help the Bank to better identify and reduce environmental impacts of its projects. Similarly, a new Policy on Indigenous People will serve as a cornerstone in helping the Bank to promote development of indigenous communities while enabling them to preserve their identity.
“As we help countries to improve their infrastructure, for example, we will apply the strictest environmental and social standards to safeguard our region’s immense natural, social and cultural resources and heritage,” Moreno said.
The IDB president also emphasized the Bank’s commitment to increase investments in clean energy and efforts to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions. He noted that the Bank recently took a pilot step in that regard by holding a “carbon neutral” annual meeting earlier this month in the Brazilian city of Belo Horizonte, the first such initiative by a development bank. In the meeting, the participants’ energy use for travel, hotels and other activities was offset by an IDB-financed project to promote biofuels in a rural community in the Brazilian state of Tocantins.
At the briefing the President announced the formation of a Greening the Bank task force that will set targets for recycling and resource efficiency.
The Sustainability Review 2005 is considered an initial effort to assemble a baseline of data that will be expanded and refined in coming years. A full-fledged report documenting commitments and compliance will be produced by 2008. “This present review is an outline of what is to come,” said Moreno. We are proud of these new policies and accomplishments, but it is clear to us that we need to do more."
Moreno praised the Bank’s Board of Executive Directors for encouraging the production of the Sustainability Review and acknowledged help from the World Bank and the International Finance Corporation in sharing their own experiences. He also recognized the special contribution of nongovernmental organizations based in Washington and throughout the region. “We remain thankful for your support, your constructive criticisms and your inputs into our policies and programs,” he said.