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Summary of Specific Instance Complaint to the United States National Contact Point against Marsh regarding its support for the East African Crude Oil Pipeline

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On February 7, 2023, 10 Ugandan and Tanzanian organizations and Inclusive Development International brought a complaint to the United States National Contact Point for the OECD Guidelines on Multinational Enterprises (‘the US NCP’). The complaint outlines failures by the U.S.-based insurance broker firm Marsh, part of the Marsh McLennan Group, to meet the standards of the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises (‘OECD Guidelines’) in relation to its reported role as insurance broker for the construction phase of the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (‘EACOP’).

The full complaint document is not disclosed, per the confidentiality provisions of the US NCP operating  procedures. This document summarizes the key points of the complaint and provides background information on the OECD, US NCP, and the complaint procedure. The Ugandan and Tanzanian complainants are choosing to remain anonymous due to the security risks associated with filing this complaint.

Adverse Impacts associated with the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP)
The EACOP is expected to cause—and in many instances, is already causing—extensive and severe adverse human rights and environmental impacts, which the project sponsors have failed to adequately address, prevent and mitigate. These include:1

• Improper land acquisition without adequate safeguards: The project’s land acquisition process is being carried out in a manner inconsistent with human rights and international standards, with adverse impacts being exacerbated rather than mitigated. Communities have reported coercion in the land acquisition and valuation process; have faced hardship due to delayed compensation and restrictions
on the use of their land; and report having received inadequate compensation for their acquired land and assets.

• Security risks and impacts: There are numerous reports of intimidation, harassment, security threats and arbitrary arrests of community members, environmental and human rights defenders, and journalists critical of the project.

• Failure to adequately consult local communities: The complaint points to detailed testimony from local communities that demonstrates a failure by the project sponsors to meaningfully consult affected people, including by failing to provide local communities with information on the project’s risks and providing misleading information about the potential economic benefits.

• Impacts to natural resources: EACOP would put vital freshwater resources at risk from oil spills. The pipeline route traverses numerous lakes, rivers and wetlands, including the Lake Victoria basin,

See  the Assessment of the EACOP and Associated Facilities’ Compliance with the Equator Principles and IFC Performance Standards,  pproduced by Inclusive Development International, BankTrack, and African Institute for Energy Governance (July 2022). See also the community-based reviews of the human rights impact of EACOP by Oxfam and others, Empty Promises Down the Line? A Human Rights Impact Assessment of the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (September 2020) and by Les Amis de la Terre and Survie, A Nightmare Named Total (October 2020) and EACOP: A Disaster in the Making (October 2022), and the preliminary environmental and socio-economic
threat analysis for EACOP conducted by WWF Safeguarding people & nature in the East Africa crude oil pipeline project (July 2017).

which supports 40 million people in the region. The pipeline also risks contaminating the high-quality groundwater relied upon by millions for consumption. In addition, the construction and operation of EACOP will threaten agricultural land, forests and wetlands relied on for farming, energy for cooking, construction materials, medicine and cultural goods.

• Impacts to ecosystems and protected areas: The EACOP would cause, and is already causing, immense and irreversible harm to local ecosystems and habitats, including from the clearing of land for construction and the risk of oil spills or leaks. In particular, the pipeline threatens to irreversibly impact a number of legally protected and/or internationally recognized wildlife areas along its route and off the coast of Tanzania.

Climate impacts: The full value chain emissions of EACOP is expected to reach 379 million metrictons of CO2 over the pipeline’s 25-year operational lifetime.2 As such, the project poses unacceptable climate risks, which are fundamentally incompatible with the Paris Agreement and a pathway to limit warming to 1.5°C.

The Complainants submit that many of the most egregious impacts associated the project are inherent to the project and are therefore impossible to adequately mitigate. The EACOP is a fundamentally unsustainable and untenable project that should not proceed.

Marsh’s role in enabling the project to proceed
In May 2022, The Bureau of Investigative Journalism and Financial Times reported that Marsh had secured the contract to serve as insurance broker for the construction phase of the EACOP.3 In its role as broker, Marsh is tasked with arranging insurance for the pipeline. The company pursued this contract despite internal resistance from the corporate group’s own employees, who called on management to refuse the engagement.

The EACOP cannot be constructed without insurance. It is a legal requirement under Ugandan law that the EACOP must be insured, and large-scale construction projects such as the EACOP are unlikely to be financially viable without insurance. Through its engagement as insurance broker for the EACOP, Marsh is enabling the construction of the pipeline and is therefore contributing to the above adverse impacts.

The Complainants have contacted Marsh numerous times to attempt to engage in a dialogue in relation to the EACOP and to inform Marsh of potential risks that should be reflected in its due diligence process. Marsh did not respond to any of this correspondence. Accordingly, the complainants have turned to the US National Contact Point to resolve this dispute.

Marsh’s breaches of the OECD Guidelines
The OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises apply to all companies based in or with operations in OECD countries, including the United States. As a U.S.-based company, Marsh should operate in alignment with the Guidelines. The complaint alleges that Marsh has breached the Guidelines in four main ways:

Contribution to adverse impacts
The Guidelines specify that companies should avoid causing or contributing to adverse impacts, including human rights and environmental impacts, and to address such impacts where they occur. Where companies have caused or contributed to impacts, they should provide for or cooperate in the provision of remedy. Where

https://climateaccountability.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/10/CAI-EACOP-Rptlores-Oct22.pdf
https://www.ft.com/content/597a2b01-fb54-4fd3-b326-dadf52dc250a
https://www.thebureauinvestigates.com/stories/2022-05-19/insurance-giant-marsh-signs-on-forenvironmentally-disastrous-pipeline-project

adverse impacts are only directly linked to a company’s operations, products or services by a business relationship (but the company has not itself caused or contributed to the impacts), the company must seek to prevent or mitigate the impacts.

The complaint argues that by providing insurance brokerage services, Marsh is contributing to the adverse environmental and human rights impacts that would be, or have already been, caused by the EACOP. In particular, the complaint argues that Marsh is contributing to the adverse impacts under the Guidelines6 (and is not just directly linked) because: (1) it is enabling the project to go ahead by arranging legally and financially necessary insurance coverage; and (2) in light of the wealth of publicly available information on the damaging effects of EACOP, the human rights and environmental impacts were foreseeable and should have been identified in Marsh’s due diligence process.

Due diligence

Under the Guidelines, companies must conduct risk-based due diligence to identify, prevent and mitigate adverse impacts related to human rights and the environment. The complaint argues that whatever environmental and social due diligence process Marsh may have conducted in relation to EACOP was deficient, as any adequate due diligence process would have concluded that EACOP entails unacceptable unmitigatedenvironmental and human rights risks.

Disclosure
Companies should disclose relevant information on their due diligence policies and processes, including what actions they have taken to prevent or mitigate risks that they identify.8 Marsh has failed to disclose adequate information about its due diligence policy and processes, including failing to disclose any information on the due diligence it conducted in relation to the EACOP.

Sustainable Development
The Guidelines requires companies to operate in a manner that contributes to sustainable development and respects internationally recognized human rights. The complaint alleges that Marsh is undermining sustainable development efforts by supporting EACOP, as it is a fundamentally unsustainable project that poses unmanageable climate, environmental and social risks.

Remedies Sought
To remedy these breaches and bring its operations back into alignment with the OECD Guidelines, the Complainants are calling on Marsh to:
• Publicly confirm whether or not it is currently acting as broker for the EACOP, and disclose whether it has any involvement in the associated Tilenga, Kingfisher, or Kabaale refinery projects.

OECD Guidelines, General Policies, paras 11-12; OECD Guidelines, Human Rights, paras 1-6; OECD Guidelines, Environment, paras 3 and  Guidance on when companies will contribute to adverse impacts is at: OECD Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Business Conduct, page 70; OECD Guidelines, General Policies, commentary para 14; OECD Due Diligence for Responsible Corporate Lending and Securities Underwriting, pages 44-45 OECD Guidelines, General Policies, paras 10-12.; OECD Guidelines, Human Rights, para 5; OECD Guidelines, Environment, para. OECD Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Business Conduct, page 33; OECD Guidelines, Disclosure paras 2-3. OECD Guidelines, General Policies, paras 1-2; OECD Guidelines, Human Rights, paras 1-6.

• Cease its role as broker for the construction of the EACOP and make a public statement to this effect. In addition, Marsh should not be broker for future renewals of insurance cover (such as for the operation phase of the project).
• Fully disclose its current human rights and environmental due diligence policies and procedures.
• Publicly disclose the due diligence process that it undertook in relation to the EACOP specifically, including any areas of risk it identified and the actions it took to prevent or mitigate those risks.
• Adopt and disclose an effective due diligence policy and procedures for future potential engagements. The procedures should set out how Marsh identifies and addresses the environmental and human rights impacts associated with the companies and projects for which it provides insurance brokerage services.
• Stop publicly claiming to be committed to the Sustainable Development Goals unless it ceases its support for the EACOP and improves its environmental and human rights due diligence procedures.

The Complainants request that the US NCP offer its good offices to resolve this complaint. In particular, the Complainants request that the NCP consider these allegations and issue recommendations to bring Marsh back into compliance with the Guidelines.

What happens next?
The US NCP must first determine whether the complaint is admissible, including by assessing whether there is a likely link between Marsh’s activities and the issues raised, and whether the issue is material and substantiated. If the NCP accepts the complaint, it will offer to bring the complainants and Marsh together for a mediated dialogue, subject to both parties’ voluntary participation. Through this mediation, the parties will attempt to negotiate a resolution of the issue.

At the end of the process, the NCP will publicly issue a final statement which outlines the allegations of the complaint, any outcomes reached during the mediation, or reasons why an agreement was not reached. The NCP may also issue recommendations as to how the Guidelines are to be implemented.

Further background on the OECD, OECD Guidelines, and National Contact Points
The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) is an intergovernmental organization with 38 member countries, created to promote economic growth, prosperity and sustainable development.

Because Marsh is based in the United States, a member country of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), it should follow the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises. The OECD Guidelines are recommendations from governments to multinational enterprises with operations or headquarters in OECD adhering countries. The Guidelines set out non-binding principles and standards for responsible business conduct across a range of issues, including human rights and the environment.

All OECD countries are required to establish National Contact Points within their governments. National Contact Points (NCPs) are a unique grievance mechanism responsible for receiving complaints from people or organizations who allege that companies have not complied with the Guidelines.

More information on the US NCP’s procedures can be found here: https://www.state.gov/u-s-national-contact-point-for-the-oecd-guidelines-for-multinational-enterprises/a-guide-to-the-u-s-national-contact-point-for-the-oecd-guidelines-for-multinational-enterprises/#FinalStatement
https://usoecd.usmission.gov/mission/oecd/about-the-oecd/

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Statement- Uganda: Seven Environmental activists brutally arrested, charged and released on police bail for protesting against the East African Crude Oil Pipeline Project

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On 27 May 2024, seven environmental human rights defenders were brutally arrested by armed police in Kampala, Uganda and charged by the Jinja Road police for unlawful assembly. This was reported by the Stop the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (StopEACOP) campaign on 29 May 2024.

The seven human rights defenders were peacefully protesting against the intended financing of the East African Crude Oil Pipeline Project (EACOP) by the Chinese government. According to the environmental human rights defenders, EACOP has caused severe human rights violations, poses significant environmental risks, and will contribute to the climate crisis. The EACOP is a project led by Total, spanning 1,443km from Kabaale, Hoima district in Uganda to the Chongoleani Peninsula near Tanga Port in Tanzania. It aims to transport oil from Uganda’s Lake Albert oilfields to global markets via the port of Tanga.

On 27 May 2024, seven environmental human rights defenders were brutally arrested by armed police in Kampala and charged by the Jinja Road police for unlawful assembly. The seven environmental activists were sitting outside the Chinese Embassy in Kampala in an attempt to present a letter of protest to the Chinese Ambassador expressing their complaints and demanding that his government refrain from funding an unfavourable project for them. Due to their arrest occuring before they had any chance of interacting with embassy representatives, their letter was not delivered. The peaceful protesters were violently rounded up by the police, who subsequently packed them in a vehicle and brought them to the Jinja Road police. The seven activists were released on police bail and were due to report back to the Jinja Road police station. On 18 May 2024, following several banks and insurance companies’ withdrawal from EACOP, Civil Society Organizations supporting energy just transition, climate and environmental conservatism, and land justice addressed the media and urged the Chinese President to rescind his interest in funding the project.

Local organizations have been denouncing that, in order to stifle complaints, silence protesters, and maintain pressure on those who defend climate, environment, and land rights, Ugandan authorities have turned to attacking and criminalising environmentalists, climate activists, and defenders of land rights. Uganda has recorded the most number of cases of violations against these human rights defenders, with 18 incidents documented in Africa, according to the Business and Human Rights Resource Center’s 2023 in their report titled People power under pressure: Human rights defenders & business in 2023. The majority of these attacks seem to center around the EACOP and the environmental human rights defenders campaigning against the project, which the State regards as a significant infrastructure initiative.

Front Line Defenders expresses its concern for the safety and security of the seven environmental human rights defenders and strongly condemns the recent instances of intimidation, criminalization and police harassment they have been subjected to, as it believes are an act of reprisal for their peaceful and legitimate work in defence of environmental and land rights in Uganda.

Front Line Defenders urges the authorities in Uganda to take the necessary measures to guarantee the security and protection of environmental human rights defenders during peaceful protests. The organisation also demands that the brutal arrest of these seven human rights defenders be condemned. Front Line Defenders calls Ugandan authorities to guarantee that all environmental and land human rights defenders, including human rights organisations working on environmental rights, are able to carry out their legitimate activities and operate freely without fear of police harassment.

Source: Frontline Defenders

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TotalEnergies African legacy: 100 years of environmental destruction.

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TotalEnergies, the French petro giant company with a legacy of destruction on the continent, this year celebrates 100 years. To be clear, that is 100 years of profit, environmental destruction and damage to people’s lives.

The company’s damage is widespread, extensive and well-documented.

In 1956, TotalEnergies entered Africa, exploiting natural resources as it went along. In chasing down oil and gas, it has wreaked havoc on communities, land, and the environment.

A 2022 study by the Climate Accountability Institute found the total emissions attributed to the East Africa Crude Oil Pipeline totals 379 million tonnes of carbon dioxide, making TotalEnergies a key contributor to Africa’s carbon footprint.

As Charity Migwi, a senior campaigner at Oil Change International, a research, communication, and advocacy organisation, notes, the company has its hands on various projects on the continent.

The project noted above will have about 460km of pipeline in the freshwater basin of Lake Victoria, Africa’s largest lake, which directly supports the livelihoods of more than 40 million people in the region. On top of this, there are plans to extract oil from the fields in Uganda as well as the company’s prominent role in the Mozambique LNG Project, which is a major cause of carbon emissions

Closer to home, TotalEnergies has been given the go-ahead to explore for oil and gas off the south-west coast of South Africa, which sparked protests. As the company held its annual general meeting in Paris, France, protests by affected communities, civil society and activists in both countries took place.

Environmental justice group The Green Connection’s community mobilisation officer, Warren Blouw, said in a press release: “TotalEnergies and other oil and gas companies must consider the livelihoods of small-scale fishers, whose economic wellbeing is jeopardised by offshore oil and gas exploration. We must unite to protect Africa and its resources from those who only seek profit, at the cost of regular South Africans.”

Zinhle Mthiyane, of the South Durban Community Environmental Alliance, said: “We are protesting to protect the environment and prevent ocean pollution. Drilling for oil and gas in South African waters could degrade the environment, threatening livelihoods and cultural practices.”

One of those affected by TotalEnergies and its hunt for fossil fuels is Sifiso Ntsunguzi, a small-scale fisher from Port St Johns, on the Eastern Cape coast. Ntsunguzi made the trip to France to protest.

“We are in Paris to support the court case against TotalEnergies’ oil and gas projects. As a small-scale fisher and member of a coastal community, I do not support the exploration of oil and gas in the ocean. We use the ocean for cultural practices and as a means to sustain our livelihood. We are against exploration of gas and oil, as it may risk degradation of the environment and marine ecosystems, our livelihood and our health. I come from a fishing community and have become a fisher myself,” he said.

In another press release, environmental justice group Bloom wrote that TotalEnergies has been well aware of its climate harms as far back as the 1970s, yet the company still goes ahead with its oil and gas initiatives.

Initially, its strategy was to deny climate change, wrote Bloom. Now that it can no longer do so, it has changed tact and resorts to greenwashing, described by the United Nations as follows: “By misleading the public to believe that a company or other entity is doing more to protect the environment than it is, greenwashing promotes false solutions to the climate crisis that distract from and delay concrete and credible action.”

Total Energies portrays itself as a serious player in the renewable energy space and constantly punts its renewable efforts while going full steam ahead with its fossil fuel projects.

For example, it said of its project in the Northern Cape: “TotalEnergies and its partners are launching construction of a major hybrid renewables project in South Africa, comprising a 216 megawatt solar plant and a 500 MWh battery storage system to manage the intermittency of solar production.”

Bloom explained that chasing renewables is profitable but nowhere near as profitable as oil and gas, and it in no way negates the harmful search for and use of fossil fuels. For this reason Bloom and two other climate justice groups took TotalEnergies to court.

This case also hopes to halt the expansion of fossil fuel extraction. As The Guardian reports: “A criminal case has been filed against the CEO and directors of the French oil company TotalEnergies, alleging its fossil fuel exploitation has contributed to the deaths of victims of climate-fuelled extreme weather disasters. The case was filed in Paris by eight people harmed by extreme weather, and three NGOs.”

Joyce Kimutai, a climate scientist at the University Of Cape Town, said: “The fossil fuel industry will continue to undermine science, they will continue to expand their businesses,

they will continue to cause suffering to the people as long as they know that the law can’t hold them accountable.”

Whether the case will yield anything remains to be seen, but the important thing is people are standing up and fighting the harmful practices of these fossil fuel companies. International bodies like the UN climate change conferences yield very little results. It is up to us, the people on the ground, to unite for the good of our planet.

Source: mg.co.za

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Incredible WIN! European Union withdraws from Energy Charter Treaty

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The Energy Charter Treaty (ECT) is an international agreement originally created with a focus on growing fossil fuel energy cooperation after the Cold War. Today, the Treaty is a major obstacle to effective climate action because it protects fossil fuel investments. By including investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS), the Energy Charter Treaty allows fossil fuel corporations to sue States that act to protect our climate when that action could impact a company’s profits.

Today, we celebrate because the European Council overwhelmingly adopted the EU’s proposal to exit the controversial Energy Charter Treaty (ECT), an outdated international investment agreement that protects and promotes fossil fuel investments.

CIEL and other organizations across Europe have worked tirelessly to educate European decision-makers about the dangers of the Energy Charter Treaty. Together, we proved how the treaty prevents effective climate action and is fundamentally incompatible with EU law.

This pivotal vote follows up an EU Commission’s proposal for the EU and European Atomic Energy Community to exit the Energy Charter Treaty.

The Commission found the ECT incompatible with the EU’s laws, investment policy and law, and energy and climate goals. Its proposal broke months of deadlock by offering EU countries the option to remain in the treaty while allowing other countries to exit. The European Parliament also adopted a resolution in April 2024 calling on the EU to withdraw from the ECT.

Today’s vote proves that people power can win critical victories!

Join us in celebrating this victory for the people, the environment, and the climate!

Demonstrators wear masks with the EU leaders under a sword that reads Energy Charter Treaty.

Why does this matter?

Fossil fuel investors have used the Energy Charter Treaty to sue States when they take climate action, claiming a right to compensation for alleged loss of investments. If they are serious about climate action, States must disentangle themselves from investor protections that allow fossil fuel companies to sue them in private courts when States act in the public interest to phase out fossil fuels. States could be squeezed from both sides: sued by communities for their climate inaction with ever greater frequency, and sued by investors when they do act to phase out the fossil fuel drivers of the climate crisis and accelerate the energy transition.

CIEL has worked for a long time to dismantle ISDS and ensure that the perspectives of communities inform ongoing arbitration.

A demonstrator holds a sign that reads 'Exit the Energy Charter Treaty'

Policymakers in Europe, and beyond, now have a duty to end their dependency on fossil fuels, exit the ISDS system that allows industry to sue States for enacting public interest policies, and accelerate the clean energy transition.

This win in Europe is a milestone in the fight against investor state dispute settlements. Now, we are leveraging this momentum for other States and clearing the way for effective climate action around the world.

Today we celebrate this victory with you. Tomorrow we will continue working to uproot the fossil economy driving the climate crisis, and the trade and investment deals that stand in the way of a renewable energy future.

Source: ciel.org

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