IFC PS6

International Finance Corporation (IFC)  Performance Standard 6  (PS6) represents international best practice for biodiversity management. The objectives of PS6 are to protect and conserve biodiversity and habitats, encourage the implementation of the mitigation hierarchy and promote sustainable management of living natural resources.

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TBC works closely with IFC and other lenders, advising on the design of their policies and standards, and helping assess project alignment. Through this close working relationship, TBC offers a unique skill-set to clients wishing to fulfil the requirements of PS6.

The basic targets are clear and simple: a net gain for Critical Habitat and no net loss for Natural Habitat. In practice, defining Critical Habitat and demonstrating net gain with the appropriate level of confidence can be challenging. Key steps for aligning with PS6 comprise:

  • Critical Habitat Assessment (PS6 Paragraph 16): assessing the biodiversity importance of an area (e.g. threatened and restricted-range species and ecosystems, protected areas) in comparison to their global distributions or population sizes
  • Mitigation Design (PS6 Paragraph 17): described in a Biodiversity Action Plan, for impacts on Critical Habitat and Natural Habitat
  • Offset Design (PS6 Paragraphs 10 & 18): design of compensatory offsets for significant residual adverse impacts, “after appropriate avoidance, minimisation and restoration measures have been applied”.
  • Protected Area assessment (PS6 Paragraph 20): meeting the requirements for Critical Habitat and Natural Habitat, where appropriate
  • Monitoring and Evaluation Design (PS6 Paragraphs 17-18): a long-term programme sufficient to assess the status of Critical Habitat and demonstrate biodiversity gains.

Application of PS6 is very site-specific, depending on the species, ecosystems, quality of baseline data and existing biodiversity management. Fulfilling the requirements of PS6 is a significant undertaking, hence alignment is best initiated at the very start of project planning, and integrated with the development of an environmental impact assessment.

Case studies

In 2012, QMM Madagascar, with TBC’s support, set out to align to IFC PS6 standards by achieving net gain for ‘Critical Habitat’ and no net loss for ‘Natural Habitat’

In partnership with Fauna & Flora International (FFI) and local partners, TBC helped the Oyu Tolgoi project in Mongolia towards meeting the requirements of IFC PS6/European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) Performance Requirement 6, resulting in the first publicly available complete PS6 documentation, which has set a benchmark for other large infrastructure projects.