Summary of the Request
The Request describes the situation that the communities would face for the future construction and operation of the Radomiro Tomic Desalination Plant on the coastline of the Tocopilla commune, in the Antofagasta Region, Chile. In the document, the Requesters describe potential effects on their living and economic conditions, cultural heritage, security and physical integrity, health and the social fabric of the communities. In the same way they warn of possible negative damages to the environment and their corresponding impact on their livelihood activities and traditional ways of life. Specifically, the Requesters state that:
IDB Invest would have breached the provisions of its Operating Policies, as well as in reference to the performance standards of the International Finance Corporation. This alleged non-compliance refers to a series of actions and omissions, among which the absence of an adequate and complete evaluation of environmental impacts, without the perspective of cumulative impacts; absence of an adequate evaluation of social impacts, preventing the total identification of those affected and the characterization of the population, especially of the indigenous population living in the area and which would be significantly impacted. Similarly, they allege that an adequate consultation and participation procceses were not carried out, that the Project poses insufficient compensation measures and the existence of inadequate procedures to guarantee access to information to the affected communities.
The Request describes numerous negative environmental effects both for the construction stage and operation of the Plant, which would mainly impact the coastal ecosystem and that would have negative implications for traditional fishing activities, main economic activity of the Requesters, as well as on their servitude rights. Additionally, they warn of future negative impacts on their health due to the increase in pollution, as well as effects on communities due to the migration of workers and the increase in vehicular traffic due to the presence of the Plant.
Finally, the Request highlights potential effects on cultural heritage, traditional ways of life and alteration of the social fabric of coastal communities, coupled with a lack of gender perspective of the impact on women in the community that the Project would have.
In relation to the MICI process, they state that they wish to resort to both the Consultation Phase and that of the Verification of Enforcement, if their request is declared eligible.
On January 24, 2020, the MICI notified the Requesters that the Request was not registered because one of the exclusions provided in the MICI-IIC Policy applied. Specifically, paragraph 19 literal (e) states that Requests related to operations that have not yet been approved by the Board of Executive Directors are excluded.
As established by the Policy, the Request was transferred to Bank Management, so that they are the ones to respond at this stage. Finally, the Requesters were informed about the possibility of resubmitting their Request to the MICI in case they consider that their concerns have not been addressed within a reasonable period, once the operation is approved.