A $70 million loan that the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the Bank’s private sector arm, provided in March 2013 to the Danish company Axzon to expand its industrial pig farming in western Ukraine, has come under increased pressure from local communities and civil society groups. In February, affected communities in the Ivano-Frankivsk region lodged a complaint with the Compliance Advisor Ombudsman (CAO), the IFC’s accountability mechanism, criticising the company for producing air pollution and odour harmful to the health and well-being of local citizens thereby infringing their human rights. The complaint also raises concerns about potential ground and water pollution, the breach of national laws in constructing farms dangerously close to villages and severe limitations in access to information on the company’s environmental impact and public participation in decision making. The CAO found the complaint eligible and has begun an assessment.
EarthRights International examines how the Jam v. IFC case has helped to shift the landscape of accountability for international financial institutions by successfully challenging their claim to “absolute” immunity in US courts, potentially opening IFC up to further legal challenges in future.
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