15 June 2018

MHP Complaint Found Eligible by the World Bank’s Accountability Office, the CAO

Ten days ago, three communities in the central Ukraine region of Vinnytsia filed complaints to the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) criticizing the lack of transparency and surrounding environmental and health risks posed by the ‘largest poultry farm in Europe’. Today, the IFC’s accountability office, the Compliance Advisor Ombudsman (CAO), notified community members that their complaint is eligible. The CAO will now begin its assessment process, during which it will work with complainants and other stakeholders to determine how the complaint will proceed. Villagers are requesting the CAO to facilitate a dialogue process with the company operating the Vinnytsia Poultry Farm, poultry giant Myronivsky Hliboproduct (MHP), to answer their questions and address their concerns.

The Vinnytsia Poultry Farm is only half complete, but it is already massive, housing over 17 million chickens tightly quartered in hundreds of chicken houses. And chicken rearing is just the beginning. The farm and associated agro-industrial operations also include a slaughterhouse, manure storage, and wastewater treatment plant, plus over 25,000 hectares of cropland and facilities to grow and process feed for the chickens.

The complaints allege that, since the start of operations in Vinnytsia in 2010, MHP has caused continuous odor and dust from a significant and growing number of facilities and the application of manure on nearby fields, making local life untenable. MHP activities have also led to a drastic increase in heavy vehicle traffic through villages, resulting in damage to roads and nearby residences, and risks from pollution to air, water, and soil have not been studied properly, the complaint says. As MHP begins ramping up the next phase of development of its massive Vinnytsia Poultry Farm, community members fear that these problems will only intensify.

Together with CEE Bankwatch and Kyiv-based Ecoaction, Accountability Counsel is supporting community members throughout the complaint process, including working closely with them to ensure they understand and can effectively navigate the CAO’s assessment process. The assessment is a critical phase of the complaint process, as the CAO will use it to determine whether a facilitated dialogue is possible in this case. Community members believe that a facilitated dialogue will provide a forum in which to discuss feasible, concrete steps that MHP can take to mitigate impacts in their villages, and they believe that this process can also help improve MHP’s operations across Ukraine.

For more information, see our Ukraine case page. The IFC complaint can be viewed here and the EBRD complaint (which is still being reviewed) here. See also Bankwatch’s page about MHP.