The project aims at increasing access to electricity in rural areas of Uganda. It will cover on-grid investments including grid system expansion/ intensification and on-grid household connections. The project will also cover off grid energy access including the installation of solar PV systems for public institutions in rural areas, business development support, provision of credit facilities to enhance electricity access and quality standards enforcement support. In this project, "construction of power distribution lines shall involve excavations and earth works, vegetation clearance of both grass and trees, formation of murram bunds for pole structures in wetland areas, creation of wetland access paths, establishment of equipment storage areas, land take or displacement of land uses and associated compensation."
Location: The proposed power line starts from Ruhumba on the Ibanda- Mbarara road up to Kashwa, a division of Kiruhura town. The grid extension covers approximately 113km of a 33kv overhead lines, 60kms of low voltage networks and 41 distribution transformers serving at least 43 villages/ trading centres with tee-offs at Rwebishuri in Mbarara Municipal Council and Rwobuhura and Rwanyange in Kiruhura districts.
Resources needed: Road reserves along the project area.
Risk Assessment: Category B:
The World Bank classifies proposed projects based on the type, location, sensitivity, and scale of the project and the nature and severity of its potential environmental impacts. Category B is assigned to a project if it has “potential adverse environmental impacts on human populations or environmentally important areas - including wetlands, forests, grasslands, and other natural habitats”.
APPLICABLE SOCIAL & ENVIRONMENTAL STANDARDS:
Environmental Assessment OP/BP 4.01
triggered because "the programme will support investments with potential negative environmental and social impacts arising mostly from the construction of the 33/11 kv power distribution lines."
Natural Habitats OP/BP 4.04
triggered because "some power lines may pass through and affect natural habitats such as forests and wetlands." Clearance of the power line corridor (way leave) and access roads will impact the vegetation cover.
Forests OP/BP 4.36
triggered because "some power lines may pass through forest areas with a potential of causing negative impacts.
Involuntary Resettlement OP/BP 4.1
triggered because "the project will involve displacement of land uses limiting access and livelihoods."
Physical Cultural Resources OP/BP 4.11
triggered because "civil and earth works during the construction of the power lines may affect the known or unknown physical cultural resources."
Our Risk Assessment:
Based on the World Bank’s project documents, this project poses potential risks to the following human rights:
The Right to a Healthy Environment
Construction, testing, maintenance and commissioning of electric power lines is likely to expose workers to multiple occupational hazards such as injury or loss of lives from accidents, electrocution, and attack by wildlife. An increase in the labor force in the project area is likely to "accelerate prostitution and elopement" and "likely to disrupt the closely netted social networks". Documents suggest this may "encourage the transmission of HIV/AIDS and other STDs."
The Right to Water
Water from the two major wetlands where the lines will pass is likely to be contaminated by creosote, a chemical used for treating electricity poles. There is also a likelihood of spillage of transformer oil at any stage of the project contaminating water sources.
Right to food and property
The project is likely to affect 79 villages having a total of 735 people through cutting down of crops and trees that are within the road reserves where power lines are to be placed.
Right to Culture
Power lines are likely to pass through cultural sites like shrines and graves in some places which is a violation of the people's cultural norms. Cultural sites may also be affected during pit excavations where chance finds are likely to occur in some project areas.
Bank financing: International Development Association (IDA). This project is also co-financed by the Global Environmental Facility (GEF)
Borrower: Government of the Republic of Uganda implemented by the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development.
Amount of bank loan or investment: $135M
Total project cost: $153.20M
*No contact info available at time of writing
Consultations for project development were conducted from 13th-17th July 2014 involving local communities, local authorities and technocrats from the districts of Mbarara and Kiruhura.
The project proposes a grievance redress procedure that involves filing of complaints through a Grievance Officer who lodges them with the Contractor, Sub-county/ District Office or the Grievance Committee member. The Grievance Officer, a local leader and a community representative will determine a corrective action in consultation with the aggrieved person. If the complainant remains dissatisfied, the complaint will be handled by the Grievance Committee at the District level. If still dissatisfied, the complainant may undertake judicial proceedings in courts of law.
ACCOUNTABILITY MECHANISM OF WORLD BANK
The World Bank Inspection Panel is the independent complaint mechanism and fact-finding body for people who believe they are likely to be, or have been, adversely affected by a World Bank-financed project. If you submit a complaint to the Inspection Panel, they may investigate to assess whether the World Bank is following its own policies and procedures for preventing harm to people or the environment. You can contact the Inspection Panel or submit a complaint by emailing email@example.com. You can learn more about the Inspection Panel and how to file a complaint at: http://ewebapps.worldbank.org/apps/ip/Pages/Home.aspx.