Washington DC, April 11, 2006—The
International Finance Corporation (IFC) today publicly released the report
of a panel of independent experts commissioned to review comments
provided by stakeholders on the draft Cumulative Impact Study (CIS) of
two pulp mill plants in the Rio Uruguay. IFC welcomed the findings
and the recommendations of the experts’ report and will shortly announce
an action plan to address the panel’s recommendations.
The expert panel, which included Canadians Wayne Dwernychuck and Neil McCubbin,
identified a need for additional information and analysis to accurately
determine and substantiate the environmental impacts of the CMB and Orion
projects. The experts also recommended a number of technical improvements
that could enhance the environmental performance of both mills. IFC
is in discussions with the companies on how to address these issues.
Overall, the experts recognize that although mill design, operating procedures
and environmental monitoring can be improved, concerns that the mills will
cause widespread environmental damage are unsupported. Further, they recommend
that more information is needed to answer questions raised about health
impacts; that further information and analysis should be provided with
respect to tourism; and, that emergency response and environmental management
and monitoring plans need to be more fully developed.
IFC, as a member of the World Bank Group that promotes sustainable development
of the private sector in emerging markets, will only finance projects that
meet its strict and internationally recognized environmental and social
standards. For this reason, IFC endorses the need for additional
information and analysis recommended by the experts and regards it as essential
to ensuring compliance with its own environmental policies, to making a
well informed decision on whether to finance the pulp mills, and to fully
and accurately informing stakeholders on the environmental and social impacts
of the mills.
IFC is evaluating whether to provide financing to proposed Orion and CMB
plants. In addition, the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA),
also 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 revision of the Cumulative Impact Study is completed.
The Consultation Process
The draft Cumulative Impact Study on the social and environmental impact
of the two proposed pulp mills 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.
In addition to written submissions received, starting in mid-January, a
series of meetings were held in Uruguay and Argentina to enable stakeholders
to provide their comments and concerns on the draft CIS directly to IFC
and MIGA staff. Following the 60-day consultation period, which
ended February 17, IFC sent all comments received on the CIS to the independent
expert panel to fully analyze the comments and provide its findings to
the World Bank Group.
For more details on these proposed projects, please visit:
For Frequently Asked Questions on the projects and the evaluation process,