World Bank Rolls out new Mechanism to Protect the Environment and Project Beneficiary Communities

Around the world, including in the most difficult and challenging environments, the World Bank aims to advance social and economic participation and rights – including in healthcare, education, social protection, key services and basic infrastructure.

In a bid to continue these discussions, this week, the World Bank held a workshop to support the implementation of the new World Bank Environmental and Social Framework (ESF) in Nairobi.

The workshop, which ran from June 12 – June 14, brought together government representatives from Kenya, and aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the new environmental and social requirements the World Bank will be applying to the investment projects it finances starting October 2018.

The workshop consisted 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 development partners.

“Time and again, we have seen that investment projects are more sustainable and have a greater development impact when the environment is protected, and when communities and people are engaged,” said Diarietou Gaye, World Bank Country Director for Kenya. “The ESF is a great opportunity to work together with the [nationality] government to strengthen its environmental and social systems, and help build the country’s capacity to implement programs in a sustainable way and to achieve stronger results.”

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. They require the borrowing governments to address certain environmental and social risks in order to receive World Bank support for investment projects.

The ESF is expected to go into effect October 2018, and will progressively replace the World Bank’s current Safeguards policies