Our environmental and social requirements for financial intermediary (FI) projects are set out in Performance Requirement (PR) 9 of our Environmental and Social Policy. They focus on ensuring that banks, private equity funds and other financial institutions receiving our financing have appropriate environmental and social risk management systems in place.
We provide a range of training and capacity-building services to assist FIs in preparing appropriate systems. An important development in 2013 was the launch of a new EBRD e-learning programme for FIs, focusing on environmental and social risk management in commercial banking. Developed with expert input from leading international consulting firms, the course provides FIs with a firm understanding of relevant environmental and social issues, the risks these can present to banks, and our recommended policies and procedures for managing these risks. The e-learning course is available free of charge. The programme was launched in August 2013 and more than 100 users had registered by the end of the year. For further information, visit http://ebrd.coastlinesolutions.com.
Our increasing emphasis on distance learning to build capacity for environmental and social risk management is complemented by a consistently strong focus on monitoring individual FI projects to ensure that they develop and implement appropriate policies and procedures. In addition to desk-based monitoring, we conducted site visits to 14 FIs during the year, while our consultants delivered on-site environmental and social risk management training to four FIs.
Policy dialogue and international cooperation continued to be an important part of our wider efforts to promote good environmental and social practice in the financial sector. Conferences and other events in which we participated during 2013 included the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Finance Initiative Global Roundtable, a sustainable banking conference organised by the Turkish Banking Association, and a series of workshops organised by Intesa Sanpaolo for its subsidiaries in Hungary, Romania and Slovenia. We also played an active part in meetings and other cooperation initiatives with other development finance institutions during the year, to share experiences and improve coordination on the environmental and social aspects of investing in FIs.