Washington D.C., February 23, 2006 -
Following a 60-day consultation period, which ended February 17, the International Finance Corporation announced today that all comments received on the draft Cumulative Impact Study (CIS) of environmental impacts of two proposed pulp mills near Fray Bentos, Uruguay, have been sent to an independent expert. The expert will carefully analyze the comments and provide his findings to the World Bank Group. These findings will inform further revision of the draft CIS as well as IFC’s decision on whether or not to seek its Board’s approval to finance the mills.
Due to the quantity and quality of substantive comments received during the consultation period, the expert will need more time to review all material and provide an accurate and thorough analysis. Hence the original target date for providing his input to IFC by February 24, 2006, has been extended to allow him enough time to review all substantive comments. IFC will post the full text of the expert’s findings on its Web site.
Dr. Wayne Dwernychuk, a Canadian national, was appointed to serve as an independent expert for review of comments on the CIS. He is a senior scientist with extensive international experience in environmental impact assessment, particularly for the pulp and paper sector and other industrial developments. He has specific experience in the human health effects of dioxins and furans and will be able to call upon additional expertise, both within and outside his firm, as necessary. Dr. Dwernychuk has carried out numerous field investigations for a range of government, private sector, and industry association clients, and he has provided expert advice to panels and task forces on related topics.
IFC, the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, is evaluating whether to provide financing to the proposed Orion and CMB plants. In addition, the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA), also of an arm of the World Bank Group, is evaluating whether to provide political risk insurance to investors in the Orion plant.
Once the expert has submitted his advice, IFC and MIGA will review it and respond, indicating any specific actions. Subsequently, IFC and MIGA will decide, based on the full body of environmental and social work undertaken and input received from stakeholders, whether or not their respective managements will seek Board approval to provide financing and/or guarantees to the mills.
The Consultation Process
The draft CIS was made available for public review on December 19, 2005, allowing a minimum of 60 days for comments prior to any decisions by the World Bank Group on the proposed financing and guarantee for the pulp mills.
Starting in mid-January, the World Bank Group convened a series of review meetings to enable stakeholders to provide their comments and concerns on the draft CIS directly to IFC and MIGA staff. The most recent consultations were public meetings held in Montevideo and Buenos Aires last week.
These actions are an integral component of IFC’s project evaluation process, which seeks to ensure that projects financed by the Corporation meet its strict and internationally recognized environmental and social standards. As a member of the World Bank Group, IFC promotes the sustainable development of the private sector in emerging markets.
For more details on the consultation process and to obtain the full text of the draft CIS, in English and Spanish, please visit:
For Frequently Asked Questions on the projects and the evaluation process, please visit: