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IFC Continues Work on Cumulative Impact Study for Pulp Projects in Uruguay


In Washington D.C.
Adriana Gomez

Phone: (202) 458 5204

E-mail:
Agomez@ifc.org



Washington DC, October 3, 2005 The International Finance Corporation, the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, confirms that it is continuing its process of evaluating the environmental and social impacts of two proposed pulp mills on the Rio Uruguay. This study is part of IFC’s due diligence associated with the possible financing of each mill.

IFC’s established policies and procedures require a thorough process of identification and analysis of environmental and social costs and benefits associated with projects it is asked to help finance.  These procedures include consulting with affected populations to ensure their views are heard and factored into IFC’s decision-making process.  The current focus of the environmental and social assessment of the pulp projects is an IFC-commissioned Cumulative Impact Study (CIS) that is currently in progress.  The findings of the study will be a primary input into IFC’s decision-making process regarding prospective financing of each project.

As a development institution, IFC recognizes the substantial economic benefit these enterprises can bring to Uruguay’s economy. These two projects represent the largest direct foreign investment in Uruguay’s history, equivalent to some 10% of GDP, with the projects’ combined effect expected to raise GDP by over 1.6%. IFC is also aware that the neighboring communities of Fray Bentos in Uruguay, and Gualeguaychu in Argentina, have raised concerns about the possible social and environmental impacts of the plants on the surrounding area.  The key issues identified in these expressed concerns will be examined within the Cumulative Impact Study.

IFC is an acknowledged global leader in environmental and social standards for the private sector in emerging markets. The Corporation is committed to the strict observance of its policies, which require that any project financed by the Corporation meet world-class environmental and social standards.

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.