The objective of this project is to strengthen the provincial government’s capacity for water resources monitoring and management, as also to improve community-based water management in Balochistan. The project covers three major project activities, two of which focus on capacity, institution and information building, and, program management and technical assistance.
A third set of project activities aims to support the implementation of the Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) policy through investments in infrastructure, beneficiary training and small-scale financing. This includes a sub-project comprising eight (8) irrigation projects, four (4) each in Nari and Porali basins, spanning ~128,000 ha and aiming to benefit ~48,100 households. Subproject activities include remodeling of the headwork and secondary canals, water resource development in areas dependent on perennial irrigation, spate irrigation (Sailaba) and rainwater harvesting (Khushkaba) irrigation and construction of access farm tracks. The Project also includes the construction and rehabilitation of sixteen village water supply schemes, with the intent to provide potable water supply to ~4,200 households. Further, flood protection works have been proposed to offset flash flooding in five districts in the Nari basin and in two districts. Development work will be supported by the International Development Association grants as well as by labor contribution from the farmers.
Location: Nari and Porali river basins, with the project implementation unit located in the towns of Sibi and Uthal (Balochistan Province of Pakistan). The river basins include the coastal mangrove forests in Lasbela District, two wildlife sanctuaries and game reserves in the Nari basin and one wildlife sanctuary in Porali basin.
Resources needed: Land, including forest, pasture and agricultural, to be acquired (covering the two river basins); stretch of rivers to be diverted, irrigation canals to be constructed, water storage and flood protection infrastructure to be built; labor force to be engaged and machinery to be acquired etc.
Risk Assessment: Category A.
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 A is assigned to a project only if it is likely to have “significant adverse environmental impacts that are sensitive, diverse, or unprecedented.”
Project type: Irrigation and drainage (60%), Forestry (10%), Public Administration-Water, sanitation and flood protection (10%), Water supply (10 %), Flood protection (10%) etc.
APPLICABLE SOCIAL & ENVIRONMENTAL STANDARDS
Environmental Assessment OP/BP 4.01 - this safeguard is triggered as multiple ecological zones are expected to be affected, with a possibility of some irreversible change in the functioning of the ecozones construction-related environmental impacts such as air quality deterioration, water and soil contamination, land use and land form changes, and impacts on biological resources.
Natural Habitats OP/BP 4.04
This policy is triggered due to environmental impacts of project activities on the natural habitats and protected areas in the two river basins.
Forests OP/BP 4.36
This policy is triggered as Juniper forests in Ziarat and Mangrove forests at the coast of Lasbela may be affected due to the presence in the project area of influence for which mitigation measures have been proposed.
Pest Management OP 4.09
This policy is triggered as major interventions planned to enhance agricultural productivity with a possible introduction of newer crop varietiesmay affect local pest population leading to increased use of pesticides and other agro-chemicals.
Physical Cultural Resources OP/BP 4.11
This policy is triggered due to the presence of local significant heritage places such as religious buildings, graveyards and religious shrines in the project area.
Involuntary Resettlement OP/BP 4.12
triggered as the project schemes will require land for their construction thereby necessitating land taking and possible relocation.
OUR RISK ASSESSMENT
Based on the World Bank's project documents, this project poses potential risks to the following human rights:
The Right to Property and Adequate Housing
The bank documents identify potential relocation of residents, based on the land acquisition requirements for infrastructure schemes proposed in the project. As the majority of the population live in small settlements of five to twenty houses scattered all over the project area, this process is expected to be complicated. According to the Social Impact Assessment and Mitigation Plan, affected farmers are willingly volunteering to contribute their lands for the project, a claim that has not received any independent verification. In the absence of a Resettlement Action Plan, there is no detailed information on the people to be resettled, the amount and nature of compensation etc. Most villages also have traditional water sharing arrangements which are bound to be affected by any relocation. Consultations have also revealed an unwillingness by current downstream residents to share their water-rights with the new beneficiaries of the proposed project.
Right to Food
As observed in the bank documents, the affected river basins comprise forests and mangroves, agricultural and pasture ground-all sources of local food security and income. Apart from land diversion, it is also observed that non-agricultural land might have to be converted into agricultural, thereby disturbing potential traditional or community owned sources of food, timber and livestock rearing resources-all factors essential for human food security, both in the short and the long-term. In the absence of electricity and gas, forest trees located within the project area (for example, the Guzara forest) are the primary source of cost-free fuel for cooking and transportation. Any clearing of trees is expected to negatively affect fuel availability for the local population. A similar impact is expected to result from the cutting down of trees presently lining the irrigation canals in the region.
The Right to a Healthy Environment
Potential harmful impacts identified in bank documents include: irreversible changes to the existing ecozones in the Nari and Porali river basins; on forests (Junipers in Ziarat and Mangroves on the Lasbela coast), wildlife sanctuaries and game reserves, thereby adversely affecting ecological services provided by these protected areas; potential of increased and indiscriminate use of pesticides and other agro-chemicals to counter local pest infestation on newly introduced crop varieties thus leading to soil-water contamination/entry into food-chain.
The Right to Health
Following from the environmental assessment, there is a possibility of the loss of ecological services translating into a loss of healthy environment, thus affecting human and animal health. Further, a similar assessment of pest and pesticide related risks also indicate towards a possible threat to right to health. In the construction period, a heavy flow of traffic in the area is expected thus posing a safety hazard to the locals, especially children. Occupational health and safety hazards for the construction workers, a greater threat of HIV/AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Infections due to the inflow of migrant workers as also the health impact on locals and workers from the pollution (air, noise and vibration), emissions and effluents (soil and water contamination, accidental spills and fuel leakages) generated by the construction activities also lead to right to health challenges.
Right to Livelihood
The bank documents identify relocation and resettlement of the local population, land acquisition (therefore possible loss of traditional sources/means of livelihood), challenges of adequate and equitable compensation as concerns and possible threats to right to livelihood. The threat to livelihood is especially considerable to those residing downstream of the proposed infrastructure schemes (there are downstream users for both Porali River and Kannar Kareze's perennial river flow) and those relying on fishing and shrimp farming from Miani Hor (a protected wetland identified as a Ramsar site under International Law and a significant fishing site). While the Social Impact Assessment and Mitigation Plan covers the land owners in the survey, it does not include the tenants and nomads who do not live within the project area but are dependent on the resources within the area and therefore the impact on their right to livelihood has not been assessed. Further, in both the river basins, the main source of fodder for the livestock are the rangelands and agricultural grounds, acquisition of which is expected to negatively affect animal rearing in the region. It is to be noted that livestock rearing is the second most important source of livelihood after agriculture in the project region according to the Social Impact Assessment and Mitigation Plan.
The third sub-project of Activity B proposes contributions from beneficiary farmers in-kind with labor for cost sharing of the development work but the bank documents provide no detailed plan regarding the negotiations or terms for the labor sharing contract. They also identify establishment of farmer organizations as one of the objectives of the sub-project. National and international labor standards, including the right to form associations, labor safety standards, have direct bearing on both these activities.
Right to Culture
The bank documents note the existence of local significant heritage places such as religious buildings, graveyards and religious shrines in the project area and recommend the development of a Cultural Heritage Management Plan within the first year of project implementation. While the Integrated Safeguards Data Sheet does recommend the contractors inform the relevant department once a discovery of such heritage is made, there is no specific safeguard or procedure identified or proposed for protecting and preserving the cultural site and rights of the local communities.
Bank financing: World Bank (The International Development Association)
Borrower: Economic Affairs Division, Government of Pakistan,
Implementing Agency: Balochistan Irrigation Department
Amount of bank loan or investment: USD 200.00 million
Total project cost: USD 209.70 million
Contact: Mahwash Wasiq
Title: Sr Water Resources Mgmt. Spec.
Contact: Muhammad Riaz
Title: Sr Agricultural Spec.
Tel: 5722+2157 /
Name: Economic Affairs Division, Government of Pakistan
Contact: Mr. Tariq Bajwa
Name: Balochistan Irrigation Department, Government of Balochistan
Contact: Mr. Abdul Hameed Mengal
Title: Project Director
The bank identified government departments, communities and farmers from the target river basins as the stakeholders for the project and required the Environment and Social Impact Assessments to consult them, including NGOs, to obtain technical inputs. The Integrated Safeguards Data Sheet (Appraisal Stage) required consultations with government stakeholders at both inception and completion stages. The Social Impact Assessment and Mitigation Plan included consultations with farmers affected by the sub-projects in the Nari and Porali Basins through the months of September and October (2015). The consultations were meant to provide the local population with information about the proposed project and also the opportunity for them to share their feedback. Significantly, the Social Impact Assessment and Mitigation Plan stated that the farmers present at the meeting agreed that farmers absent during the consultations would be bound to all agreements made between the farmers and government officials. They also agreed to resolve any dispute or disagreement over the project among themselves without disturbing the implementation of the project. Further, they also committed to not object to the cutting down of trees for the project. Demands raised by the local communities during consultations included development of social structures (for example, water collection structures for women and water-drinking structures for the livestock), water supply infrastructure and modification in canal/weir length in order to avoid local conflicts.
The Social Impact Assessment and Mitigation Plan provides for a Grievance Redress Mechanism for “the early identification, assessment and resolution of complaints”. Its three basic standards include submission of written complaints to the Public Complaints Center which will also record and acknowledge them in writing; complaints will be based on referral system and will be referred to the Grievance Redress Committee only when not resolved by the Contractor or the Project Implementation Consultant; the complaints process will follow fixed time-lines as provided in the Social Impact Assessment Plan.
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.