President Robert Zoellick
The World Bank
1818 H Street, NW
Washington, DC 20433
October 15, 2008
RE: The IFC Should Suspend Lending to the Russkiy Mir 2 Project
On behalf of the local population of the Taman Peninsula (Russia) and environmental civil society organizations concerned about the situation on the peninsula, we would like to again bring your attention to the problems associated with the Russkiy Mir 2 Project. The group of companies, “Russkiy Mir,” received a loan from the IFC for the construction of a gas and oil terminal on the Taman Peninsula. The company Tamanneftegas—which is part of the group of companies, “Russkiy Mir” is implementing this project.
Unfortunately, the situation has not improved since October of last year when we sent our previous appeal to you. The implementation of the project, as before, is inflicting serious environmental and social damage on the natural environment and population of the Taman Peninsula. Furthermore, there is no compensation for this damage. Tamanneftegas has even stopped provision of the insufficient support it was previously providing to the Taman rural seettlement. Tamanneftegas has made no efforts to improve the existing critical situation. As of the present time, three complaints have been sent to the Office of the CAO of the IFC, which are related to the current environmental and social problems.
The politics of the company are replicated in many ways by the Russkiy Mir 2 project team, headed by Richard Eckrich, which refused to meet with interested members of civil society. Specifically, the project team would not meet with us during this year’s annual meeting of the World Bank.
This situation inflicts serious damage to the reputation of the World Bank, particularly because the incorrect categorization of the Russkiy Mir 2 project provides the basis for the belief that the entire loan was given in violation of Bank standards.
From the beginning, environmental organizations and local civil society were categorically against the provision of the IFC loan to this project because its implementation destroys the possibility of sustainable development of the Taman Peninsula, devastates its unique natural and cultural heritage, and poses a threat of environmental disaster. Environmental organizations and civil society warned the Board of Directors of the World Bank of these concerns before the decision to provide the loan was made. Unfortunately, this opinion was ignored. We believe that the project team and each individual member of the Board of Directors of the World Bank who ignored this warning bears personal responsibility for the environmental and social threats associated with the Russkiy Mir 2 project.
The problems with the Russkiy Mir 2 project could lead to a repeat of the situation with the Chad Cameroon Pipeline project, which has completely failed to carry out the mission and policies of the World Bank.
However, in spite of the existing problems, the World Bank has not carried out any sanctions against the Russkiy Mir 2 project. Three and a half years have already passed since civil society began protesting against the project; the project is inflicting damages which are not being compensated and no progress is being made. This gives civil society and the local population on the Taman Peninsula the impression that the social and environmental responsibility of the World Bank with regard to the Russkiy Mir 2 project amounts to nothing more than words.
In order for the group of companies, Russkiy Mir, to understand the seriousness of the situation and begin to correct the existing problems, we request that you to suspend allocation of the terms of the loan to the Russkiy Mir 2 project until the CAO office of the IFC has completed its review of all of the complaints related to this project.
We look forward to receiving your response.
Coordinator of the public organization, “Environmental Watch on the North Caucasus”
Ul. Poselkovaya 36,
Tel./Fax: +7(8772)540607, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Co-Coordinator of the public organization, “Saving Taman!” and Deputy of the Taman Rural Municipality
353555, Krasnodar Krai, Temriuk Raion, Taman,
Ul. Lermontova 21,
Tel: +7(918)4554986, email: Taman-Igor@nullyandex.ru
8 East Mason Avenue,
Alexandria, VA 22301