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    On Tuesday 4 February 2020, the European Investment Bank’s (EIB) Board of Directors met with a large number of civil society organisations during their annual seminar. This event is a key pillar of the Bank’s stakeholder engagement. It is the only forum where members of the EIB Board of Directors meet with external stakeholders.

    Common ambitions

    The seminar was opened by EIB President Werner Hoyer. He set the tone by emphasising that, when it comes to the big picture, civil society organisations and the EIB are aligned. The positive outcome of the public consultation on the Bank’s Energy Lending Policy (ELP) that will see the EIB ending financing of unabated fossil fuel projects by the end of 2021, illustrates this. During the day, civil society representatives repeatedly praised the Bank for this decision.

    The multiple benefits of open, transparent and constructive engagement with civil society were also at the heart of the announcements made by the Secretary General and Director Generals. Having reviewed the Bank’s achievements since the last meeting, they announced that the Bank will engage extensively with civil society in 2020.

    In today’s global environmental context, investment in marginal efficiency gains are dead-end street and tomorrow’s stranded assets

    • Hans Bruyninckx – European Environment Agency

    Addressing the critical decade ahead

    During the first thematic session, participants were invited to explore how the EU Climate Bank can support the European Green Deal in practice. 

    Civil society organisations called on the Bank to keep the momentum of the ELP public consultation to play a leading role in helping other Multilateral Development Banks, public and private banks, as well as its clients in their own transition.

    They also highlighted that addressing the critical decade ahead will require going beyond climate action and the energy sector and having a comprehensive approach. The key message was that truly sustainable investments must catalyse transformative change, align with sustainability, and be socially just. 



    European Green Deal session

    Numerous aspects of the Bank’s long-term climate and environmental strategies were discussed such as the type of investments in specific sectors (i.e. transport, heavy industries), new investment opportunities (i.e. decommissioning of infrastructures), and expanding the Climate Awareness Bonds issuance. 

    It is important to invest in people and their own capacities, invest in their local resources and materials, which have long-term economic, social and environmental benefits

    • Mito Tsukamoto – ILO

    Materialising untapped potential

    The second thematic session looked at the positive effects on development of protecting and promoting quality employment.

    One of the key challenges identified was that the Bank’s investments take place within local institutional settings that largely condition the possibility of quality employment. The discussions identified how the EIB’s labour-related standards can be used as a reference point to develop ambitious initiatives, particularly in relation with gender equality and empowerment. The involvement of civil society in the fine-tuning of these initiatives was seen as especially valuable.


    Development session

    Additional key challenges for quality employment were also discussed such as the impact of digitalisation on the labour force, the specific approaches required in fragile states, and the consideration given to the sustainability of jobs in relation with the consequences of climate change and the transition to low carbon economies.

    The EIB has the opportunity to set the gold standard in terms of climate strategy and Paris Agreement alignment amongst development banks.

    • Sonia Dunlop – E3G

    Working together

    Opened by the EIB’s President, the Policy Dialogue Session was the final pillar of the day and reflected the large diversity of civil society organisations in the room. A high number of Board Members listened to civil society’s suggestions and answered their questions which covered many topics, from deforestation to working with financial intermediaries and from promoting urban cycling infrastructures to implementing a just transition toward a carbon neutral economy.

    Among the topics that received the most attention were the alignment of the Bank’s Climate Strategy with the objectives of the Paris Agreement, the Human Rights dimension of the Bank’s assessment of potential projects, and the evaluation of the impact and additionality of the Banks’ activities.


    Policy Dialogue

    These exchanges gave the opportunity to the Board to clarify its role and responsibilities as well as the one of the Bank as a policy taker not a policy maker. Board Members also reiterated the value for the Bank of engaging with civil society and their appreciation of such a seminar.

    The EIB would like to thank all the participants for their continued engagement and the meaningful exchanges that took place during the day. The bank also would like to invite civil society to take part in the next seminar with the Board of Directors in early 2021.