EIC General Meeting, Helsinki, October 11, 2019

CICA was invited to attend the Autumn General Assembly of the European International Contractors, which took place in Helsinki, Finland. The main theme of the event was “Challenging Political and Economic Future – Construction as a Catalyst for Urban Concentration and Low-Emission Transport”.

Among other speakers, Mr. Kimmo Tillikainen, State Secretary, insisted on the interdependence of global warming limitation and fulfilment of the sustainable development goals (SDGs): if the latter are not met, the former will not be limited and vice-versa. Worse, even if the CO2 emissions deriving from electricity production, transportation, heating, air conditioning, etc., were reduced to zero, the global warming would still exceed 2°C due to the production of plastic, steel and concrete. And the global warming reduces the economic activity.

Mr. Timo Pesonen, Director General, DG GROW, EU Commission, called for a “trilogue” between the EU, the member states and the contractors on the elaboration of the EU Urban Agenda. He rejected the concept of a closed “anti-China” EU, since many European companies have significant interests in China and reprisal would be inevitable, but he is aware of the need for a level-playing field, and he confirmed that a new EU instrument is intended to be launched in January 2020.

Mr. Enzo De Laurentiis (Chief Procurement Officer of the World Bank) recalled that the WB finances 114 billion US dollars globally for infrastructure development, i.e. 70% of its portfolio. Its overall concept is that its procurement must be sustainable, which entails social and environmental sustainability. This implies that each bidder must submit an Environmental & Social Management Plan in support of its bid, and that each contractor shall have a Code of Conduct for its personnel. This will make qualification a bit more difficult, which may improve the level-playing field. Gender-Based Violence and Sexual Exploitation and Assault must now be regarded as development issues, just like corruption, and no longer as political or criminal only.

We will inform in more detail CICA members with respect to these matters during our Autumn General Meeting in Paris on 12th and 13th December.