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Opic Env Handbook

Opic Env Handbook

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Published by Nadine Kadri

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Published by: Nadine Kadri on Jun 27, 2012
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OPIC Environmental Handbook (February 2004)
 
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OPIC’s Mission Statement
OPIC’s mission is to mobilize and facilitate the participation of United States privatecapital and skills in the economic and social development of less developed countries andareas, and countries in transition from nonmarket to market economies. In accomplishingits mission, OPIC will promote positive U.S. effects and host country developmenteffects. OPIC will assure that the projects it supports are consistent with soundenvironmental and worker rights standards. In conducting its programs, OPIC will alsotake into account guidance from the Administration and Congress on a country’sobservance of, and respect for, human rights. In accomplishing its mission, OPIC willoperate on a self-sustaining basis.
 
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Introduction: Statement of Purpose and Objectives
This Handbook is intended to provide information to OPIC’s users, as well as theinterested public, with respect to the general environmental guidelines, assessment andmonitoring procedures that OPIC applies, in its discretion, to prospective and ongoinginvestment projects. The standards and procedures described in this Handbook generallyreflect existing practice at OPIC as it has evolved since the enactment in 1985 of statutory environmental provisions applicable to OPIC. (The environmental provisionscontained in OPIC’s statute are reprinted in Appendix A.) (OPIC is also subject toExecutive Order 12114,“Environmental Effects Abroad of Major Federal Actions.”Environmental Assessment Procedures for EO 12114 are included inAppendix A.). Additionally, the Handbook reflects general policy initiatives announced by PresidentClinton at the United Nations Special Session on the Environment in June of 1997 as wellas comments from OPIC’s users and other members of the public, during the February 25to June 24, 1998 comment period in response to OPIC’s publication of the Handbook inthe Federal Register. The provisions noted in this Handbook apply to all political risk insurance, project finance and OPIC-supported financial intermediaries unless otherwisenoted.Since 1985, OPIC has been required by statute to assess the environmental impacts of projects under consideration for political risk insurance and financing. OPIC’sauthorizing statute was also amended at that time to direct the Corporation to declineassistance to projects posing a “major or unreasonable hazard to the environment, healthor safety” or resulting in the “significant degradation of a national park or similarprotected area.” OPIC was also directed to operate its programs consistent with the intentof sections 117, 118 and 119 of the Foreign Assistance Act relating to environmentalimpact assessment, tropical forests, biological diversity and endangered species. Thenand since Congress has continued to express its intent that “great care…be paid toassuring the environmental soundness of U.S. Government supported foreign assistanceprojects.” This is particularly important given OPIC’s self-sustaining mandate. OPICstrongly supports these principles on their own merits.Over the years OPIC has worked with counterpart organizations providing similarservices to investors in the U.S., overseas and on a multilateral basis as environmentalprocedures were developed. Many of the OPIC standards and procedures described inthis Handbook are also applied by organizations such as the International FinanceCorporation (IFC
 
)and the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA), both affiliates of theWorld Bank ; the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development(EBRD); and theU.S. Export-Import Bank .In OPIC’s experience, the progressive harmonization of standards and procedures similar to those used bythese and othersimilar organizations worldwide has facilitated co-financing and co-insurancearrangements and made it simpler for clients to address environmental requirements.While the issuance of this Handbook as a final rather than a draft document is intended toprovide OPIC users and the public with a consistent framework for interacting with OPICon environmental matters, we recognize that the field of environmental assessment and

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