Rural sector support project preliminary environmental analysis table of contents



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RWANDA
RURAL SECTOR SUPPORT PROJECT
PRELIMINARY ENVIRONMENTAL ANALYSIS

TABLE OF CONTENTS


1. introduction 1

1.1 In this Preliminary Environmental Analysis (EA), the potential environmental impacts of the Rwanda Rural Sector Support Project are analyzed and mitigation measures are proposed. The Rural Sector Support Project (RSSP) would assist the Government of Rwanda (GOR) to revitalize the rural economy and thereby increase rural incomes, reduce poverty and reinforce national stability. It would provide support to the rural sector over a 14 year period; the total (IDA) loan is envisaged to amount to US$ 156 million. 1

1.2 The EA is written in accordance with World Bank Operational Policies 4.01 (Environmental Assessment), OP 4.04 (Natural Habitats), OP 7.50 (international waterways) and OP 4.09 (Pest Management). It is based on field observations and discussions with government officials, environmental experts, NGOs and villagers. This EA included three weeks of field work, divided between two missions, in order to conduct field assessments and public hearings among local stakeholders. An initial draft of the EA was completed following the first mission in September 2000. Prior to the second mission in November, comments were received from the World Bank environmental review team, and have been included in the present version. Finally, in addition to the environmental analysis, a socio-economic assessment was undertaken during project preparation; the main positive and negative socio-economic impacts are briefly summarized in the EA. 1

1.3 The approach taken in the development of the present version of the preliminary EA was the following. The description of the environmental and institutional background was based on the previously prepared draft environmental analysis. Next, further screening of the potential environmental impacts of the RSSP was conducted on the basis of field visits and discussions with the major stakeholders involved (farmers, NGOs, and the Ministries of Agriculture, Environment and Natural Resources). The World Bank Environmental Assessment Sourcebook was used as a reference. In response to the significant potential impacts, a draft environmental mitigation and monitoring plan was prepared, discussed and fine-tuned with the three ministries relevant to the project and the World Bank appraisal team (during the field phase of the mission). 1

1.4 In response to the limited amount of environmental data presently available in Rwanda (particularly with respect to current land use, biodiversity, hydrology, etc.); absence of environmental policies and procedures in the country; relatively weak environmental institutions, and need for additional detail and site specificity associated with the RSSP components, the EA recommends that the programme be classified as an A project. If programme design could be modified providing for a phased approach placing greater emphasis on the development of much needed baseline information, greater project detail and site specificity, and institutional capacity, a B classification may be justified. In either case, three principal additional safeguards should be included in the programme’s mitigation plan (as described in detail in chapter 6): (i) on-site regional and sub-project specific environmental assessments of all programme activities with a potential environmental impact; (ii) employment of an international environmental consultant for a total of 12 months during the first three years of the RSSP; and (iii) provision for an extensive environmental review following the completion of the programme’s first phase for purposes of incorporating the results of several RAAP-supported environmental studies and the updating of the environmental mitigation plan for the 2nd and 3rd phases. 1

2. PROJECT DESCRIPTION 2

2.1 The RSSP would be in the form of an Adaptable Program Loan. The overall program, as described in the Project Appraisal Document (PAD), will consist of three consecutive phases implemented over a period of 14 years with the first phase lasting 4 years and the second and third phase each lasting 5 years. After the first phase, an evaluation of the project achievements and the validity of the objectives and the components of the subsequent phases will be made, and the activities of the 2nd and 3rd phase will be defined in more detail. The main project components of the first phase are described below. 2

2.2 Component 1. Rehabilitation of Farmed Marshland and Hill-Side Areas. This component would provide the financial and technical opportunities to farmers to improve the efficiency of the cultivation of marshlands and hill-sides. The component would only support agricultural activities in wetlands that are currently being exploited for agricultural purposes. It is foreseen that about 6,000 ha of wetlands would be included in the first phase of the project (see Annex B). Rehabilitation of hillsides includes mainly the construction of progressive and radical terraces on cultivated land; it is envisaged to construct terraces on a total of about 60,000 ha of hillsides. The large majority would be in the form of progressive terraces; radical terraces, which require much higher labor inputs, would only be supported on a limited scale. The component would follow a catchment approach (i.e., applying a catchment planning framework which would guide programme-supported field rehabilitation activities interventions in both wetlands and hillsides). An overview of the envisaged development models is presented in table 1. The farmers are expected to formulate subproject proposals themselves (with technical assistance of extension officers trained under the project), and they would be paid for their labor contribution. 2

2.3 Component 2. Integrated Management of Critical Ecosystems. The Program’s objective under this component would be to strengthen the capacity of local communities to effectively manage critical ecosystems. This component would be funded by the Global Environmental Facility (GEF). Envisaged activities include: (i) development of an enabling environment for sustainable resource use. This would include the development of National Wetlands Policy and a National Strategy and Action Plan for the Conservation and Sustainable Use of Wetlands; (ii) assessment of the biodiversity of critical wetlands and the identification of wetlands of global significance and priority areas/hotspots for intervention; development and implementation of community-based integrated management plans; (iii) capacity building and institution strengthening in decentralized integrated natural resources management; and (iv) development of an Environmental Information System (EIS). Activities (i) and (ii) would be closely coordinated with the formulation of the Master Plan for wetland management, to be funded by the African Development Bank (ADB). 3

2.4 Component 3. Promotion of Export Agriculture. This component would seek to strengthen the capacities of export crop farmers and exporters to manage their commercial and technical activities and thereby raise the productivity and competitiveness in Rwanda’s export sectors. It would focus on coffee and tea (traditional Rwandan export crops), flowers and various fruit species. 3

2.5 Component 4. Support to Agricultural Services Delivery Systems. The Program’s objective under this component is to strengthen the capacities of lead public institutions, farmer associations, and SLOs to participate in the delivery of research and extension services. In order to mitigate the risk of increased use of pesticides (in particular on vegetables, rice and potatoes), the RSSP would include an integrated pest management sub-component as part of the component support to agricultural services delivery systems. A comprehensive IPM program has been developed, involving the organization of training workshops and study tours, curriculum development, training of trainers, and the organization of farmer field schools. The component was formulated by an international IPM specialist. In total, the project would organize 120 farmer field schools (FFS) in the first phase of the project. This would involve the training of some 2000 to 2500 farmers in IPM, leading to a considerable reduction in pesticide use and improved crop yields. The total budget of the IPM sub-component was estimated to be about US$ 360,000. 3

2.6 Component 5. Small-scale Infrastructure Development. This component’s objective is to strengthen the capacities of local communities and private sector operators to construct and maintain transport and post-harvest equipment and infrastructure. The RSSP would support the construction of feeder roads, bridges, etc. As the project would be demand driven and precise activities would be defined during implementation, it is not yet known where these rural infrastructure works would be constructed. 3

2.7 Component 6. Promotion of Off-farm Productive Activities in Rural Areas. The activities under this component should lead to higher levels of off-farm employment and incomes in the program areas. This may include the support for rehabilitation or construction of agro-processing units. 3

2.8 Component 7. Program Monitoring and Evaluation. In order to ensure effective monitoring and evaluation of program activities, a monitoring unit would be set up in the Program support and Coordination Unit (PSCU). 3

2.9 Program Support and Coordination. It is envisaged to install a Project Support and Coordination Unit at the central level in order to coordinate the implementation of all project activities, monitor project achievements, etc. The unit would ensure effective coordination between and support to the various implementing agencies and beneficiaries groups at the prefecture and commune level. 4

2.10 Based on the results of the first phase, the subsequent phases of the Program would extend and deepen the institutional and technical support and raise the investment activities in order to accelerate the pace of intensification and commercialization of agricultural production. Specific activities envisioned to be supported in subsequent phases include: (i) further improvement of effective and sustainable agricultural services delivery systems; and (ii) further development of infrastructure improvements and maintenance arrangements. These two sets of activities would build the core of the program to which targeted sub-sector specific interventions would be added. 4

2.11 The budget of the RSSP is shown in table 2. 4

3. THE EXISTING ENVIRONMENT 4

The Physical Environment 4



3.1 Topography. Rwanda is a small, mountainous and landlocked country covering 26,330 Km2; a map of Rwanda is included in Annex A. The country has been described as the country of ‘thousand hills' (mille collines) because of the numerous highly dissected hills, often with flat peaks and convex slopes, separated by relatively narrow valleys covered with alluvium matter. Towards the southeast, the relief is dominated by plateaus, whereas the west of the country is dominated by the roughly north west oriented Nile – Congo river rift. The average altitude is 1,250 meter above sea level. 4

3.2 Climate. Despite the proximity to the equator, the climate is mild, being moderated by altitude. The high peaks in the west have a cool and very rainy climate, whereas the high plateau is temperate. The eastern third of the country is tropical. Mean annual rainfall in the mountainous zone is around 2400 mm a year, declining to 1200mm/yr in the central districts and to as little as 700 mm/year near the Tanzanian border. Most of the country has two rainy seasons per year, separated by one short and one long dry season. The rainy seasons are roughly from September to January and February to May. 4

3.3 Hydrology. Rwanda’s hydrology is characterized by a dense hydrographic network with lakes, rivers and wetlands. The country is divided into two major drainage basins, the Nile to the east and the Congo to the west. The Congo River basin covers 33% of Rwanda and receives 10% of the total national rainfall. The Nile River Basin covers an area of 67% of the territory and receives 90% of the national rainfall. The waters of the Nile River basin flow out through the Akagera river system, which contributes between 8 and 10% to the Nile drainage system. Rivers and lakes cover some 135,000 ha, or 5% of the national territory. 5

3.4 Wetlands. Wetlands cover a total area of 164,000 ha or about 6% of the territory. The wetlands (in French: marais) include a variety of ecosystems, ranging from large, permanently flooded swampy peat-lands to smaller, seasonally flooded wetlands with a more mineral soil. The main swamps are Akanyaru (30,000 ha) on the border with Burundi, Mugesera-Rugwero in the southeast, Kagera swamps along the Tanzania border in the east, Nyabarongo (10,000 ha) and the Rugezi wetlands (5,000 ha) in the north. The wetlands act as sinks for sediment particles and play an important role in the national water balances by acting as a buffer, thus reducing the maximal flow rates during the rainy season and maintaining a relatively high flow rate during the dry season. Currently, an estimated 94,000 ha have been brought under agriculture, the large majority of this being spontaneous agriculture with maize, sweet potatoes and beans. In addition, the wetlands are used for a variety of traditional activities including the collection of leaves to make handicrafts, extensive grazing and the making of bricks. Wetlands also provide a spawning habitat for fish, and are of great importance for biodiversity conservation (see also paragraph 3.9). 5

The Biological Environment 5



3.5 Vegetation. Rwanda contains a wide variety of different habitats and species, due to its varied geomorphology and its diverse climatic conditions. Vegetation can best be characterized as a regional mosaic, including sections of Guineo-Congolian and Sudanian vegetation. The Nile-Congo ridge contains mountainous tropical forest whereas the natural vegetation in the middle and low altitude parts of the country is basically east African bushland. Secondary forest mosaics produced by human activity have replaced natural vegetation almost everywhere outside the national parks. 5

3.6 Savanna. Savannas occur mainly in the eastern part of Rwanda and can be divided into shrub savanna with trees under 4 meters high and acacia wooded savanna with trees over 4 meters high. In the open savannas of the first category, Themeda, Hyparrhenia and Cymbopogon predominate. Dominant species in the wooded savanna are Acacia senegal, Acacia siberiana, Albizia petersiana and Lannea. 5

3.7 Forests and protected area system. There are presently two national parks in Rwanda: Volcanoes National Park and Akagera National Park. These areas are exclusively reserved for the protection of flora and fauna, and of geological formations of scientific and aesthetic value. The Volcanoes National Park is particularly important for biodiversity conservation. In combination with adjacent forests in Uganda and Congo, it contains approximately one-half of the world’s remaining population of mountain gorillas. In addition, there are a number of forest reserves, including Nyungwe and Giswati forest reserves. Actions have been initiated to make the Nyungwe forest reserve a national park, but its status has to date not been officially changed. 5

3.8 Preliminary estimates indicate that all of the protected areas and forest reserves in Rwanda were seriously damaged as a result of the 1994 civil disturbances. From an estimated pre-1994 total surface area of 417,000 ha, it is thought that they have been reduced to approximately 226,000 ha. Specifically, the Akagera National Park was reduced to less than one-third of its original size when the Umutara prefecture was created in 1996 for resettlement of returning refugees The Gishwati Forest has all but disappeared (from a pre-war estimate of 37.000 ha, only about 2,000 ha remain). Due to the high population density and the limited efficiency of the use of agricultural land, there is an ongoing encroachment into remaining forests and protected areas and their existence remains under threat. 5

3.9 Other Critical Habitats. Currently, none of the country’s wetlands has a protected status (except the wetlands in Akagera national park). Nevertheless, five wetlands have been described as crucial for the protection of birdlife. These are Mugesera, Kagera, Nyabarongo, Rugezi Swamp, and the Akanyaru wetlands. These wetlands support a number of globally threatened species and restricted range species, such as water turtles, crocodiles, monitors, snakes, otters and a large variety of water birds including herons, egrets, ducks, warblers and weavers. Some 180 bird species have been identified in the wetland habitats of Rwanda, including 6 European migrants1. 6

The Socio-Economic Environment 6



3.10 Population. Rwanda has an estimated population of 8.2 million people with an annual growth rate of about 3% and an average population density of about 400 people per km2, one of the highest in Africa. More than 90 % of the population depends on agriculture for their livelihoods, and the per capita income of US$250 is one of the lowest in the world. The majority of the people live below the poverty line and is not capable of meeting their basic human needs. 6

3.11 Agriculture. Agriculture is the mainstay of Rwanda’s economy. Approximately ninety-one percent of the population depends on the sector, which is estimated to contribute about 40% to the GDP. According to the census of MINAGRI, agricultural arable land covers an area of about 1,385,000 ha or about fifty-two percent of the total area of the country. Per capita land holdings are very small with an average area of 0,6 ha per family. The main food crops are bananas, beans, sorghum, sweet potatoes, Irish potatoes, cassava, maize and rice, which was introduced in the country relatively recently. 6

3.12 Social structure and organization. A modest proportion of the country’s farmers is organized in Farmers Associations or co-operatives, which co-ordinate farming activities in the communities. Membership in these associations includes both men and women. However, as a result of the genocide of 1994, many of these associations have been affected. In some of the communities, a substantial part of the male community has either died or is serving prison sentences. In recent years, the GOR has been implementing a program of resettlement of returnees (primarily through the Midugudu program). This involves establishing settlements with basic infrastructure such as roads and healthcare units. However, in many cases people that initially occupied the land used for resettlement were not fully compensated, and discontent with the resettlement policy is increasing. 6

3.13 Health issues. Health centres are present in a large part of the communes. However, the supply of medicines at the local level is very limited, and except for minor diseases and diagnosis, people have to go to the prefecture level hospitals. Currently, the government is implementing a cost sharing scheme in which the patients make a contribution towards the cost of the medical services offered at health centers. 6

4. INSTITUTIONAL, LEGAL AND POLICY FRAMEWORK 7

The Institutional framework 7



4.1 In Rwanda, the institutional responsibility for environment and natural resource management is shared between several ministries: (i) the Ministry of Land, Human Resettlement and Environment Protection (MINITERE); (ii) the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Forestry (MINAGRI); (iii) the Ministry of Energy, Water and Natural Resources (MINIRENA); (iv) the Ministry of Public Works, Transport and Communication (MINITRACO) and (v) the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism (MINICOM). Several NGOs and universities also deal with various aspects of the environment, see table 3. 7

4.2 Ministry of Lands, Human Resettlement and Environmental Protection (MINITERE). This is a new Ministry following the government restructuring in February 1999. MINITERE has five Directorates: Lands; Environmental Protection; Planning; Legal Affairs; and General Services. It is responsible for developing land utilization policies (including surveying, land classification, land laws and land tenure); the development of environmental policies and procedures (including impact assessments), protection of natural resources (water, land, flora, fauna), environmental legislation, biodiversity, and other environmental aspects. The Directorate of Environmental Protection (DEP) has three Divisions: Environmental Policy and Advocacy; Environmental Assessment; and Environmental Monitoring and Inspection. DEP is also responsible for environmental monitoring. In general, MINITERE is understaffed, and this is particularly the case for the DEP that has currently only some 12 professional staff at the central level. Although formally responsible for environmental assessment, there is no legal framework yet regarding environmental assessment (see below), and MINITEREs activities in this field are limited. 7

4.3 Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Forestry (MINAGRI). In the February 1999 restructuring, the Directorate for Environmental Protection was transferred to the Ministry of Lands (now MINITERE, above) and responsibility for water resources management to the Ministry of Energy, Water and Natural Resources. MINAGRI’s primary mandate is the development, transformation and modernization of Rwandan agriculture in its broadest sense (including forestry, fisheries and livestock). The Directorate of Rural Engineering (Genie Rural) and Soil Conservation (DGRCS) advises the Government on land management and is the technical agency responsible for the exploitation and management of the wetlands for agriculture. The Department of Forestry is responsible for management of the forest reserves and plantations. 7

4.4 Ministry of Energy, Water and Natural Resources (MINIRENA). Another newly recreated ministry after the government restructuring in February 1999, MINIRENA has been mandated to handle most of the water-related matters which had previously been under the purview of the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Environment and Rural Development. Through its Directorate of Water and Sanitation (DWS), MINIRENA is responsible for water resource management. Its main objective is to ensure protection and conservation of water resources, and ensure supply of water and sanitation systems to the Rwandan population. DWS is comprised of four divisions: Division of Urban Water, Division of Rural Water, Sanitation Division, and Hydrology and Water Resources Management Division. The Hydrology and Water Resources Management Division is responsible for the preparation of hydrological surveys, assessment of potential underground water resources, maintenance of a database on national water resources, water quality control, and monitoring water levels in lakes and river systems. 7

4.5 Ministry of Public Works, Transport and Communication (MINITRACO) plays an important role in water resources management through its Division of Meteorology, which is located in the Directorate of Transport. The Division of Meteorology is comprised of six sections: Meteorology, Agrometeorology, Climatology, Meteorological Centre, Data Analysis and Computers, and Hydrometeorology. It co-ordinates all aspects of meteorology and provides data and information to all interested users. 8

4.6 Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism (MINICOM) is responsible for tourism and the management of protected areas. It houses the Rwandan Office for Tourism and the Protected Areas (ORTPN) that handles the day-to-day management of the protected area system. 8

The Legal Framework 8



4.7 The GOR has yet to develop and adopt environment laws or environmental assessment guidelines. However, the Land Decree of July 1960 makes reference to the ownership and use of hillsides, marshlands and other aspects of the environment. The Land Decree stipulates that all marshlands are exclusive property of the State and are available to the people of Rwanda for their use and profit. This decree also states implicitly that the government has an unconditional right to take land back for redistribution or other considerations for public benefit, in which case the original occupiers of the land should be compensated. As a common property resource with open access, there is no security of tenure and this has served as a disincentive to the sustainable management of wetlands. In February 1999, a draft revised Land Law was prepared, defining ownership of land, rights and obligations of land owners and transactions of land. The law recognizes private land, land owned by the state, and land owned by the commune. However, the law has not yet passed the parliament and is not yet effective. 8

The Policy Framework 8



4.8 Priorities in the agricultural sector are defined in the Government’s Agricultural Development Strategy and the Food Security Strategy and Action Plan. Priority is first and foremost given to assuring the food security needs of the Rwandan people. Intensification of agricultural production is a lynchpin of the Government’s strategy, and sustainable management of the inland valleys and marshlands, watershed protection, soil and water conservation, and improving soil fertility are among the priority actions. The management of the marshlands (marais) figures prominently in the Government’s agricultural development strategy, and one of the objectives of the medium-term development plan is to rehabilitate and development 12,000 ha of marais by the year 2010. 8

4.9 A National Poverty Reduction and Growth Strategy is presently being elaborated. Policies are aimed at good governance, national reconciliation and stability, increasing productivity and incomes of the rural poor, and improving their access to social services. Increasing agricultural production will be an important element of the strategy. 9

4.10 Rwanda’s National Water Policy (1998) aims to “attain maximum short, medium and long-term economically and ecologically sustainable social advantages for the well-being of the Rwandan population” and “guarantee everybody’s access to water in an equitable and sustainable manner”. To this end, the policy has adopted a holistic approach to water resource management. Issues linked to allocation, conservation, quality control and efficient use of water resources are to be addressed. On the supply side, the policy stresses the importance of protecting the major sources of water - lakes, rivers, underground water, wetlands, among others. The policy recognizes the need to minimize losses from inappropriate and unsustainable use of water resources. It furthermore recognizes that sustainable use of water resources must be strongly linked with environmental protection, and that the utilization of these water resources should take into full consideration existing regional and international agreements and treaties. The preparation of a wetland development Master-plan (to be funded by the African Development Bank) is due to begin shortly. This plan would identify suitable models for wetland development and result in a wetland development strategy. 9

4.11 The environmental degradation resulting from the catastrophic civil war in 1994 has been a determining factor in guiding Government’s priorities. All of the protected areas and forest reserves have been seriously damaged and their continued existence remains under threat. The Update for Rwanda’s National Environmental Strategy identifies the high population density and growth rate, the lack of land, and the problem of refugees displaced during the war as major problems with significant environmental impacts. Food insecurity and domestic energy concerns have been singled out as the greatest factors leading to the degradation of the environment. Constraints in addressing these issues include, inter alia, an absence of environmental legislation and policies, a lack of reliable environmental data and information, lack of trained environmental specialists, and a low level of environmental awareness. Key elements of Rwanda’s environmental strategy therefore include: the integration of environmental concerns in all sectors, rational management of natural resources, development of an environmental information system, awareness-raising about the ecological, cultural, and economic value and role of natural resources, and institutional strengthening and capacity-building. 9

4.12 The National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (BSAP) was approved in principle in June 2000, and defines the objectives and priorities for the conservation and sustainable management of biodiversity. This includes hillsides and wetlands, and also covers the government strategy vis-à-vis protected areas. 9

Decentralization of Environmental Management 9



4.13 Under the decentralization policy adopted in May 2000, the central government will retain the function of conservation and environment protection policy while tourism and environmental management will be transferred to the prefectures and urban local governments. However, at prefecture and commune level, the capacity of implementation of environmental policy is extremely low. Although MINITERE has prefecture level offices, these are involved mostly with land management and resettlement issues. There are only environmental inspectors in 4 prefectures (out of a total of 10 prefectures). 9

5. ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS 10

Potential Positive Impacts 10



5.1 Overall, Rwanda’s natural resource base is subject to continuing degradation due to the high population density, high population growth rate (some 3% p.a.), and continuing uncontrolled resettlements following the civil war. High erosion rates on hill sides affect agricultural productivity, whereas deforestation and possibly changes in river hydrology may have caused changes in the local climate; rainfall has been deficient in each of the last three years. 10

5.2 The RSSP would contribute to an improved management of natural resources by: (i) improving sustainability and productivity of hill side agriculture through the application of soil and water conservation measures; and (ii) through increasing the productivity of wetlands already used for agricultural purposes. Besides tackling the issue of land degradation in the hillsides, this would lead to improved food security and income generation opportunities for the rural population. Increased productivity of agricultural land could lead to a reduction in the encroachment in protected areas. In addition, the project would support capacity building at all levels, including the local level. The project component ‘integrated management of critical ecosystems’ (financed by the GEF) would contribute to the protection of biodiversity in wetlands. 10

Potential Negative Impacts 10



5.3 The project also has a number of potential negative environmental impacts. The main potential negative impacts are: (i) loss of habitat through increased cultivation of wetlands; (ii) changes in national hydrology through drainage and irrigation of wetlands; (iii) increase in diseases with a waterborne vector (in particular malaria and bilharzia) through the construction of irrigation reservoirs; (iv) increase in the use of pesticides; and (v) increase in erosion related to the construction and rehabilitation of roads. These impacts are described below. As the project would be demand driven, and precise project activities would be determined during its implementation phase, quantification of the environmental impacts is not possible. 10

5.4 Socio-economic impact. Overall, the RSSP would have an important positive socio-economic impact on the beneficiaries as it would increase income earning opportunities, improve food security, improve the possibilities of local people to manage their natural resources, and contribute to capacity building, in particular at the local level. There are no major negative socio-economic impacts foreseen, however, a number of risks are identified that may influence project implementation. These include: (i) a risk that terraces, and drainage and irrigation structures will not be properly maintained; (ii) a risk that local people would not be sufficiently trained in operation of local infrastructure; and (iii) in some areas local labor availability may be insufficient for rice cultivation. These risks have partly been addressed in the current project design (which includes local training activities in operation and maintenance of infrastructure works; and emphasis the role of local participation in subproject formulation and implementation). In addition, it is proposed to screen project proposals on the presence of an adequate maintenance plan and local labor availability. Besides social implications, these issues could have an (indirect) environmental impact as a lack of maintenance (through lack of workforce or lack of an appropriate management plan) could result in increased erosion of constructions (such as dykes), siltation of drainage canals, gully forming beneath damaged terraces, etc. 12

5.5 An overview of the potential environmental risks of the RSSP is provided in table 4., mitigation measures for which have been included in project design (see chapter 6). 12

6. MITIGATION MEASURES 13

6.1 In order to mitigate the potential negative environmental impacts of the project, the RSSP includes an environmental mitigation plan, composed of the following elements: 13

6.2 Undeveloped wetlands will be excluded from the project. The priority list of wetlands to be developed under the first phase only contain areas that have already been modified by agricultural activities; in addition, a biodiversity assessment of wetlands will be conducted (as part of the GEF component) and an environmental screening procedure will be adopted (see below). The assessment would, amongst other outputs, result in a list of wetlands, that because of their importance for biodiversity conservation or maintenance of national hydrology, would be excluded from development by the RSSP (a ‘negative’ list). A screening procedure would also be applied to cultivated wetlands proposed for rehabilitation or modernization by the RSSP in order to provide an additional environmental safeguard, as specified in section v. 13

6.3 Even though the role of wetlands in maintaining Rwanda’s hydrological network is recognized, there is currently no quantitative information available on this subject. As already some 90,000 ha of wetlands have been brought under agriculture, and as the RSSP would support the intensification of agriculture in up to 40,000 ha of these (involving drainage and/or irrigation), there is a risk that this process will lead to changes in dry season water availability or local climate. Therefore, the project would fund, during the first phase, a study that would result in an analysis of the potential impact of wetland modification on river hydrology in the project area. This study will provide an input into the scheduled formulation and implementation of the Master-plan for wetland management (ADB funded), of which the formulation phase is planned to start shortly. The TORs for the Master-plan do not include the examination of possible changes in water flows at the national scale because of wetland development. 13

6.4 The proposed study would determine: (i) the potential impacts of different types of agricultural development in wetlands on river hydrology; (ii) the possible cumulative impact of modifications in wetland hydrology on river discharges in the project area; and (iii) possible ways to mitigate this impact (such as the protection of certain (types of) wetlands that have a crucial function in the regulation of water flows and/or the proposal of adapted wetland development models, e.g. using buffer zones). In addition, the study would investigate the current hydrological monitoring capacity in Rwanda, and propose a detailed program to monitor the potential hydrological impacts of the RSSP, in particular the impact on downstream water users for consideration for possible funding under the programme’s 2nd phase. The outcomes of the study, in combination with the results of the hydrological monitoring program, if supported, would enable a more detailed assessment of the hydrological impact of the RSSP in the programme’s subsequent phases. 13

6.5 The study would be conducted by a national consultant, with support from an international consultant (TORs in Annex C). The outcomes of the study would be discussed among the main stakeholders (i.e., MINAGRI, MINIRENA, MINITERE) in a two day seminar. The study will use existing data on rainfall and river discharges and will test the hydrological impact of wetland drainage in a number of test sites. It is proposed to split the 3 months of international consultancy in two periods of 6 weeks in order to allow for data collection in the meantime (by the national consultant). If funding were secured for the proposed hydrological monitoring program, it is essential that due to Rwanda’s complex hydrology, monitoring be continued throughout the life of the project (see chapter 7).. 14

6.6 Three mitigation measures are proposed: (i) the local level environmental training program (as described in detail in section (vi) ) would include a module on these diseases (describing vectors, vector control, prevention, symptoms, medication, etc.); (ii) a test will be conducted on the possibility to use biological vector control measures; and (iii) the incidence of malaria and bilharzia will be measured in the environmental monitoring program (which is described in chapter 7 below). In addition, a separate budget will be reserved for health care activities (medications, mosquito nets, etc.) in case there would be an outbreak of malaria or bilharzia in a project area. 14

6.7 It is proposed that the vector control test will be undertaken by a national consultant (4 months), supported by an international consultant (1 month in project year 1) and in cooperation with the PSCU and MINAGRI; TORs are included in Annex D. It is recommended to investigate if the national consultancy could be implemented by the Ministry of Health (MINISANTE). In the test, the suitability of a number of biological control measures will be examined (e.g. use of different fish species, removal of water plants). The results of the test would be included in the local level training program. The environmental monitoring program is described in chapter 7. 14

6.8 The project would adopt stringent environmental screening procedures, closely matched to the RSSP field activities appraisal procedure. In the RSSP subproject cycle, subprojects would be proposed by Commune Development Comities (CDCs) or other local organizations supported by local NGOs or MINAGRI extension officers. The subprojects would be appraised and approved by the PSCU located in the MINAGRI. In order to facilitate the environmental appraisal of subprojects, the PSCU would employ a national environmental specialist supported with periodic interventions from an international consultant over the programme’s first 3 years. As part of the subproject appraisal, the project environmental specialist would be required to examine the potential environmental impact of the project. Although the environmental specialist is expected to be familiar with EA, if needed, he would receive additional training in the subject matter (see below). The environmental screening procedure is shown in Annex E. 14

6.9 In the environmental screening procedure, the PSCU environmental specialist would apply the wetlands assessment methodology developed under the GEF-supported Critical Ecosystem’s component (see RSSP component 2). The application of this methodology, together with the results from the hydrological study, would provide the basis for the preparation of a list of methods which, due to their high value for biodiversity and/or role in water resources conservation, would be excluded for development under the project). This list would be discussed with the relevant Ministries and local level stakeholders, so that the methodology behind and justification for exclusion was transparent and clearly understood. The wetland assessment methodology and the results of the hydrological assessment should be completed by the end of project year 1. RSSP will not support subprojects located inside protected areas. 14

6.10 Proposed wetlands sites not previously excluded through the application of the wetland assessment methodology described above, would be subject to regional assessments. As the rehabilitation component design has adopted a catchment approach, regional assessments would be applied on a catchment basis. The justification of the regional assessment would be to reduce the need for sub-project specific EAs. Where a regional assessment demonstrates project interventions are likely to pose little risk to the environment due to local characteristics (e.g, highly degraded environments), no further environmental analysis will be required. More likely, the results of a site-specific RA will yield a mosaic of areas differentiated by environmental sensitivity to programme-supported activities. Where low, project activities can proceed with no further analysis. Where high, further treatment may be warranted through more detailed EA. Regional assessments have the added advantage of providing a key input into the preparation of management plans which will guide programme supported interventions in each catchment area. The RAs will be prepared by national consultants. 15

6.11 Currently, there is very little capacity in Rwanda to conduct environmental assessments and the RSSP would support adequate capacity building in this field (see below). In addition, an illustrative environmental screening list in the form of an impact questionnaire checklist and a list of potential mitigation measures have been prepared and included in Annexes F and G, respectively. The regional and sub-project specific environmental assessments would be reviewed by the PSCU environmental specialist and would need to be approved by the Ministry of Land, Human Resettlement, and Environment (MINITERE). 15

6.12 In case of doubt about the environmental impact of a project or the quality of the environmental assessment, the environmental specialist could make field checks. In addition, the environmental specialist would be required to visit the project sites after implementation to check if the mitigation measures have been implemented (for which a travel budget would be available), see chapter 7. It is recommended that the projects environmental screening procedure would be included in the Project Implementation Manual (PIM). 15

6.13 The environmental assessments would be funded out of a special environmental assessment fund that would be made available by the RSSP. The size of the fund is established at US$ 150,000 for the first phase, or 1% of the budget available for development of marshlands and hillsides in the first phase. The environmental review after the first phase (see below) would determine the size of the fund for the 2nd and the 3rd phase. 15

6.14 At the central level, a project environmental specialist would be contracted (and trained in environmental [impact] assessment [4 weeks], if needed) as well as wetland ecohydrology (2 weeks). These training courses would be held at qualified international institutes in the region, possibly in Kenya or Uganda (project year 1). In view of the potential environmental implications of the project and the limited environmental capacity currently available in Rwanda, the PSCU environmental specialist would be supported by an international environmental consultant. This consultant would assist in the fine-tuning of the environmental screening procedures and the environmental monitoring program, the development and organization of the environmental training courses, the delegation of environmental responsibilities to the prefecture level, etc. The international consultant would work in Rwanda during the first three years of the project, on average spending 4 months/year in country (TORs are added in Annex H). Through on-the-job training by the international consultant, the national environmental specialist is expected to take over full environmental responsibility of the RSSP for the remaining years of the project. 15

6.15 In addition, a training course in environmental assessment would be organized in Kigali (project year 1). It is scheduled to have some 25 to 30 participants from MINITERE, MINAGRI, MINIRENA, the 6 prefectures participating in the project (staff from the prefecture offices of MINAGRI and/or MINITERE), the National University of Rwanda, the Rwanda Institute for Science and Technology, and the Centre for Education (the latter three being research and education institutes working in the environmental field, and candidates for conducting EAs). The training would be given by an experienced international consultant, in collaboration with the PSCU environmental specialist and a national consultant. An outline of the EA training is provided in Annex I; TORs are presented in Annex J. It is scheduled to have a two week refreshment EA course by the end of the fist phase (project year 4). 16

6.16 At the prefecture level, a one week environmental training course would be provided to prefecture level staff of MINAGRI and MINITERE, and representatives of local organizations, such as NGOs and Commune Development Committees (CDCs). The training would address environmental assessment, environmental management of wetlands and cultivated hill sides, and environmental monitoring. These training courses would be organized in the 6 prefectures participating in the RSSP. The training manual and the course program would be designed by an international consultant in collaboration with the project environmental specialist, and the training courses itself would be organized by the project environment specialist in collaboration with MINITERE and MINAGRI (project year 2). Two months of national consultancies would be made available to support the project team and MINAGRI in the implementation of the courses. A refreshment course of 3 days would be organized by the end of the 1st phase (project year 4). It is envisaged that the same EA specialist responsible for the EA training in Kigali would develop the manual and training program for this course, TOR are provided in Annex K. 16

6.17 At the commune level, 3 day training sessions in environmental management would be organized for every participating CDC. These training sessions would principally serve the purpose of awareness raising on environmental issues. Topics would include erosion control, role of wetlands in the national hydrological system, biodiversity, malaria and bilharzia control, etc. The manual and the course program for these training session would be prepared by the PSCU environmental specialist in collaboration with MINAGRI and MINITERE. The first courses would be organized by the project environmental specialist; it is expected that prefecture level staff, by participating in the teaching of the first training sessions in their respective prefecture, would gradually be able to take over the organization and implementation of the training sessions. It is envisaged to have 2 day refreshment training session by the end of the project, organized by the prefecture level staff. These sessions would also serve as a way to discuss the local environmental impact of project activities with prefecture staff. 16

6.18 Finally, it is proposed to conduct a relatively extensive environmental review after the 1st phase of the project. This would involve an international EA specialist (8 weeks) backed up by a national consultant. In addition, an environmental specialist should participate in supervision missions, in particular during mid term review. The environmental review would, based on the experiences of the first phase, propose an updated environmental mitigation plan for the 2nd and 3rd phases. In addition, this environmental review would identify the subsequent capacity building needs, would determine the replenishment requirements of the environmental assessment fund, and would propose an expanded environmental capacity building program for the 2nd and 3rd phase. Particular attention would be given to the required training activities at the field level. 17

7. ENVIRONMENTAL MONITORING PROGRAM 17

7.1 The implementation of the environmental monitoring program will be integrated into the overall RSSP monitoring program. The latter would be implemented by a Monitoring and Evaluation Unit in the PSCU. Of particular relevance for the environmental monitoring is the GEF component ‘Integrated Management of Critical Ecosystems’ that would support an assessment of wetland biodiversity in Rwanda. With the PDF-B funds currently at the disposal of the GEF preparation team, a biodiversity assessment of a limited number of wetlands of global significance would be conducted, a more comprehensive biodiversity assessment would be carried out during implementation of the GEF funded component. Overall, the RSSP would fund the monitoring of baseline activities, whereas the GEF component would cover the monitoring of activities related to protection and sustainable management of critical ecosystems. 17

7.2 Available baseline data. From the interviews conducted during the preparation of this EA, it is clear that the amount of data currently available, as well as the capacity for environmental monitoring in Rwanda is limited. There is no information system regarding uplands, and the most detailed information available on wetlands is an Access database constructed in the period 1989-1992 containing climatological, pedological, hydrological and agricultural data for all wetlands in Rwanda. 17

7.3 In addition, 1:50,000 maps are available with the location of the wetlands (not in electronic format). Agricultural use of the wetlands is updated up to about 1990-1992 and can not be considered accurate anymore. The database is managed by the Division’s ‘Genie Rurale’ of MINAGRI. As a result, prior to the finalization of the monitoring programme, a review of existing baseline information will be required. Where data are missing, either baseline studies will have to be completed a prior to field monitoring, or suitable indicators selected as replacements supported by the necessary baseline information. 18

7.4 Based upon the identified potential environmental impacts of the project (Table 4), and taking into account the current capacity for environmental monitoring, a number of illustrative indicators have been developed to monitor the effectivness of the EA’s proposed mitigation measures (Table 8). These will be reviewed and revised, where needed, during the preparation of the project implementation manual (PIM) and first annual work plan (WP). 18

7.5 The environmental specialist would be the individual responsible for the environmental monitoring program, however regarding data collection he/she will assisted by national consultants and various stakeholders involved. The data would be recorded and processed in an Environmental Information System (as described below). 19

8. COSTS OF THE MITIGATION MEASURES AND THE ENVIRONMENTAL MONITORING PROGRAM 19

8.1 The costs of the mitigation measures are indicated in Table 8. Table 8 includes only the costs for the 1st phase, except for the employment and travel budget of the EA specialist, and the costs related to environmental monitoring, for which the costs over the 14 year period are indicated in between brackets. The environmental review in project year 4 would determine the budget for environmental mitigation in the 2nd and 3rd phase of the project. Table 9 provides detailed costing of the central level EA training. The total costs of the environmental mitigation and monitoring plan in the 1st phase are US$ 588,000, or 1.15% of the total IDA budget. 19

9. recommendations 20

9.1 Because the projects activities have not yet been defined in enough detail to implement a comprehensive environmental analysis (e.g. considering locations of project sites, infrastructure activities, agricultural processing facilities to be supported, etc.), it is recommended that more detailed analysis of the environmental impact, and possibly the environmental mitigation plan, be conducted. In order to ensure continued compliance of the mitigation plan with the RSSP project activities and procedures, this should preferably be done at the same time as the post-appraisal project formulation work. 20

Table 8. Costs of the mitigation measures and environmental monitoring programme on 4 years 21





ANNEXES

A. Map of Rwanda

B. Proposed list of marshlands to be included in the first phase of RSSP

C. Terms of Reference for the study on the role of wetlands in national hydrology

D. Terms of reference for a study on the application of biological vector control measures for malaria and bilharzia.

E. Environmental Screening Procedure

F. Impact Questionnaire Checklist

G. Potential Mitigation Measures

H. Terms of Reference for the International Environmental Specialist

I. Proposed outline of the Environmental Assessment training in Kigali

J. Terms of reference environmental impact assessment specialist (central level training)

K. Terms of reference environmental impact assessment specialist (prefecture and

field level training)

L. Terms of reference hydrological monitoring

M. Terms of Reference Monitoring of Biodiversity on RSSP Project Sites

N. Terms of Reference for the Preparation of the Environmental Information System



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