The Government of Liberia (GoL) has developed comprehensive legislation for the management of the country’s physical, biological and human environment but is still working on its regulations and administrative structures. To the extent possible, Liberian laws and regulations will be applied; otherwise international best practice guidelines will be adopted and adapted. However, as this is to be a World Bank funded initiative, should a conflict arise between Bank Operational Policies and Liberian Government policies and procedures, the former must take precedence if the Bank is to continue to be involved in the funding or the project.
World Bank safeguard policy
The World Bank requires environmental and social assessments for all projects it finances. It aims to prevent and mitigate undue harm to people and their environment in the development process, while at the same time provide a platform for the participation of stakeholders in project design and implementation. The World Bank's Environmental and Social Safeguard Policies are:
Table 2:Environmental Assessment (OP 4.01)
Table 3:Natural Habitats (OP 4.04
Table 4:Pest Management (OP4.09)
Table 5:Indigenous Peoples (OP4.10)
Table 6:Physical and Cultural Resources (OP4.11)
Table 7:Involuntary Resettlement (OP4.12)
Table 8:Forests (OP4.36)
Table 9:Safety of Dams (4.37)
Table 10:Projects on International Waterways (OP 7.50)
Table 11:Projects in Disputed Areas (7.60)
The Safeguard Policies obviously relevant to the proposed project are OP 4.01 and OP 4.09. OP 4.04 and OP 4.36 may be relevant if new farm/plantation blocks are promoted. Given that the proposed project focuses on settled smallholder support, it is unlikely that OP 4.11 and OP 4.12 will be relevant. However, as a precautionary measure, provision has been made in the screening process for the possibility of ‘chance finds’ to ensure that neither situation applies. If either of these situations are identified within a proposed subproject site, the ESMP for the subproject will need to include a management plan consistent with OP 4.11 or OP 4.12 to protect them. The other four safeguard policies are not considered to have any relevance for the proposed project.
Environmental Assessment (OP 4.01)
This policy requires an environmental and social impact assessment (EA) of projects/programs proposed for Bank financing to help ensure that they are environmentally sound and sustainable, and thus to improve decision making. This policy is triggered if a project is likely to have potential adverse environmental or social risks and impacts in its area of influence (as may be the case within the proposed STCRSP). EA is a process whose breadth, depth, and type of analysis depend on the nature, scale, and potential environmental impact of the program subprojects. The ESIA process takes into account the natural environment (air, water, and land); human health and safety; social aspects (involuntary resettlement, indigenous peoples, and cultural property) and transboundary and global environmental aspects. For all Category A projects – those with significant potential impacts -- OP 4.01 requires that the borrower engages independent consultants to prepare a full environmental and social impact assessment (ESIA) that includes an environmental and social management plan (ESMP). Another requirement is that primary stakeholders (i.e. project-affected groups and local nongovernmental organizations) need to be consulted about the project's environmental aspects and their views taken into account. These stakeholders need to be consulted at least twice: (a) early in the ESIA process and (b) as part of the review of the draft ESIA report [or in the case of the proposed project the ESMF]. In addition, the stakeholders should be consulted and kept informed about environmental and social related issues that affect them throughout project implementation.
For Category B projects, which have impacts of lesser significance, a less extensive environmental analysis is required, and this often takes the form of a stand-alone ESMP. The borrower or project developer is required to consult project-affected groups including indigenous peoples and local Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs) regarding the project, though not necessarily as extensively as for Category A, and from the consultations incorporate views into the final document.
Pest Management (OP 4.09)
Rural development and health sector projects have to avoid using harmful pesticides. A preferred solution is to use Integrated Pest Management (IPM) techniques and encourage their use in the whole of the sectors concerned. If pesticides have to be used in crop protection or in the fight against vector-borne diseases, the Bank-funded project should include a Pest Management Plan (PMP), prepared by the borrower, either as a stand-alone document or as part of an Environmental Assessment.
This policy is designed to strengthen capacity of the beneficiary country’s regulatory framework and institutions to promote and support safe, effective and environmentally sound pest management (i.e. to promote the use of biological or environmental control and to avoid using harmful pesticides4 . It applies to all projects involving pest management, whether or not the project finances pesticides. More specifically the policy aims to:
Ascertain that pest management activities in Bank-financed operations are based on integrated approaches and seek to reduce reliance on synthetic chemical pesticides (Integrated Pest Management (IPM) in agricultural projects and Integrated Vector Management (IVM) in public health projects).
Ensure that no pesticides in Classes Ia or 1b of the WHO Classification of Pesticides are procured, and that pesticides in Class II are only procured when there are adequate controls and safeguards in effect in the country.
Ensure that health and environmental hazards associated with pest management, especially the use of pesticides, are minimized and can be properly managed by the user.
As necessary, support policy reform and institutional capacity development to (i) enhance implementation of IPM-based pest management, and (ii) regulate and monitor the distribution and use of pesticides.
This policy is triggered whenever the procurement of pesticides or pesticide application equipment is envisaged directly or indirectly by a project and thus will apply to the proposed project where a subproject includes the use of pesticides as part of the revitalization process. Thus pest and pesticide management issues relevant to the project are addressed in this report and a Pest Management Plan (PMP) has been prepared to cover the anticipated project and Bank requirements (see Annex F). As is required, the PMP list the pesticides authorized for procurement under the project.
Public Consultation and Disclosure requirements are those required under the EA policy (OP 4.01).
Natural Habitats (OP 4.04)
This policy seeks to ensure that World Bank-supported development projects take into account the conservation of biodiversity, as well as the numerous environmental services and products which natural habitats provide to human society. The policy strictly limits the circumstances under which any Bank-supported project can damage natural habitats (land and water areas where most of the native plant and animal species are still present).
Specifically, the policy prohibits Bank support for projects which will lead to the significant loss or degradation of any Critical Natural Habitats, whose definition includes those natural habitats which are either:
Furthermore, the Bank expects Borrowers to apply, a precautionary approach to natural resource management to ensure opportunities for environmentally sustainable development. Other (non-critical) natural habitats can only be converted for a Bank supported project when there are no feasible alternatives to achieve the project's objectives and the project’s benefits clearly outweigh its environmental costs. In cases where natural habitat is to be converted, acceptable mitigation measures or offsets, such as compensatory protected areas, must be included within the project.
The Natural Habitats Policy is triggered by any project (including any subproject under a sector investment or financial intermediary loan) with the potential to cause significant conversion (loss) or degradation of natural habitats, whether directly (through construction) or indirectly (through human activities induced by the project).
Natural habitats are land and water areas where most of the original native plant and animal species are still present (see OP 4.04, Annex A for full definition). Natural habitats comprise many types of terrestrial, freshwater, coastal, and marine ecosystems. They include areas lightly modified by human activities, but retaining their ecological functions and most native species.
In projects subject to the Natural Habitats Policy, the public consultation and document disclosure requirements are those required under the OP 4.01.
Forests (OP 4.36)
This policy aims to reduce deforestation, enhance the environmental contribution of forested areas, promote afforestation, reduce poverty, and encourage economic development. Indeed, although combating deforestation and promoting sustainable forest conservation and management are important international policy targets, the world's forests and forest dependent people continue to experience unacceptably high rates of forest loss and degradation. As moreover forests play an increasingly important role in poverty alleviation, the World Bank has developed a revised approach to forestry issues.
Success in establishing sustainable forest conservation and management practices depends not only on changing the behavior of all critical stakeholders, but also on a wide range of partnerships to accomplish what no country, government agency, donor, or interest group can do alone. The proposed Forest Strategy suggests three equally important and interdependent pillars to guide future Bank involvement with forests:
Harnessing the potential of forests to reduce poverty,
Integrating forests in sustainable economic development, and
Protecting vital local and global environmental services and forest values.
The forestry policy is obviously closely integrated with the Natural Habitats OP/BP 4.04
The policy is triggered by whenever any Bank-financed investment project (i) has the potential to have impacts on the health and quality of forests or the rights and welfare of people and their level of dependence upon or interaction with forests; or (ii) aims to bring about changes in the management, protection or utilization of natural forests or plantations. A provision of OP 4.36 that is particularly relevant to STCRSP is that the Bank does not finance plantations that involve conversion or degradation of critical natural habitats and that it gives preference to siting such projects on unforested sites or lands already converted.
The Bank requires Borrowers to identify and consult the groups interested in forest areas likely to be affected by Bank-financed invest projects in and beyond the forest sector. The disclosure requirements as set out in OP 4.01 apply to all projects affecting forests.
Physical and Cultural Resources (OP4.11)
This policy addresses physical cultural resources which are defined as movable or immovable objects, sites, structures, groups of structures, and natural features and landscapes that have archaeological, paleontological, historical, architectural, religious, aesthetic, or other cultural significance. Physical cultural resources are important as sources of valuable scientific and historical information, as assets for economic and social development, and as integral parts of a people’s cultural identity and practices.
The objective is this policy is to assist countries to avoid or mitigate adverse impacts on physical cultural resources from development projects that the World Bank finances. The impacts on physical cultural resources resulting from project activities, including mitigating measures, may not contravene either the borrower’s national legislation, or its obligations under relevant international environmental treaties and agreements.
The Bank will normally decline to finance a subproject that will significantly damage non-replicable cultural property, and will assist only those sub projects that are sited or designed so as to prevent such damage.
Involuntary Resettlement (OP 4.12)
The World Bank requires that every possible effort is made to avoid impacts on people, land and property, including people’s access to natural and other economic resources. The objective of this policy is to:
Avoid or minimize involuntary resettlement where feasible, exploring all viable alternative project designs.
Where resettlement is unavoidable resettlement activities should be conceived and executed as sustainable development programs, providing sufficient investment resources to enable displaced persons to share in project benefits.
Displaced persons should be meaningfully consulted and should have opportunities to participate in planning and implementation of resettlement programs.
Displaced persons should be assisted in their efforts to improve their livelihoods and standards of living or restore them to at least in real terms, to pre-displacement levels.
When the policy is triggered and the subproject sites are well known, preparation of a Resettlement Action Plan (RAP) is required as a condition of project appraisal. An Abbreviated Resettlement Action Plan (ARAP) may be developed where less than 200 persons are affected by the project or where the impacts are minor (no one is physically displaced or loses more than 10 percent of their land). Where subproject sites or specific locations for project activities are not known during project preparation, the policy require the development of a Resettlement Policy Framework (RPF) which will serve as a guide to further preparation of a RAP or ARAP during project implementation when the later are required.