How rising powers create governance gaps: The case of export credit and the environment

Kristen Hopewell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

How are rising powers affecting global governance? This article analyzes their impact on an important but understudied area of global governance at the intersection of trade and environment: export credit. State-backed export credit agencies (ECAs) play a major role in financing large infrastructure and energy projects, particularly in developing countries. Many of these projects carry significant environmental implications, yet there has been little scholarly attention to their governance. Since the 1990s, global governance of the environmental practices of ECAs has been progressively expanded and strengthened via the OECD Arrangement on export credit and Common Approaches for environmental and social due diligence. Recently, however, there has been a dramatic increase in export credit provision by rising powers, such as India and China, who are not members of the OECD nor subject to the Arrangement or Common Approaches. In this article, I argue that existing governance mechanisms have not caught up with the rapidly changing landscape of export credit. Drawing on the case of India’s financing for the Rampal coal-fired power plant in Bangladesh, I show that the problem of environmental governance for export credit increasingly extends beyond the advanced-industrialized states of the OECD. In a context where nearly half of all export credit is now provided by countries outside the OECD, I argue, existing governance mechanisms are no longer sufficient. The failure to cover the large and growing volume of export credit provided by the emerging powers represents a major gap in the established system of environmental governance for export credit.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)34-52
JournalGlobal Environmental Politics
Issue number1
Early online date29 Jan 2019
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2019


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