Washington, D.C., November 15, 2005—
IFC continues the process of evaluating the financing of two pulp mills
in Uruguay, particularly the potential environmental and social impact.
Contrary to some media reports, the evaluation process has not been suspended.
As announced last Friday, IFC will make the study available to the public
in draft form in early December for stakeholder analysis and discussion.
For more detailed information, IFC’s press release on the evaluation process
and its different stages is included below. This press release is the same
that was sent last Friday, November 11.
IFC to Release Draft Cumulative Impact Study on Pulp Mills in Uruguay
for Public Review in Early December
-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
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
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.