On 7 February 2023, Inclusive Development International and 10 Ugandan and Tanzanian organisations (together, ‘the complainants’, the latter organisations remaining anonymous due to security risks associated with filing the complaint) brought a complaint to the US NCP. The complaint alleges failures by Marsh, a US-based insurance broker, to meet the standards of the OECD Guidelines in relation to its reported role as broker for the construction phase of the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP). According to the complainants, the EACOP is expected to cause (or is already causing) severe adverse human rights and environmental impacts, which project sponsors have failed to adequately address, prevent, and mitigate. These impacts include: improper land acquisition; threats to communities, environmental and human rights defenders, and journalists; failure to adequately consult local communities; negative impacts to natural resources, ecosystems, and protected areas; and climate impacts. The complainants submit that many of the most egregious impacts are inherent to the project, are impossible to adequately mitigate, and therefore that the EACOP should not proceed.

The complainants argue that Marsh is contributing to the adverse impacts for two reasons: (1) it is enabling the project to proceed by arranging legally and financially necessary insurance; and (2) in view of extensive publicly available information on the impacts of the EACOP, the impacts were foreseeable and should have been identified by Marsh in its human rights due diligence process. Accordingly, any due diligence Marsh conducted regarding the EACOP was deficient, as adequate due diligence would have concluded that the project entails unacceptable risks. Further, the complainants argue that Marsh has failed to disclose adequate information about its due diligence policy and processes, and has undermined sustainable development by supporting the EACOP.

They seek several remedies, including for Marsh to confirm whether it is acting as broker for the EACOP (and to cease acting if this is the case) and to fully disclose its due diligence policies and procedures, as well as any due diligence conducted on the EACOP.

The complaint itself cannot be disclosed by the complainants due to the US NCP’s confidentiality requirements.

Relevant OECD Guidelines

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