2.2 Legal/regulatory framework for environmental management/assessment
2.3 Involvement of Azerbaijan in international cooperation on environment
2.4 Institutional framework for environmental management and assessment
2.5 Environmental monitoring
2.6 Regional processes 3. Key Natural Parameters of Azerbaijan 3.1 Natural setting 4. Analysis of Baseline Conditions 4.1 Description of project
4.2 Analysis of project alternatives
4.3 Description of physical/biological environment
4.4 Description of socio-economic context
4.5 Description of stakeholders and beneficiaries 5. Assessment of Principal Environmental and Social Impacts and Proposed Preventive Actions and Mitigation Measures 5.1 Anticipated positive social and environmental impacts
5.2 Anticipated negative environmental and social impacts 6. ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT AND MONITORING PLAN 6.1 Objective of the EMMP
6.2 Environmental screening and review of sub-projects
6.3 Environmental monitoring program
6.4 Environmental capacity building and training program
6.5 Implementation arrangements
6.6 Implementation schedule
6.7 Proposed budget and funding sources for EMMP implementation ANNEXES ANNEX A – Public Consultations ANNEX B – International and Regional Conventions
LIST OF ACRONYMS ADCP Agricultural Development and Credit Project (World Bank)
AIOJSC Amelioration and Irrigation Open Joint Stock Company
WUAP Water users association development support project
WWF World Wildlife Federation
lcpd litres per capita per day
lps litres per second
msl mean sea level
Water users association development support project
Environmental Management and Monitoring Plan 1. Introduction This Environmental assessment (EA) and Environmental management and monitoring plan (EMMP) has been prepared for the proposed Water users association development support project (WUAP), to be co-financed by the Government of Azerbaijan (GoA) and the World Bank, in order to ensure that the project (i) incorporates sound environmental and social management principles and practices and (ii) fully complies with all GoA environmental requirements and with applicable World Bank environmental safeguard policies.
1.1 Background The WUAP will be the World Bank’s third project in the irrigation and drainage sector in Azerbaijan and is a direct follow-up to the existing Irrigation Distribution System and Management Improvement Project (IDSMIP), which became effective in 2003 and is scheduled to close in September 2010. The objective of the IDSMIP was to improve irrigation water management by providing support to (i) development of Azerbaijan’s emerging water users’ associations (WUAs) and. the Amelioration and Irrigation Open Joint Stock Company (AIOJSC) and (ii) selective rehabilitation and improvement of associated on-farm irrigation and drainage infrastructure. The infrastructure improvements were made, for the most part, on a demand-driven basis on farms that met certain eligibility criteria within the eleven project area raions (i.e. Aghjabedi, Beylagan, Geranboy, Imishli, Khachmaz, Quba, Saatli, Sabirabad, and Zardab in Azerbaijan; Babek and Sharur in the Autonomous Republic of Nakhchivan (ARN)). The project had three components: (1) Development of WUAs, (2) Irrigation and Drainage Infrastructure Rehabilitation, and (3) Project Management, which were implemented by a Project Implementation Unit (PIU) under the AIOJSC.
As the positive results of the IDSMIP and the benefits to the rural economy and population became apparent, the GoA requested support from the World Bank for a largerscale followup project. This proposed WUAP will build on the success of the IDSMIP and will have the same core components as the IDSMIP (i.e. WUA development and infrastructure rehabilitation), but it will extend the geographical coverage to an additional 16 raions (depending on project component), bringing the total to 27 raions covered by the project. Map 1 shows the 27 raions that comprise the project area for the WUAP. The on-farm irrigation and drainage infrastructure improvements will continue to be made on a demand-driven basis on farms that meet the eligibility criteria. A limited amount of off-farm infrastructure improvements will be undertaken as necessary to ensure effective delivery of water to the rehabilitated on-farm systems. The proposed project will be implemented by the same IDSMIP PIU under the AIOJSC. The PIU comprises a number of construction engineers who oversee the irrigation and drainage infrastructure improvements and includes an environmental specialist who oversees the environmental management plan and environmental monitoring programme established by the EA and EMMP for the IDSMIP. A more detailed description of the proposed project can be found below (see Section 4.1).
Map 1. Project Raions 1.2 Objective The objective of this EA (Sections 1-5 of the document) is to identify the significant environmental and social impacts of the proposed project (both positive and negative) and to specify appropriate preventive actions and mitigation measures (including monitoring) to prevent, eliminate or minimise any anticipated adverse impacts. The EMMP (Section 6 of the document) is the mechanism that ensures that the environmental prevention and mitigation measures identified, the screening and review process proposed, and the capacity-building and monitoring activities recommended will be properly undertaken during implementation of the proposed project. The EMMP also establishes the necessary institutional arrangements and proposes an implementation schedule for undertaking these EMMP activities, indicating their costs in the proposed project budget.
This EA and EMMP build on the comprehensive EA and EMMP prepared for the IDSMIP, since the WUAP’s overall approach and basic project interventions will be the same. The EA has been updated, however, to reflect the particular environmental and socio-economic characteristics of the new project raions; the EMMP has been modified to reflect lessons learned during implementation of the IDSMIP.
1.3 World Bank safeguard policies The World Bank’s Integrated Safeguard Data Sheet for the WUAP classified it as a Category “B” project (requiring partial assessment), triggering the Bank’s safeguard policies for environmental assessment, pest management, involuntary resettlement, projects on international waterways, and safety of dams. The EA confirmed the Category “B” designation for the proposed project, finding no significant, irreversible, cumulative or long-term adverse impacts. In fact, the EA identified a number of positive impacts of the proposed project and negative impacts that could be effectively prevented or reduced through application of appropriate preventive actions or mitigation measures (see discussion of impacts in Section 5.). The EA also confirmed the application of the five specified safeguard policies to the WUAP. Four of the five policies are discussed below; the policy on involuntary resettlement has been dealt with separately. The EA also reviewed application of the Bank’s safeguard policy for natural habitats to the project. The EA determined that the project, as currently proposed, does not trigger any of the remaining safeguard policies involving forests, physical cultural resources, indigenous peoples, or projects in disputed areas.
1.3.1 Environmental assessment (OP1 4.01, BP2 4.01, GP3 4.01). The anticipated environmental and social impacts of the irrigation and drainage rehabilitation component of the proposed project trigger this safeguard policy. Because the anticipated adverse impacts will not be significant or irreversible, however, and can be prevented or reduced through appropriate preventive actions or mitigation measures, the project is classified a Category “B” project and, as such, requires only partial assessment. This EA, with its EMMP ensuring that recommended preventive actions and mitigation measures will be taken, satisfies this Bank safeguard policy. Because the exact number and location of the specific rehabilitation sub-projects to be undertaken under the WUAP have yet to be determined, the EA is limited to identifying generic impacts for infrastructure rehabilitation in the project areas identified and specifying generic prevention and mitigation measures for these impacts. However, the EMMP includes environmental screening and review procedures similar to those required for financial intermediary operations that will ensure that appropriate preventive actions and mitigation measures are applied, by means of site-specific environmental management plans, to sub-project sites on a case-by-case basis (see Section 6).
1.3.2 Pest Management (OP 4.09, BP 4.09). Although the IDSMIP did not trigger this safeguard policy, the EA prepared for the IDSMIP recognized that the recovery of the agricultural sector in Azerbaijan was likely to increase pesticide use in the longer term. Because the agricultural recovery that will likely take place during the proposed project may induce an increase in the use of pesticides, the project triggers this safeguard policy. The IDSMIP relied on the Bank’s Agricultural Development and Credit Project (ADCP), with its one-day training courses and national information campaigns on pesticide application, to provide awareness raising and training on pesticide management and integrated pest management (IPM) for water users. The proposed project will continue to take advantage of the ADCP’s extension program until its closure in May 2011. But, more importantly, the project will develop and deliver its own training program on pesticide management and IPM under the WUA capacity building component.
1.3.3 Safety of Dams (OP 4.37, BP 4.37). The dams and headworks on the Samur, Kura, and Araz Rivers, which provide most of the water to the irrigation systems to be addressed in the proposed project, trigger this safeguard policy. The EA, however, does not address this policy; the Bank’s dam safety specialist will perform a separate dam safety assessment during project preparation in order to address this safeguard policy.
1.3.4 Projects on international waterways (OP 7.50, BP 7.50, GP 7.50). The Samur, Kura, and Araz Rivers, which supply most of the water to the irrigation systems to be rehabilitated in the proposed project, and the Caspian Sea, into which these rivers and project drainage systems eventually flow, are international waterways that trigger this safeguard policy. The proposed project, however, is not expected to have any significant impacts on the quantity or quality of water flowing through these rivers or into the Caspian Sea for two reasons. First, the project design is limited to the rehabilitation of existing irrigation schemes; no new irrigation schemes or extensions of schemes will be constructed. Second, the rehabilitation activities are expected to have minimal or no impact on the quantity or quality of water in (upstream or) downstream water bodies. The irrigation infrastructure improvements will not result in significant increases in either withdrawals from or discharges to the international waterways. And, based on water quality monitoring conducted during the IDSMIP, which indicated no significant adverse impacts from irrigation drainage in receiving water bodies, the project is not expected to result in significant impacts on the quality of water in these waterways. (The proposed project will discontinue the water quality monitoring performed at sites under the IDSMIP but will include similar water quality monitoring at new sites.) Therefore, the project is not expected to have any adverse effects on the water flows or the rights of the other riparian states on the international waterways, so the Bank will seek a waiver, as it did with the IDSMIP, pursuant to paragraph 7 (a) of OP 7.50 for this safeguard policy.
1.3.5 Natural Habitats (OP 4.04, BP 4.04). The EA determined that the project does not trigger the natural habitats safeguard policy. Planned project activities will take place on lands already converted to agricultural use by previous, non-Bank-related actions. As currently planned, the project will finance principally small-scale on-farm rehabilitation works, will not construct new irrigation systems and will not induce increased water abstraction. To ensure this, the EA proposes that all sub-projects be submitted to environmental screening, the criteria for which will cover natural habitat conversion, new irrigation system construction, and increased water withdrawal. The project will thus not involve “significant conversion or degradation of natural habitats” as defined in OP 4.04. The proposed project, however, includes a number of new raions in the mountainous region of northern Azerbaijan where there are national parks, protected forests and natural reserves (e.g. Qusar Preserve). These protected areas, which are typically on the high mountain slopes, are unlikely to be impacted by project interventions in the surrounding lowlands. To be sure, however, the project will ensure that rehabilitation of irrigation schemes that may result in a potential adverse impact will not be eligible for rehabilitation. The EA also requires the project to determine whether project sites in the new mountain raions will have potential impacts on rivers and their tributaries important for migratory fish populations and their spawning areas. Finally, the EA requires the project to conduct water quality monitoring at all new sites, including those in the new mountainous raions, and to assess potential impacts on the fish populations in the receiving waters.
1.4 Methodology At the request of the GoA, the World Bank asked the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) to send an environment officer to work with the PIU environmental specialist and a national environmental consultant to update the EA and the EMMP for the WUAP. This EA team began work on updating the EA and EMMP during the first environmental mission (04-15 May 2010) of the FAO environment officer. During this period, the national environmental consultant also began gathering the baseline information for the EA on the new project raions. The team visited various proposed project areas, viewed a number of irrigation and drainage sites, and met with local officials, WUAs, farmers and other beneficiaries of the proposed project. The team delivered a draft EA and EMMP to the PIU in July 2010. The PIU disclosed it to the public in August and held public consultations on it in Baku and Zardab between 20 and 25 August 2010. This final EA and EMMP, incorporating the comments received from the local consultations, the PIU, and the World Bank, was completed in September 2010.
1.5 Consultation process The EA team began the process of consulting the relevant stakeholders and beneficiaries of the project during its first environmental mission: meeting with officials in the Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources (MENR); with local officials and WUA officers and members in a number of the project area raions; and with farmers and other beneficiaries of the project in the field. * The EA team then continued and expanded the consultation process with more formal, publicly announced meetings with stakeholders and beneficiaries on the findings and recommendations of the draft EA and EMMP in Baku and Zardab. The Baku consultation included government officials from the AIOJSC, the MENR, the MoA, and the MoH, as well as representatives from a number of national NGOs. The regional consultation in Zardab included a large number of local raion AIOJSC officials, WUA members from 15 project raions, and local NGOs.. The minutes of these meetings and lists of participants are contained in Annex A.
2. Environmental Policy, Legal & Institutional Framework This section presents an overview of the policy, legal, and institutional framework for environmental management in Azerbaijan, particularly as it applies to the potential environmental and social impacts of the proposed project, and reviews the requirements and procedures for environmental assessment contained in Azerbaijani law.
2.1 Policy context Azerbaijan’s national environmental policy has evolved over the years, beginning with the environmental policies of the former Soviet Union and following independence moving increasingly to a more nationally focused policy for Azerbaijan. Although there is no single statement of the national environmental policy as such, a number of national development policy documents articulate the country’s policy. The most relevant of these in the context of the proposed project is the National Environmental Action Plan (NEAP) of 1998. The NEAP represents one of the most recent statements of national environmental policy and identification of the country’s environmental priorities and intended actions. The Forward to the NEAP clearly states the GoA’s commitment to environmental reform (see Box 2.1).
Government of Azerbaijan’s commitment to environmental reform ... At this stage of the country’s development the issue of natural resource management is of paramount importance for the nation. The disastrous environmental situation inherited from the former Soviet Union is affecting every aspect of the country’s life and presenting a clear threat to the health and well-being of its population.
The Government of Azerbaijan is committed to improving environmental conditions in the country, and it has included the environment as one of the primary concerns of the reform agenda. Unfortunately, economic, social, and institutional constraints inhibit the country’s ability to address the problems promptly and effectively. In order to mobilise and focus the scarce resources available, prioritise existing problems, and solve the most urgent issues, there was a need to develop a national environmental action program. ... (Forward to NEAP, 1998)
Among the priorities identified by the NEAP are two of relevance to the proposed project: (i) deteriorating water quality, especially drinking water, both in rural and urban areas, causing an increase in water-borne diseases, and (ii) loss of fertile agricultural land from erosion, salinisation, pollution with heavy metals and chemicals, and deteriorating irrigation systems (see Box 2.2). The GoA is committed to addressing the highest priorities identified by the NEAP and to incorporating the environmental recommendations made in the NEAP in sectoral policy and investment decisions in the agriculture, water supply and sanitation, and energy sectors.
Key environmental problems and action priorities Water quality. Water resources are critical for the country’s economy. Water resources are limited and losses during distribution are high – reaching 50 percent in agriculture, which accounts for 70 percent of total water usage. ...
Degradation of agricultural lands, loss of forestry and biodiversity. About half of the country’s land resources are being used for agriculture. Some 1.2 million ha is affected by high salinity; many soils are exhausted by years of poor agricultural practices and policies; and many areas are damaged by erosion. Loss of productive land in some locations is resulting in increased pressure on fragile lands and resources in other locations. ... (Executive summary, NEAP, 1998)
2.2 Legal/regulatory framework for environmental management/assessment Azerbaijan inherited its basic legal framework for environment, public health and safety management from the former Soviet Union, but the period since independence has seen a burst of legislative activity in the environmental field. The new Constitution of the Republic of Azerbaijan itself includes the right to a healthy environment among the fundamental rights it guarantees its citizens.
2.2.1 Constitution. Adopted in 1995, the Constitution of the newly independent Republic of Azerbaijan recognises the importance of environmental protection among the principal human and civil rights and freedoms it establishes for the people of Azerbaijan. Article 39 guarantees the people’s right to live in a healthy environment, to acquire environmental information, and to secure compensation for environmental damage:
Every Person shall have the right to live in healthy environment. Everybody
shall have the right to collect information on environmental situation
and to get compensation for damage rendered to the health and property
due to the violation of ecological rights. (Article 39)
All subsequent environmental legislation is grounded in this constitutional right to the maintenance of environmental quality, to access to environmental information, and to environmental equity.
Again, the Constitution of the Azerbaijan Republic includes a number of articles that establish the national and international requirements to be applied to the WUAP: