WASHINGTON, D.C., May 3, 2006 —
The President of Uruguay, Mr. Tabaré Vázquez met today with World Bank
Group President Paul Wolfowitz to discuss the development priorities for
the country. This was the first time that the two presidents have met.
The primary topic of discussion was the World Bank Group’s possible support
for two pulp mills on the Uruguay River.
The International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private sector arm of
the World Bank Group, is evaluating whether to provide financing of the
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.
Mr. Wolfowitz was accompanied by Mr. Lars Thunell, IFC’s Executive Vice
President Ms. Yukiko Omura, MIGA’s Executive Vice President, and by Ms.
Pamela Cox, the World Bank’s Vice-President for the Latin America and
During the meeting, Mr. Wolfowitz emphasized the World Bank Group’s ongoing
support for the development of Uruguay and complimented President Vazquez
and his team on the strong economic management and continued recovery of
the Uruguayan economy. He also highlighted the Bank Group’s strong
commitment to support productive private investments that foster economic
growth and development in its member countries, while being undertaken
with the appropriate environmental and social due diligence.
Mr. Wolfowitz noted that IFC is beginning the final phase of its environmental
due diligence process for the pulp mill projects to confirm compliance
with World Bank Group’s environmental policies. Upon completion
of the environmental review, IFC and MIGA will decide whether they will
seek Board approval for the financing and guarantees for the pulp mills.
“These two projects are important for the development of Uruguay,” said
Mr. Wolfowitz. “The Bank Group is interested, in principle, in supporting
the projects financially, provided they meet the highest environmental
and social standards. Before we make a decision on financing the
mills we must complete our evaluation process. Our goal is to ensure that
the projects are in compliance with our very strict and internationally
Regarding the diplomatic standoff between Argentina and Uruguay over the
construction of the mills, Mr. Wolfowitz encouraged both Argentina and
Uruguay to renew the good faith effort initiated between the presidents
of both countries to find a negotiated and fair solution that reassures
stakeholders that shared environmental resources will be protected. “I
firmly believe this is possible if the will is there to find a solution,”
Timeline of Evaluation of Pulp Mill Projects
On April 11, IFC released the report of a panel of independent experts
commissioned to review comments provided by stakeholders on the draft cumulative
impact study (CIS) of the two pulp mill plants. IFC’s objective
in retaining the panel was to engage an independent, third party review
of stakeholder concerns and help determine what further environmental assessment
might be needed. In addition, the entire process has provided the
interested public with a fact-based review of the environmental impacts
of the plants.
IFC will shortly announce an action plan to address the panel’s recommendations.
- April-June 2005: Bank Group public release
of Environmental and Social Impact Studies(EIAs) for each proposed plant
- June-December 2005: Preparation of draft
Cumulative Impact Study (CIS)
- December 19, 2005: IFC and MIGA release
draft CIS opening a consultation period of 60 days
- January/February, 2006: Stakeholder
consultations on draft CIS in Uruguay and Argentina
- End of February, 2006: End of consultation
period. Stakeholder input, draft CIS and EIAs delivered to independent
- April 11, 2006: independent expert panel’s
report is made public by IFC.
- May 2006: IFC to unveil
action plan in response to experts’ findings and recommendations
and approach to revision of CIS.
For more details in English and Spanish, including the Expert’s report,
the Action Plan and the Consultation Process please visit:
For Frequently Asked Questions on the projects and the evaluation process,