A workshop to support the implementation of the new World Bank Environmental and Social Framework (ESF) has commenced at the Alisa Hotel in Accra, Monday February 26, 2018.
The four-day Borrower Workshop which will run from February 26 to March 1 aims at providing a comprehensive understanding of the new environmental and social requirements applicable to investment projects it finances starting October 2018.
Speaking at the first orientation session, Country Director for World Bank, Ghana, Liberia and Sierra Leone, Henry Kerali hinted that, the newly approved Environmental and Social Framework (ESF) by World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors is not an overhaul of the Bank’s existing Safeguards.
According to him, the framework is only an upgrade of the current safeguard policies issued nearly 20 years ago which will promote better and lasting development outcomes.
“The Environmental and social safeguards that the World Bank has had in place for over 40 years is designed as a series or set of procedures, policies to protect the people and the environment whenever the World Bank is financing a project. The ESF is not a radical change from that.” he said.
“It is still going to be used for accessing and managing environmental and social impacts of World Bank projects but those in projects financed through our Investment Project Finance (IPF) instrument.” He added.
Mr Kerali indicated that the framework will apply to all new Bank investment projects when it launches in 2018 adding that the Bank’s current safeguards will run in parallel to the ESF for about seven years to govern projects approved before the effectiveness date of the ESF.
He further revealed that out of the 54 countries in Africa, Ghana is fortunate to be the first country on the continent and globally, only the second country to host the borrower workshop.
“I’m pleased to note that Ghana is the first country in Africa where this Borrow workshop is being held and that is a testament to your own policies, the strength of your own policies, regulations and of course the institutional structures that Ghana has had.
Kerali maintained that, “Ghana deserves to be the first country in Africa to have this borrow workshop and I hope that you will take the opportunity to be able to give your own experience… In fact I should say that Ghana is only the second country in the whole world where this workshop is being held.”
The Borrower Workshop consists of a half day presentation to high level Government officials; a two-day technical training for project implementation staff; and half day awareness session with other stakeholders, including civil society and the private sector.
The framework brings the World Bank’s environmental and social protections into closer harmony with those of other development institutions, and makes important advances in areas such as transparency, non-discrimination, social inclusion, public participation, and accountability – including expanded roles for grievance redress mechanisms.
The ESF is the result of the most extensive consultations ever conducted by the World Bank, with nearly four years of analysis and engagement around the world with governments, development experts, and civil society groups, reaching nearly 8,000 stakeholders in 63 countries.
The new framework provides a broad coverage of environmental and social issues, including important advances on transparency, non-discrimination, social inclusion, public participation and accountability.
The ESF also places more emphasis on building Borrower governments’ own capacity to deal with environmental and social issues.
The World Bank’s environmental and social policies aim to ensure that the people and the environment are protected from the potential adverse impacts of the projects it finances such as building a road, connecting people to electricity, or treating waste water.
The policies help identify, avoid, and minimize harm to people and the environment.