OPIC to Disclose Detailed Project Information in New Commitment to Transparency
Wednesday, April 08, 2009
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) will significantly expand the volume and breadth of information it discloses to the public about the projects the agency supports, OPIC Acting President Dr. Lawrence Spinelli announced today. In particular, OPIC will enhance the opportunity for public comment on environmentally-sensitive projects that the agency plans to support.
OPIC will post to the agency website brief summaries of environmentally- or socially-sensitive – so-called Category A – projects at least 60 days before OPIC makes a decision to support them. Public comment on the projects will be invited, and considered by OPIC, in advance of the decisions. The summaries will include, for the first time publicly, information such as the rationale for designating the projects Category A, environmental and social standards used in project assessment, and a location for local access to environmental and social project information.
And for all Category A projects and projects scheduled to come before the OPIC Board of Directors, OPIC will post to its website detailed project summaries at least 40 days before OPIC makes a decision to support them. Similarly, public comment will be invited and considered by OPIC before the agency decides to support the projects.
The detailed summaries will include information such as total project costs; potential project impact on the U.S. economy; description of the main environmental and social risks and impacts associated with the project; measures required to mitigate those risks; action required to achieve compliance with applicable environmental and social standards; and description of investors’ engagement with local stakeholders on environmental and social issues. Comment on the projects will be posted on OPIC’s website and provided to the OPIC Board at least seven days before the relevant Board meeting.
“The transparency measures OPIC commits itself to today will not only result in disclosure of an unprecedented breadth of information about OPIC projects, and in particular Category A projects, but involve public comment in the OPIC decision-making process at a new level,” Dr. Spinelli said. “We do so based on a firm conviction that transparency of operations is the best way to ensure that government is accountable to the public and in response to President Obama’s call for government to be more open and transparent.”
Dr. Spinelli also announced that OPIC would revise its environmental hand book, last updated in 2004, to include information about policy requirements that OPIC applies to its projects. The new document will be named the OPIC Environmental and Social Policy Statement.
Other new steps include:
• posting summaries of all OPIC-supported projects to the agency website; previously, only summaries of Board-approved projects were posted;
• posting summaries of the findings of third-party audits to the OPIC website;
• posting quarterly listings of subprojects of OPIC-supported investment funds to the agency website; previously, subprojects were posted annually.