-Extensive Stakeholder Engagement Planned-
Washington, D.C, November 11, 2005
The study commissioned by the International Finance Corporation to assess the cumulative environmental and social impacts of two proposed pulp mills in Uruguay is expected to be available to the public in draft form in early December.
Following release of this draft, a stakeholder engagement process convened by IFC and facilitated by a neutral organization will provide concerned citizens and other parties on both sides of the Rio Uruguay with the opportunity to review and provide input. This public input, and the subsequent final conclusions of the cumulative study, will help determine whether IFC will finance the plants.
These actions are an integral component of IFC’s project evaluation process to ensure that projects financed by the Corporation meet its strict and internationally-recognized environmental and social standards. IFC is a member of the World Bank Group and promotes the sustainable development of the private sector in emerging markets.
If IFC decides to present the pulp mill projects to its Board of Directors, and the request for financing is approved, the cumulative impact study will also influence the development of mechanisms to provide for continued public engagement, mitigation of any negative impacts, and to maximize social, economic and environmental benefits from the mills.
IFC believes that its commitment to implement a transparent and thorough public engagement process with respect to the cumulative study is consistent with the spirit of the recommendations of the Preliminary Assessment Report recently released by the Compliance Advisor Ombudsman (CAO) of the IFC.
The Cumulative Impact Study
The cumulative impact study (CIS) and associated consultative process will provide the opportunity to examine and analyze a wide range of issues relevant to the combined impacts of the mills including potential impacts on agriculture, fisheries, tourism, and air and water quality.
The study will also include a comparative analysis of the two most modern pulp bleaching technologies currently in use in the industry: total chlorine free (TCF); and the process to be used in the two Uruguayan mills, elemental chlorine free (ECF). [For a more complete listing of issues presently being assessed in the cumulative study, the draft Table of Contents can be accessed via the following weblink:
Lee Doran, head of Ecological Writings #1 of Canada, has recently been engaged to act as project director for the cumulative impact study currently being prepared. He has extensive experience serving in this type of leadership capacity for impact assessments of large and complex industrial projects, including several in Latin America.
Mr. Doran is directing a team of social and environmental professionals including consultants who have worked on the CIS to date and additional specialists who have also been added to the team. These additional specialists are assisting in gathering more baseline data on existing socio-economic and environmental conditions in the communities neighboring the plants on both sides of the Rio Uruguay.
The Consultative Process
IFC is presently seeking to identify an appropriately qualified and credible third party to facilitate the upcoming consultation process which can assist with stakeholder identification, assessment and engagement on the CIS and related issues.
IFC will support a stakeholder engagement process that includes communities and other stakeholders in both Argentina and Uruguay who remain concerned about the potential environmental and socio-economic impacts the mills may have, as well as those who are optimistic about the mills’ potential benefits. IFC will ensure that these stakeholders have the opportunity to review the draft of the CIS, express their views, and jointly review and explore outstanding issues. IFC will fully consider the views of participating stakeholders with regard to the CIS, as well as any additional information and options that stakeholders develop through a collaborative process.
IFC is an acknowledged global leader in environmental and social standards for the private sector in emerging markets.
IFC promotes sustainable private sector investment in developing and transition countries, helping to reduce poverty and improve people’s lives. IFC finances private sector investments, mobilizes capital in the international financial markets, helps clients improve social and environmental sustainability, and provides technical assistance and advice to governments and businesses.