Environmental Civic Assembly of Gualeguaychú (Assamblea Ciudadana Ambiental de Gualeguaychú), Argentina
The Orion project is a greenfield eucalyptus kraft pulp mill in Uruguay, adjacent to the international boundary between Uruguay and Argentina. This complaint was submitted by the Environmental Civic Assembly of Gualeguaychú, an Argentine civic association/non-governmental organization that represents the interest of residents of Gualeguaychú. It raises concerns about the environmental monitoring of the project and its’ credibility regarding odors and air emissions emanating from the plants, water pollution, impacts to community health, and trans-border issues. Furthermore, complainants argue that what they feared as potential impacts are currently being manifested and experienced across the international boundary. This is the second complaint CAO received regarding this project. The first was filed in September 2005 by the Centre for Human Rights and Environment, an Argentine non-governmental organization.
The Ombudsman assessment involved interviews with key stakeholders, and reviewed of current status of this case in other international fora. Based on the information provided by both parties during the assessment period, CAO Ombudsman concluded that the situation was not amenable to joint fact finding, mediation or alternative dispute resolution approaches. In January 2010, the case was transferred to CAO Compliance for appraisal.
CAO released the appraisal on March 15, 2010, with the following findings:
• Emissions to air and water have been thoroughly addressed by IFC during the assessment phase, and the monitoring and reporting demonstrate that IFC assured itself of the Project’s performance against applicable requirements.
• There is no indication that IFC did not assure itself that the independent verification of the monitoring fulfills the applicable IFC requirement.
• There are no indications that IFC failed to assure itself of the applicability of OP 7.50.
• This case does not fulfill the criteria for further investigation in the form of an audit.
CAO has closed appraisal of this case with no further action.