This is additional financing for parent/original project (P132500). The goal of that project is “to enable poor rural communities to benefit from improved access to and use of basic infrastructure and services through a people-centered approach and to enhance the government’s capacity to respond promptly and effectively to an eligible crises or emergency.” Typical works considered for financing will be for schools, community recreation and health centers, small rural roads, rural water supply systems and sanitation facilities, and the rehabilitation of small irrigation schemes. The initial project involved 15 townships. This additional financing will roll out grants to an estimated 40 townships. The planning and prioritization of projects is undertaken by villagers and representatives of the village tract. According to the Bank, “given the lack of familiarity of local authorities and communities with the concept of community empowerment, the first annual cycle in each township is limited to a positive list of sub-projects that are easier to implement focused on rehabilitation and minor extension work.” The components of the project include: facilitation and capacity development at the union and township levels, including the hiring of community facilitators for the purpose of supporting the implementation of community driven activities; support for government staff and community and civil society representatives to enable South-South learning exchanges of successful community driven development approaches in ASEAN countries; implementation support for the Department of Rural Development; and emergency contingency support.
Locations: Nationwide. The project will operate in at least 50 townships, including at least one in each of the country’s 14 regions and states, as well as the union territory. However, the exact list of townships to be covered as part of the scale up will be determined during implementation.
Resources needed: Although sub-projects and locations are not yet determined, it is likely that at least “minor” land and asset acquisition is required for small-scale works for the rehabilitation, extension or construction of community infrastructure.
Project type: Rural and inter-urban roads and highways (30%), Irrigation and drainage (20%), General water, sanitation and flood protection (20%), General education (15%), Health (15%)
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
According to Bank documents, the project triggers the following environmental and social safeguard policies:
Environmental Assessment OP/BP 4.01
this safeguard is triggered as the additional financing will continue to finance small-scale rehabilitation and construction rural infrastructure works. The infrastructure to be financed includes small feeder roads, footpaths, small bridges, water supply systems for villages, rehabilitation of classrooms and health centers, small scale irrigation schemes and small-scale rural electrification schemes, such as pico-hydro and solar panels.
Natural Habitats OP/BP 4.04
triggered because of the potential negative impacts that sub-project activities might have on natural habitats. Bank documents state that these activities are expected to be small-scale. However, this policy is triggered to ensure that any physical interventions, including those proposed in known reserved or declared national forest zones) will not adversely impact or lead to the degradation of critical or other natural habitats.
Indigenous Peoples OP/BP 4.10
triggered because for the original project site it was expected that ethnic minority communities would be present in the project areas of influence. The expanded geographic coverage under this additional financing will make it very likely that ethnic minorities will be impacted. However, the exact list of townships to be covered as part of the scale up will be determined upon implementation.
Involuntary Resettlement OP/BP 4.12
triggered because the sub-projects may involve minor land acquisition or loss of assets, although the Bank states that sub-projects that will likely require a physical relocation of household will not be eligible for financing. Where a minor loss of private land or assets in unavoidable, impacts will be addressed through voluntary donations by affected people.
Projects on International Waterways OP/BP 7.50
triggered because the project will finance the construction, rehabilitation and improvement of small-scale village-based rural water supply and sanitation systems (e.g., tube wells, latrines), as well as rehabilitation and construction of modest new village-based small scale irrigation schemes (less than 25 hectares) and pico-hydro facilities. This project will not finance community water supply and small scale irrigation on or along the Maykha and Malikha tributaries of the Ayeyarwaddy River.
OUR RISK ASSESSMENT
Based on the World Bank's project documents, this project poses potential risks to the following human rights:
Right to Adequate Housing and Land
As noted above, the project triggers the World Bank's safeguard policy on Involuntary Resettlement because sub-projects may involve the minor land acquisition or loss of assets. The Bank states that no involuntary land or asset acquisition is financed by this project, and that minor losses of land or assets have occurred to a small number of households and have been addressed through voluntary donations. In the case where informed consent to donate it not obtained, an abbreviated Resettlement Action Plan will be developed and compensation paid in full. Sub-projects financed under the original project comprised of small scale civil works to rehabilitate, improve or construct small-scale rural infrastructure and did not require involuntary acquisition of private land or assets. The Bank documents state that no involuntary land or asset acquisition occurred during the original project, but minor losses of land or assets occurred to a small number of households which were addressed through voluntary donations. Bank documents state that it is expected that most project impacts will be addressed through voluntary donation without any significant or long-term impact on livelihoods. A technical review was carried out in August 2014 and along with the social audits in June and August 2014, and the Bank confirmed that all affected households willingly and knowingly donated lands or assets in accordance with the specified protocol. Also, according to a World Bank implementations support mission conducted in July 2014 and a review of the voluntary donation forms, affected people had voluntarily donated land or assets.
Careful attention to these matters is required, given Myanmar's long history of conflict stemming from land disputes. Development projects in Myanmar have been associated with the use of physical force to compel relocation. In its report, the Karen Human Rights Group states that villagers described explicit orders issued by military and civilian government officials for communities to relocate from targeted project areas, such as those to be developed for agri-business, infrastructure development or dams, and said that such orders were frequently accompanied by threats of violence for non-compliance. Other villagers described being forced of necessity to relocate due to the destruction of livelihoods and environmental degradation in or near project sites. According to that same report, villagers reported obstacles to seeking redress, including an inability to afford and a lack of awareness about formal legal remedies.
Right to Livelihood
Bank documents state that it is expected that most project impacts will be addressed through voluntary donation without any significant or long-term impact on livelihoods. As noted above, careful attention must be paid to these matters. The loss of private land, crops and other assets may have implications on the ability of affected persons to sustain their livelihoods. Bank documents state that entitlements include, at minimum, rehabilitation assistance to restore the livelihoods and standards of living, in real terms, to pre-project levels or to levels prevailing prior to the beginning of sub-project implementation, whichever is higher.
Rights of Indigenous Peoples
Although Myanmar voted in favor of endorsing the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), which provides for free, prior, and informed consent prior to land acquisition, resettlement, and project development, Burma has yet to enshrine the right of individuals to participate in decision making regarding projects that affect them in its national laws. According to an assessment report published by the Danish Institute for Human rights, Myanmar Centre for Responsible Business, and the Institute for Human Rights and Business, Myanmar is one of the most culturally diverse countries in the region, and ethnicity is a complex, contested and politically sensitive issue where ethnic groups have long believed that the Government manipulates ethnic categories for political purposes. The report notes that the recognition of certain groups living in Myanmar as 'indigenous peoples' is unclear in law and may be contested in practice.
Bank documents do not identify which specific indigenous populations will be impacted by the sub-projects, but note that ethnic minorities would be present in the project areas of influence. During the first year of implementation, ethnic minorities (Bamar, Kayin, Rakhine, Salon, Palaung, Lisu, Dai) were present in the project township. According to the Bank, Ethnic Minority screening was conducted with the participation of almost all village households and no discriminatory treatment of ethnic minorities was reported. Documents also state that social audits were conducted in June August 2014 and did not find any grievances or complaints from Ethnic Minority groups. The documents state the steps taken by the Department of Rural Development to ensure the translation of key project materials into all relevant ethnic languages, including the use of illustration and visuals for ethnic languages without a written alphabet. Finally, the Bank will continue to support participatory social assessment, which includes: Ethnic Minority screening, and free, prior and informed consultations with Ethnic Minorities. Bank documents state that [t]he broad community support of affected Ethnic Minorities for priorities supported by the Project will be ascertained as part of the participatory social assessment. This assessment will inform the creation of Village Tract Development Plans, which will serve as the Indigenous Peoples Plan. Notably, the Bank has stated [w]here broad community support is not ascertained, sub-projects will not be implemented in respective communities.
Although the World Bank does not specifically flag labor rights as a source of concern in its investment documents, Myanmar has a long history of forced labor issues with respect to development projects. According to the Human Rights Documentation Unit of the National Coalition Government of the Union of Burma, the ILO and the UN have both expressed concern regarding the continued widespread use of forced labor in Burma, particularly in ethnic border areas. Potential impacts and safety hazards related to construction under this project include: air pollution/dust/noise, temporary pollution of soil and surface waters due to accidental spillage of fuel from construction activities, and improper disposal of construction-related wastes. According to Bank documents, these impacts will be closely managed during construction by communities or contractors hired by them and closely supervised by the Department of Rural Development at the township level.
Right to a Healthy Environment
Bank documents state that temporary negative impacts will be related to small scale construction activities and that the physical rehabilitation of existing infrastructure will not involve significant modifications, and that the construction of new infrastructure may potentially cause significant impacts is not financed under this project. Similarly, the Bank states that the potential negative impacts that sub-project activities might have on natural habitats are expected to be small-scale. Nonetheless, the Bank's safeguard policy on Natural Habitats is triggered to ensure that any physical interventions, including those proposed in known reserved or declared national forest zones) will not adversely impact or lead to the degradation of critical or other natural habitats. It is difficult to know with certainty what the impacts of the project will be until the sub-project locations are identified during implementation. The Borrower has prepared an Environmental and Social Management Framework, which sets out the process for conducting the environmental and social impact assessment of sub-projects; the requirements and process for screening and assessing sub-project eligibility and impacts; and the identification and implementation of mitigation measures of these impacts. Any sub-projects larger than 40 million kyats will require notification to the union level Department of Rural Development office and a prior no objection from the World Bank to screen potential environmental and social risks.
Bank financing: World Bank. This project is co-financed by the Italy Development Cooperation Fund, Japan Social Development Fund, and the Borrower.
Name: Ministry of Finance
Contact: Nwe Nwe Win
Title: Budget Director
Name: Ministry of Livestock, Fisheries and Rural Development
Contact: U Soe Ko Ko
Title: Director General
The draft Environmental and Social Framework was disclosed on January 26, 2015. According to Bank documents, this document was subject to public consultations, including with civil society. Consultations took place in Yangon (February 9, 2015); in Mandalay (February 11, 2015); and Naypyitaw (February 16, 2015).
As part of the Environmental and Social Framework under the original project, the Bank will support participatory social assessments “to be conducted by affected community members themselves including Ethnic Minorities under the support of a trained Community Facilitator.” This participatory social assessment includes: Ethnic Minority screening, and free, prior and informed consultations with Ethnic Minorities. Bank documents state that “[t]he broad community support of affected Ethnic Minorities for priorities supported by the Project will be ascertained as part of the participatory social assessment. The result of this assessment will be the development of a Village Tract Development Plan, which will serve as the Indigenous Peoples Plan and meet all the requirements of the Indigenous Peoples’ Policy (OP/BP 4.10).
Project-Level Grievance Mechanisms
The Environmental and Social Management Plan will address the grievance handling mechanism, in addition to the public consultation process during implementation.
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.