CounterCurrent warns German government against Hermes guarantee for Russian Yamal gas project

The Federal Government of Germany is currently considering an application to insure supplies to the Yamal gas project in the north of the Russian Federation with an export credit guarantee (Hermes guarantee). According to information available, however, the project will seriously affect the livelihoods of indigenous reindeer herders. The Yamal Peninsula is the largest contiguous area on earth, where nomadic reindeer breeding is practiced. The Yamal LNG project will destroy many areas and cut down the migration routes, which are essential for the reindeer herders. However, the environmental and social impact assessment for the project does not adequately address these dangers. Although houses are to be built for the indigenous people who have to give up the reindeer herding and settle down, but deal with the problem of life perspectives and income opportunities for the herders who have lost their livelihood. In similar cases, herders who have lost their livelihoods have been unable to adapt to a settled way of live and have died soon after..

In addition, the restrictions freedom of expression are not fully taken into account: Yamal Nenets Autonomous Area is a so-called “border zone” and as such can be entered only with special permit. All indigenous organizations are under massive pressure from the intelligence services and can hardly express themselves freely. Due to the prevailing pressure and the state control, an approval by these organizations can not therefore be regarded as the consent of the affected people. The Stakeholder Engagement Plan does not indicate that an appropriate process has been carried out to obtain the Free, Prior and Informed Consent of the indigenous population.

CounterCurrent therefore calls on the Federal Government to not support this project with a Hermes guarantee.

Summary of expected social impacts

Von Dr. A. Hugentobler – Eigenes Werk, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link