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New Disclosure and Safeguard Policies to Take Effect October 1, 2007

On August 28, 2007, MIGA’s Board of Directors approved new Policy and Performance Standards on Social and Environmental Sustainability, and a new Policy on Disclosure of Information. These policies are designed to achieve harmonization to the extent possible with the IFC’s new policies, which were arrived at after an extensive review and consultation process.

The new policies will reinforce MIGA’s role as a multilateral development agency and its business model built around openness and transparency. They will also help strengthen the environmental and social standards that the agency already applies to projects it supports. While drawing on the IFC policies, there will be some differences for MIGA, reflecting the agency’s role as an insurance provider rather than as a lender or equity investor.

Policies Safeguard Social and Environmental Standards

These policies define MIGA’s roles and responsibilities in supporting project performance in partnership with clients. MIGA expects to ensure positive development outcomes relating to social and environmental sustainability by supporting investments that meet a comprehensive set of performance standards. These address social and environmental assessment and management; labor and working conditions; pollution prevention and abatement; community, health, safety and security; land acquisition and involuntary resettlement; biodiversity conservation and sustainable natural resources management; indigenous peoples; and cultural heritage.

Disclosure Policy Enhances Transparency

The new disclosure policy aims to enhance transparency and promote good governance, with a view to increasing MIGA’s development effectiveness and strengthening public trust in the agency. The policy defines MIGA’s obligations to disclose information about itself and its activities. The agency will disclose summaries for all projects and public summaries of the expected environmental and social impacts for projects where such impacts are expected to be significant. MIGA will also disclose institutional information relating to its budget, business plans, and quarterly financial statements.

MIGA’s new Social and Environmental Sustainability policy is available in EnglishSpanish, and French. MIGA’s new Disclosure Policy is available in EnglishSpanish, and French.

Summary of Consultations

Prior to Board approval, MIGA made the draft policies on social and environmental sustainability and disclosure available for public comment. Part of the public review and comment process included a 60-day consultation period hosted on MIGA’s website. MIGA launched the online review by sending invitations to comment to more than 6,000 stakeholders, including clients, investors and lenders, NGOs, and academics. In addition to the online consultation, MIGA met with stakeholders—including South-South and other investors, banks, insurance partners, and NGOs—in Washington, DC, and around the world to discuss the proposed changes.

Comments received were generally positive, particularly with regard to harmonizing standards with the IFC and monitoring impacts on local communities of sensitive projects. Consistent with recommendations made to the IFC, a few NGOs urged MIGA to adopt policies that would allow for free, prior, and informed consent rather than free, prior, and informed consultation with local communities to gain broad community support. And they also called for greater disclosure, including by MIGA’s Board. MIGA considered these suggestions, but in order to remain consistent with the IFC’s policies, decided that they could not be adopted. For more on the process, click here.

Policies Take Effect October 1, 2007

The new policies will take effect for all new projects whose definitive applications are filed from October 1, 2007, onwards. MIGA will monitor its experience with the new policies to see if any modifications are warranted in the future.

For more information, contact Judith Pearce at 202-473-4632, or by email at jpearce@worldbank.org.

 

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