CAO Cases

Arne Hoel, The World Bank

Europe & Central Asia

Albania / Enso Albania-01/Lengarica

Local residents of Lengarica
Date Filed
June 22, 2015
Biodiversity and critical habitats, ecotourism livelihood, IFC due diligence, national law
Case Status
Open - Compliance



IFC has a US$8.6 million equity investment with Enso Hydro, an Austrian company specializing in investments in small and medium-scale hydropower plants in South East Europe, Turkey, Alpine Regions, and Scandinavia. One 8.9 Megawatt (MW) hydropower plant on the river Lengarica in Albania has already been identified and the concession has been signed. The project is classified as a Category B.


In June 2015, a complaint was lodged with CAO by two local residents with the support of the Organic Agriculture Association. The complainants raise issues regarding the impacts of the Lengarica project, alleging that project construction is having negative impacts on biodiversity, critical habitats, and ecotourism livelihoods, among other broader concerns related to project due diligence.  



CAO Action

The complaint was found eligible for assessment in July 2015 and an assessment trip was conducted in September 2015. During the assessment, the parties agreed to engage in a CAO facilitated Dispute Resolution process to try to resolve the issues raised in the complaint. A CAO Assessment Report was subsequently released December 2015.  At the time the complaint was lodged with CAO, the power plant was not commercially operational. Given that the power plant became operational subsequent to the complainants’ decision to commence a dispute resolution process but prior to the commencement of that process, the complainants determined that they were unwilling to meet with the company. This decision ended the CAO dispute resolution process. CAO released the Dispute Resolution Conclusion Report in February 2016.  In accordance with CAO’s Operational Guidelines, the case was transferred to CAO Compliance for appraisal of IFC’s/MIGA’s performance with regard to the project.  


CAO released the compliance appraisal report in May 2016 concluding that the complaint raises substantial issues related to IFC’s appraisal and supervision of the environmental and social (E&S) impacts of the project. These include questions as to: (a) IFC’s pre-investment E&S review of the project, in particular regarding the project’s potential impact on biodiversity and ecosystem services; (b) the application of Performance Standard 6 to the project, in particular given the project’s location in a national park and the presence of rare and/or endangered species in the area; and (c) the application of its consultation and disclosure requirements to the project. As a result, CAO determined that a compliance investigation was warranted.


In June 2016, CAO published Terms of Reference (ToR) for the compliance investigation. A field visit was completed in November 2016.


CAO released the investigation report in October 2018 finding material deficits in IFC’s pre-investment review of the project, particularly regarding alleged biodiversity impacts. Shortcomings included errors and omissions in the client’s Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) related to: (a) the identification of endangered and endemic species; (b) a lack of assessment of cumulative impacts emerging from the construction of multiple hydropower projects in the Lengarica river system; and (c) the lack of assessment of the adequacy of proposed environmental flow metrics. These deficits in IFC’s review were, however, addressed during project implementation as additional biodiversity studies were commissioned and a biodiversity monitoring program was established. Monitoring results to date do not suggest that the construction of the Lengarica HPP has led to measurable adverse impacts on biodiversity. In these circumstances, CAO found that IFC’s supervision has been adequate.


Outstanding issues identified in CAO’s investigation relate to: (a) disclosure of the E&S assessment and monitoring information for the Lengarica HPP; (b) the assessment and mitigation of project impacts on tourism; and (c) the alignment of the Lengarica HPP with the management plan for the Bredhi i Hotovës-Dangelli National Park, within which it is located.


IFC’s official response to the investigation contains an action plan with project-level responses, including aligning the IFC client’s actions with the objectives of the National Park’s management plan, engaging with the tourism community to enable the use of the canyon for recreational activities, and disclosing the project’s environmental and social impact assessment. 


CAO will keep this investigation open for monitoring and issue a monitoring report no later than one year after publication of this investigation.




CAO released its compliance investigation report and IFC’s official response on October 1, 2018.


All documents pertaining to this case, including CAO's compliance appraisal and investigation reports, and IFC’s response, can be found via the "View Documents" link below.


Status as of October 01, 2018

Project information

Project Name & Number
Enso Albania 30979
Enso Hydro Energji Sh Pk
Renewable Energy
Europe & Central Asia
Environmental Category
$8.66 million equity

Case Tracker


  • Eligible: Completed
  • Assessment Period: Completed
  • Facilitating Settlement: Transferred


  • Under Appraisal: Completed
  • Under Audit: Completed
  • Monitoring: In Process