What we do
Stichting Bank Information Center Europe (BIC Europe) partners with civil society in developing and transition countries to influence the IFIs to promote social and economic justice and ecological sustainability. It is an independent, non-profit, non-governmental organization that advocates for the protection of rights, participation, transparency, and public accountability in the governance and operations of the multilateral development banks. By opening political space around development decision-making, BIC Europe aims to ensure that local communities and civil society organizations have an important voice in decisions that affect them. BIC Europe assists these groups through its information dissemination and capacity building activities, coalition building, project and policy monitoring, and advocacy support services.
BIC Europe’s mission is:
- To foster an informed and engaged movement in Europe on the IFIs, with a focus on the World Bank and the AIIB, BIC will play a facilitating, convening and coordinating role with civil society in key constituencies;
- BIC Europe will engage directly with European governments and Board members of the World Bank and AIIB, as a European entity with a specific mandate to hold European shareholders accountable.
IFIs in Europe
BIC Europe was established in recognition of the important role of European governments and European civil society in the international financial institutions (IFIs). BIC Europe plays a central role in supporting civil society engagement with IFIs in Europe and Central Asia, including support for Balkans, Eastern Europe and Central Asian partners to engage on IFI projects in those regions.
Europe holds eight seats at the World Bank, comprising over 30% share of the vote. Traditionally, European EDs at the World Bank have provided a progressive voice on issues such as human rights, climate change, forests and transparency. In recent years, the European voice has been more muted – most recently in the compromised approach taken to the Safeguards review – and there is a need to reinvigorate and renew Europe’s role as a champion on issues of social and environmental justice.
Moreover, BIC Europe plays a key role in holding the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) to account. The World Bank’s and Asian Development Bank’s traditional dominant shareholders, the US and Japan, are not members of the AIIB; however, European members Germany, France and the UK are all top ten shareholders, and the European constituencies hold two of the 12 Board seats. The UK heads the non-Eurozone constituency at the Bank and Germany leads the Eurozone constituency. Together, European shareholders hold over 20% of shares in the AIIB and can be an influential voice.
BIC Europe currently employs three members of staff:
Nezir Sinani, Director, Rights and Environmental Sustainability
(based in the Netherlands)
Nezir is a seasoned international development specialist with experience in environmental and social policy research, strategic communications, and civil society advocacy. As a former Research Analyst for the Institute for Development Policy in Kosovo, he has in-depth understanding of the engagement of civil society to advocate for sustainable development standards and safeguards. Nezir has also served as Corporate Communications Manager for a state-owned energy company in Kosovo, where he led public outreach and media engagement during a process of structural reform in the energy sector, and as a Communications Specialist for a governance reform program funded by USAID in Kosovo, focusing on civil society engagement, civic education, and awareness campaigns. He holds an M.S. in Service Management from Rochester Institute of Technology, and a B.A. in English from the University of Pristina. He is fluent in English and Albanian, and is proficient in Serbo-Croatian and German.
Kate Geary, Campaign Manager, Rights and Environmental Sustainability
(based in the UK)
Kate joined BIC in 2016. Previously, Kate led Oxfam’s advocacy on land rights, based in Oxford, working in support of communities affected by land grabs and campaigning for policy change. Previously she was a policy adviser for Oxfam on climate change and the private sector. Before joining Oxfam in 2004, Kate worked for a number of environmental and human rights organisations – including TERRA in Southeast Asia – and was Coordinator of the Ilisu Dam Campaign coalition, including Friends of the Earth, the Kurdish Human Rights Project and The Corner House. She has published a number of reports including Our Land, Our Lives, The New Forests Company and its Uganda Plantations, Now or Never; Climate Change: Time to get down to business; The Forecast for Tomorrow: The UK’s climate for change and Dams Inc: The record of twelve European dam-building companies; and for several years was Managing Editor of Watershed magazine in Thailand. She has a degree in Modern Languages from Oxford University.
Petra Kjell, Associate, Rights and Environmental Sustainability
(based in the UK)
Petra joined BIC in 2017. Before this, she worked as a Programme Manager at the Bretton Woods Project, monitoring the World Bank, for over five years where she coordinated the work on environment, human rights and social impacts. She has previously worked at organisations such as Progressio, the New Economics Foundation, and the World Development Movement, focusing on social and environmental issues, such as sustainable and equitable water resources management and climate change. She has also spent one year working in Tanzania for a conservation organisation. Petra holds an MSc in Development Studies from SOAS, University of London, and a BSc in Social Science from University of Stockholm, Sweden. She is currently completing a PGDip in Environment and Sustainability at Birkbeck, University of London.
BIC Europe has five permanent members of the Board of Directors (as registered with the Dutch government):
Founder of the Forest Peoples Programme in 1990, Marcus Colchester life’s work has focused on securing indigenous peoples’ rights to their lands and livelihoods by pressing for policy change at grass-roots, national and international levels. He has worked extensively in support of indigenous communities in countries including Venezuela and Indonesia, and is based in the UK. Marcus joined BIC Europe’s Board in 2015 as Chair.
Saskia Luutsche Ozinga is a Dutch environmental and social activist, based in the UK. She is the facilitator of the Forest Movement Europe and the co-founder of the NGO FERN, of which she is currently the campaigns coordinator, with a mandate to monitor EU activities in relation to forests and facilitate joint advocacy work towards the different EU institutions. Saskia joined BIC Europe’s Board in 2015 as Treasurer.
Susanne Breitkopf, Policy Manager at the Environmental Investigation Agency in the US, has worked on forests, natural resources and governance for over 20 years. For eight years, she served at Greenpeace International as forest campaigner, political advisor, and team leader for international forest and climate policy. A German national, she has lived and worked with different civil society organizations in Europe, Africa and North America. Susanne joined BIC Europe’s Board in 2015.
Kristen (Kris) Genovese, senior researcher at SOMO in the Netherlands, specialises in supporting communities and workers who are seeking remedy for corporate-related human rights abuses through non-judicial grievance mechanisms. Since 2007, Kris has worked with sugarcane workers in Nicaragua affected by chronic kidney disease to help determine the cause of the epidemic and to obtain improved health and social services; and has also worked with mining-affected communities in Colombia, Guatemala and Bolivia. Kris joined BIC Europe’s Board in September 2017.
Pol Vandevoort is a seasoned social justice campaigner based in Belgium. Pol worked for many years for the NGO 11.11.11 (Coalition of the Flemish North -South movement) ,first running their Asia Programme, then as advisor on international financial institutions. In the 70s and 80s, Pol worked with communities in Southeast Sulawesi, Indonesia, running community development projects. Pol joined BIC Europe’s Board in September 2017.
BIC Europe was officially registered as Stichting Bank Information Center with the Dutch Government on October 19th 2015.
The BIC Europe Board is legally responsible for BIC Europe accounts. Financial oversight will be provided by Finens Payroll Services, a Dutch-based finance organization that BIC employs to maintain its payroll accounts.
BIC Europe is supported by private foundations and organizations that work in the fields of environment and development. BIC is not affiliated with any of the Multilateral Development Banks, nor does it receive any funding from them.