AfDB Launches Environmental & Social Procedures Basics Brochure

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A two-day AfDB/GIZ workshop on strategic environmental and social assessment ended on March 22, 2011 in Tunis with the presentation of an AfDB brochure on “Environmental and Social Procedures Basics for Public Sector Operations”. The brochure, produced by Compliance and Safeguards Division, provides a simplified step-by-step project cycle and an action/output guide for Bank staff in environment and social assessment operations.   

Presenting the brochure, Compliance and Safeguards Division Manager, Anthony Nyong, underscored Bank effort to fully integrate strategic environmental and social assessment guidelines in Bank Group operations including policy-based lending operations, to the extent that they would lead to a country-owned system. He noted that the format of the brochure presented to the audience was to enable Bank experts to easily carry them in their pockets on their project cycle missions to Regional Member Countries (RMCs). Mr. Nyong regretted that RMCs were not always familiar with the Bank’s policies and procedures and that Bank staff have corporate social responsibility to guide them.   

Reacting to the favorable consensus on the brochure, the division’s Chief Environmental Expert, Mbarack Diop, added that after the meeting with renowned international experts in the subject, the Bank now finds itself in a good standing to follow a two-pronged strategic focus on environmental and social assessments. The first pillar of the work program relates the Bank’s commitment to a green development strategy for Africa while the other hinges on its efforts to ensure a low carbon economy in the continent, a combined objective cherished by Bank top management.

Mr. Diop explained that unlike in the past when the Bank’s environmental considerations were more or less project-based, the emerging reality was that the Bank’s SESA mainstreaming tools would henceforth take into consideration all the economic, social and environmental aspects including policy-based operations.  In doing so, ample consideration should be given to poverty reduction, project sustainability and safeguards.

“The just-ended workshop has deepened the Bank’s sensitivity to SESA as a tool for strengthening environmental governance and mainstreaming climate change considerations in national policies, programs and plans. It has enhanced our knowledge on safeguards and development effectiveness, eliciting already an urgent need for us to update the Bank’s Strategic Impact Assessment (SIA) Guidelines,” Mr. Diop concluded.