Alto Maipo Project in Chile Under Scrutiny by Independent Accountability Mechanisms of World Bank Group and Inter-American Development Bank

March 19, 2017

Santiago, Chile and Washington, D.C. – Both the Independent Mechanism for Consultation and Investigation (MICI) of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the Compliance Advisor Ombudsman (CAO) of the International Finance Corporation (IFC) have begun to act on complaints on the Alto Maipo Hydroelectric Project to have met eligibility requirements. The complaints were filed by Chilean and international NGOs in January at the Banks’ headquarters in Washington, DC; it has been deemed eligible by the CAO, and the MICI’s deadline to determine eligibility is mid April.

“We have been informed about the eligibility of both complaints, which fills us with satisfaction, as it confirms that the documents submitted to the MICI and CAO are sound,” commented Juan Pablo Orrego of the Chilean NGO Ecosistemas.

The complaints were filed by Ecosistemas and the Coordinadora Ciudadana No Alto Maipo, along with the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL), Natural Resources Defense Council, International Rivers, and Patagonia Inc. They highlight that the IFC’s and IDB’s financing of the controversial Alto Maipo Project lacks compliance with the Banks’ own environmental and social policies, access to information policies, among others.

“This Project implies severe and long-term impacts on the Maipo River and the water supply for the Santiago’s metropolitan region,” highlighted Marcela Mella, spokesperson for the Coordinadora. “We await a visit by both mechanisms, so they can hear directly from those affected, from those bringing the complaint, as well as from representatives from Alto Maipo.”

“The environmental and social policies of the Banks should ensure that a Project does not move forward without the necessary studies, and with clear understanding of its impacts,” added Kelsey Alford-Jones of CIEL. “We are glad to see both the CAO and the MICI fulfilling their role in investigating whether Alto Maipo complies with these standards.”

The process will include a visit to Chile by delegations from the MICI and CAO to obtain information directly from the area affected by the hydroelectric project in Chile.


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*This press release was updated on April 26, 2017 for accuracy after publication.