Buenos Aires, February 16, 2006
---As part of its ongoing consultation process, officials of the World Bank Group held a public meeting today in Buenos Aires to discuss IFC’s draft Cumulative Impact Study (CIS) for the two proposed pulp mills near Fray Bentos, Uruguay.
The meeting offered an additional opportunity for stakeholders to provide their views and comments on the draft CIS which was released by IFC on December 19, 2005 opening a 60-day consultation process.
“We want to have a full review of the facts and an open dialogue about the combined impact of the two pulp mills,” said Yolande Duhem, IFC’s Manager for the Southern Cone. “We are here today to listen to stakeholders’ concerns about the impact of the mills in Argentina, and to ensure that our ongoing consultation process is thorough and comprehensive.”
The International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private sector financing arm of the World Bank Group, is evaluating whether to provide financing to 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.
Neither IFC nor MIGA will make a decision on whether to proceed with funding until the consultation period of the draft Cumulative Impact Study is completed.
The Cumulative Impact Study
The draft CIS addresses more than 30 issues, ranging from social and economic (such as the effects on traffic, labor supply, and tourism in the region), to issues such as air quality, water quality, and biodiversity.
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. 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.
To provide additional third-party verification and review, all comments received during the consultation process on the draft CIS will be submitted to an independent expert to assess the validity of challenges to the analysis provided in the draft CIS, and then provide the World Bank Group with his opinions and advice, which will also be made available to the public. The expert’s report is expected to be ready by February 24, 2006.
Once the expert has submitted his report, IFC and MIGA will review and respond, indicating any specific actions that have been agreed to by the companies or other stakeholders. Subsequently, IFC and MIGA will also decide, based on the full body of environmental and social work undertaken and input from stakeholders received, whether or not their respective managements will seek Board approval to provide financing and/or guarantees to the mills.
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: