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World Bank Annual Meeting Policy Forum – October 10 th , 2013

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World Bank Annual Meeting Policy Forum – October 10 th , 2013 E nvironmental and Social Assessment and Management: Strengthening all levels of the Integrated Framework Cumulative Impact Assessment: Making it work: challenges and options Emmanuel Boulet Principal Environment Specialist

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World Bank Annual Meeting Policy Forum – October 10th, 2013

Environmental and Social Assessment and Management:

Strengthening all levels of the Integrated Framework

Cumulative Impact Assessment:

Making it work: challenges and options

Emmanuel Boulet

Principal Environment Specialist

Inter-American Development Bank

assessment methodologies are well established
Assessment methodologies are well established…
  • General consensus on needs and definition
    • Address “blind spots” of the project-focused ESIA process
    • Definition e.g. “changes to the environment that are caused by an action in combination with other past, present and future actions”(Hegmanet al.)
  • Methodologies exist and their value is proven
    • Identify the Valued Ecosystem Components (VECs)
    • Consult stakeholders on VECs and agree on key ones
    • Define the geographical and temporal scale
    • Build scenarios and assess impacts of each scenario on key VECs (VEC-centered perspective)
    • Identify impact and risks mitigation strategies following the mitigation hierarchy
but there are challenges to make it work in a project centered safeguards framework
…but there are challenges to make it work in a project-centered safeguards framework
  • Roles and responsibilities: attribution of impacts to a specific project is in effect impossible
  • General attribution methodology considers:
    • Comparison with/without the Project
    • Relative contribution of the Project to the resulting cumulative impact
  • Interdependence of effectiveness of mitigation strategies: considering each project in isolation leads to sub-optimal solutions.
  • Example: cascade hydropower:
    • With/without a specific project in the cascade generally does not make a lot of difference to the overall cumulative impact
    • Cumulative impact >> ∑(project impact): each project can have a small contribution to a resulting significant cumulative impact
    • Management dilemma: e.g. barrier effect on migratory fish.
  • Who owns and manages the resulting cumulative impact?
attribution challenge chiriqui viejo river
Attribution challenge: Chiriqui Viejo River
  • Nine hydropower plants are being developed in cascade on the Chiriquí Viejo River, in western Panama.
  • The tailrace of each project -
    • in effect converting the river
    • in a succession of small
    • reservoirs and dewatered
    • stretches.
  • Consider cumulative impact
  • on the river with/without a
  • specific plant. For each plant.
what are the options or how to make it work
What are the options or how to make it work ?
  • Public Sector: appropriate regulatory and institutional framework in place, e.g. for hydropower cascade:
    • Planning tools at the river basin scale, e.g. watershed management plan,
    • Stakeholders representation, e.g. river basin committees
    • Authority which “owns” the cumulative impacts at river basin scale
    • Lessons learned: Sequencing is important. CIA recommendations are unlikely to be acted upon if the key elements of such framework don’t already exist.
    • Private Sector: best efforts to engage and contribute to a multi-stakeholder collaborative approach for the implementation of management actions that are beyond the capacity of an individual project proponent
    • Lessons learned: Requires a champion. Who is willing to own by default the cumulative impact issues ? Often difficult to implement in practice due to the attribution challenge and a “tragedy of the commons” situation.
  • Synergies public/private: “the Panel finds that this absence of complementarities between public and private sector development efforts is partially responsible for the observed flaws.” (Compliance Review Report of loan 2266/OC-PN “Pando-Monte Lirio Hydroelectric Power Plant Project).
another outcome of cia process river offset for the reventazon hydropower project in costa rica
Another outcome of CIA process: river offset for the Reventazon Hydropower Project in Costa-Rica
  • A CIA process was carried out considering all existing and future developments in the Reventazon River basin
  • Conclusion of the CIA was that cumulative impacts on key VECs (fish, tourism, water quality, etc…) would be significant.
  • As a consequence of the CIA process, decision was taken in line with the mitigation hierarchy to develop and implement a river offset: e.g. commitment to leave a free flowing and healthy river system untouched recognizing that cumulative impact on the developed river system can’t be further mitigated.
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