EACOP projects: Campaigners plan global day of action, want China to rule out financial support

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Campaigners under the aegis of East African Crude Oil Pipeline and the associated field projects (stopEACOP projects) and its allies are planning a coordinated global day of action on Wednesday June 26th, 2024, outside the Chinese embassies and some of the Chinese financial institutions in 12 countries.

The StopEACOP campaign is coordinating an escalated global action to urge China to rule out financial support for the East African Crude Oil Pipeline and the associated oil field projects (the EACOP projects). The campaign specifically targets the China Export & Credit Insurance Corporation (SINOSURE), the state-owned Chinese insurance company, the Export-Import Bank of China (China Exim Bank), one of China’s policy banks, and the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), China’s largest commercial bank and one of the financial advisors for the EACOP project.

The Chinese financial institutions have reportedly considered supporting the projects and are expected to make a decision in July. The day of action will hold peaceful protests outside Chinese embassies and consulates in cities in Africa, Europe, and the USA, demanding that Chinese embassies officially receive petitions signed by the affected people and studies about the impacts of the projects. This action is also a response to the recent abduction of Stephen Kwikiriza and arbitrary arrests of protestors in the previous demonstrations in November 2023 and May 2024, showing solidarity with local activists and human rights defenders in Uganda and Tanzania who continue to resist despite facing repression.

The EACOP projects pose outstanding risks and impacts to local communities’ livelihoods, water resources, and key biodiversity areas of East Africa while providing little benefit to the average Ugandan and Tanzanian. The projects, which are estimated to lead to greenhouse gas emissions of 379 million tonnes CO2e, are also a climate bomb that will fuel the global climate crisis, further locking the planet in a fossil fuel future. As major financiers and insurers from North America, Europe, and Japan have publicly distanced themselves from the harmful EACOP projects, the project developers are now looking to China for financial support.

Affected people and local civil society in Uganda and Tanzania have communicated their concerns to the major Chinese banks, insurers, and the Chinese government by sending letters, petitions and analyses, and more recently through peaceful actions at the Chinese embassies. The Chinese government and financial institutions have continuously refused to respond to the demands of the affected people. However, there are signs that the Chinese decision-makers are aware of the significant risks of financing the projects. It has been reported that the delayed decision of the Chinese lenders, who have taken a prolonged time to assess the risks, has put the project in a cash crisis that threatens to stall the construction.

The campaign aims to amplify people’s voices and urge China to make the right decision. As a committed climate leader and responsible development partner of the Global South, China should not enable these destructive projects, which are majoritively owned by TotalEnergies, through insurance or financing. Instead, China should invest in renewable energy projects promoting sustainable African development.

The specific cities where these actions will take place include: Kampala, Uganda; Dar es Salaam, Tanzania; Kinshasa, DRC; Nairobi, Kenya; Abuja, Nigeria; Tshwane, South Africa and Paris, France.

Others are: London, Manchester, UK; The Hague, Netherlands; Düsseldorf, Germany;    Copenhagen, Denmark and Washington DC, USA.

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