The purpose of the project is to reduce damage against the cycle of flooding and erosion along the Brahmaputra right-bank to enhance its sustainable management and improve accessibility along the Brahmaputra Right Embankment corridor. Overall, the project will impact 5,751 households (23,584 people). The project will have three phases. Phase 1 (the proposed project) will involve reconstruction and rehabilitation of the embankment, including the construction of riverbank protection structures and flood embankments. This project complements the Asian Development Bank investment plan of the “the development of 50 km of riverbank protection structures and 89 km of flood embankments South of Jamuna Bridge.”
Phase 1 (the proposed project) has several components:
Water resource management (40%), Rural services and infrastructure (15%), other environment and natural resources management (15%), Other rural development (20%), Natural disaster management (10%).
Location: Bangladesh. For the first phase of this project, there is a 50km priority reach extending from Simla to Hasnapara, along the right side of the Jamuna River. Follow-up phases of this project are expected to cover the entire Brahmaputra right embankment up to the Dudkumar River in Kurigram district.
Resources needed: Land acquisition, about 370 hectares. The Environmental Assessment states that 3,628 households (15,558 people) will be displaced.
APPLICABLE SOCIAL & ENVIRONMENTAL STANDARDS
Based on the World Bank's project documents, the following social and environmental safeguards apply:
Environmental Assessment OP/BP 4.01-
triggered because this project will involve construction and rehabilitation of 50km of the existing Brahmaputra Right Embankment (BRE). According to Bank documents, the Jamuna River is of high ecological sensitivity and vulnerability. Because of this, Bank documents state that there could be negative environmental impacts on river ecology and fish migration during early implementation and operational phases of the project. Bank documents state that the key potentially negative impacts and issues associated with the proposed project include changes in land form and land use, resettlement of people, land acquisition, use of natural resources particularly river sand, handling of hazardous materials, solid waste generation, air quality deterioration, noise generation, contamination and land and water, changes in aquatic habitats, loss of trees, risk of accidents, effects on water bodies, water logging due to blockage of local routes, and impacts on sensitive receptors such as schools.
Natural Habitats OP/BP 4.04-triggered because the Jamuna River has rich aquatic biodiversity and provides wintering grounds for migratory birds. In addition, the inland water bodies provide important habitat and breeding areas for fish.
Physical Cultural Resources OP/BP 4.11-
triggered because the project will require relocation of 20 mosques, four temples, one church, six Eid-gahs, and two graveyards. The mosques, temples and Eid-gahs will be reconstructed and the graves will be relocated as part of the Resettlement Action Plan.
Involuntary Resettlement OP/BP 4.12-triggered because the project requires about 370 hectares for land acquisition. An estimated 3,628 households (15,558 people) will be displaced.
Projects on International Waterways OP/BP 7.50-
triggered because the Brahmaputra River Basin is an International Waterway.
Pest Management OP/BP 4.09- triggered because the project is expected to result in changes to land use, including potential intensification of agricultural production in the new flood-protected areas, which can result in increased use of chemical pesticides.
OUR RISK ASSESSMENT
Based on the World Bank's projects documents, this project proposes potential risks to the following human rights:
Right to Property & Adequate Housing
According to Bank documents, during Phase 1 of the project, the proposed civil works will require land acquisition and relocation of many people -- an average of 70 households per km of the priority reach with average family size of four per household. The World Bank estimates that the project will require 370 hectares of land and 3,628 households (15,558 persons) will be displaced. Out of the 370 hectares of land affected, 74% is agricultural land, 17% is homestead land and the rest is bamboo groves and orchards. Other potential impacts to households are loss of assets and loss of agricultural plots. Bank documents state that the loss of land and structures will be compensated by replacement value based on the current market prices. Other resettlement benefits associated with structure, trees, business, wage, share cropping, and fish stock will also be paid. The project will provide 15 resettlement sites with basic infrastructure facilities such as water supply, sanitation, access roads, drains and schools. Bank documents state that the resettlement sites were selected in consultation with affected communities. The Bangladesh Water Development Board will develop a Special Action Plan that will address the following: implementing a development-oriented resettlement program, resettlement policy framework for the riverbank, a gender action plan, a public health plan, local assistance development program, and a grievance mechanism.
Right to Culture
The proposed project will require relocation of 20 mosques, four temples, one church, six Eid-gahs, and two graveyards. The mosques, temples and Eid-gahs will be reconstructed and the graves will be relocated as part of the Resettlement Action Plan.
Right to Food
According to the World Bank documents, fishing activities will be impacted due to the project. The Jamuna is an important source of fresh water fish in Bangladesh. It is also a breeding and spawning ecosystem of for many aquatic fauna. To the extent that communities residing along the bank are dependent on fish for their food, the right to food may be impacted. Also, any possible contamination and handling of hazardous waste and the destruction of breeding and spawning grounds from the construction would potentially decrease the number of river organisms and the quality as a food source.
Right to Livelihood
The project is likely to affect 276 hectares of agricultural land and a total of 232 business structures. Bank documents state that about 94 percent of the agricultural plot owners will lose less than 10 percent of their income due to loss of agricultural land. The Bank states that the major impact on livelihood will be from relocation of 148 shops/kiosks which are currently on the embankment. Additionally, Bank documents state that fishing is one of the few livelihood opportunities for most of the landless people in the project influence area. Additionally, physical relocation of affected households may also impact their livelihoods. Additionally, and to the extent that populations rely on fishing for livelihoods, any negative impacts on the river may negatively impact the quantity and quality of fishing product. People in the project area will be eligible for an Income and Livelihood Restoration Plan. The Social will include a livelihood restoration component.
Right to Water
According to the World Bank documents, Bangladesh is the most downstream country of the Brahmaputra/Jamuna River and the proposed project is not expected to adversely change the quality or quantity of the water flow. However, a contamination upstream may damage the ecosystems downstream. Because of possible contamination in the water due to construction and the handling of hazardous waste, those dependent on the river would be forced to find another ways to access water. Additionally, natural river environments that contain natural filtering mechanism would possibly be destroyed in the construction, decreasing the quality of water for washing and/or drinking.
Right to Healthy Environment
The Jamuna River has rich aquatic biodiversity and provides wintering grounds for migratory birds. The inland water bodies also provide important habitat and breeding areas for fish. Bank documents state that the construction activities will have direct impacts on aquatic and riparian habitats. The river ecology would be impacted. Fishing activities may be impacted due to the loss of spawning and breeding areas along the bank. Additionally, during construction, there are risks associated with solid waste and hazardous waste from road maintenance and the resettlement sites. If not properly disposed, the waste can contaminate soil and water resources.
Bank documents state that the majority of agricultural practices in the area use chemical pesticides and so this project may lead to intensified use of chemical pesticides or fertilizers. Construction activities pose health risks due to use of hazardous substances.
Rights of Marginalized Groups
Bank documents indicate that nearly two-third of those affected live on embankments and that the people on the embankments are among the poorest in the country. Also, of the 23,584 people affected by the project, 8,982 are female. The World Bank has concluded that none of the impacted groups is considered to be Indigenous and therefore its Indigenous Peoples policy does not apply.
Rights of Marginalized Groups
Bank documents indicate that nearly two-third of those affected live on embankments and that the “people on the embankments are among the poorest in the country.” Also, of the 23,584 people affected by the project, 8,982 are female. The World Bank has concluded that none of the impacted groups is considered to be Indigenous and therefore its Indigenous Peoples policy does not apply.
Bank financing: World Bank
Borrower: Government of Bangladesh, Bangladesh Water Development Board
Amount of bank loan or investment: 600.00 USD Million
Total project cost: 650.00 USD Million
Contact: Abedalrazq F. Khalil
Title: Sr Water Resources Spec.
Name: Economic Relations Division, Ministry of Finance
Title: Additional Secretary, Ministry of Finance
The World Bank documents note that its policy requires consultation with the affected people. According to Bank documents, “extensive consultations were carried out by both social and environmental study teams during the project preparation.” Initial consultations were held in August and September 2014. Then a second round of consultations was carried out between January to April 2015 to disclose the results of the Environmental Impact Assessment. The Bank states that 11,628 people participated in the consultations. In addition, Bank documents state that a national stakeholder consultation workshop was held in Dhaka on January 25, 2015 to disclose the environmental and social assessment reports.
Project-Level Grievance Mechanism
According to the World Bank’s documents, the project will establish a grievance redress mechanism. Under the grievance redress mechanism, two Grievance Redress Committees will be formed- a local grievance committee and a project grievance redress committee. At the time of writing, no other details were available.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. You can learn more about the Inspection Panel and how to file a complaint at: http://ewebapps.worldbank.org/apps/ip/Pages/Home.aspx.