Output 1: Project environmental monitoring solution developed
(i) With Executing Agency (EA) focal persons, national environmental specialists (NESs) continue to conduct frequent project site visits to: review on-site compliance with environmental management plans; identify project-specific and EA-specific environmental management capacity gaps; and propose corrective measures to address these gaps.
(ii) A ranking system was developed, with the objective of providing detailed criteria for ranking environmental compliance of ongoing projects. The system, with 47 separate criteria, is being used to continually measure the progress of every ADB project. Thus far, the NESs have conducted three rankings, the first in Q4 2014, the second in Q3 2015, and the third in Q1 2016.
(iii) These project rankings will help support a monitoring, feedback, and training loop that can be customized to meet the needs and specific capacity gaps of each executing agency. The RETA can now better assess capacity gaps at the project level and also track the on-site progress of its capacity building efforts.
Output 2: Environmental management capacity of executing agencies enhanced
(i) Hired two headquarter-based consultants and nine NESs in AFG, ARM, AZE, GEO, KAZ, KGZ, PAK, TAJ, and UZB.
(ii) Detailed guidelines were developed and orientations were conducted to help focus the capacity building activities of the NESs.
(iii)The NESs developed capacity enhancements plans (CEPs) to provide a general structure for capacity building efforts, aimed at strengthening the environmental management, reporting, and monitoring capabilities of EAs.
(iv) Initial capacity building efforts in Q4 2014 and Q1 2015 focused on improving the quality of bi-annual Environmental Management Reports (BA-EMRs) and providing general training on ADBs safeguard requirements.
(v) In Q2 and Q3 2015, the NES shifted their focus to address more site-specific issues, including improving the implementation of SSEMPs. A number of the NESs also contributed to training on the Grievance Redress Mechanism, as it related to environmental safeguards.
(vi) In 2016, examples of NES support at the project implementation stage included the following:
" TAJ: Conducted final environmental audit on transport project and energy projects.
" PAK: Assisted in the resolution of two complaints lodged with OSPF.
" AZE: For road project, helped develop special management plan in highly valuable forest area.
" AFG: Pushed all 9 PMOs to hire an environmental specialist and helped PMO of Ministry of Public Works prepare 9 pending BA-EMRs (from 2014 and 2015).
" KAZ: Conducted training for 350 front-line credit and risk management specialists (from 5 PFIs) under SME Investment Program.
" ARM: For urban project, helped organize additional consultations and information dissemination and assisted in resolving a number of complaints.
" GEO: Provided on-job trainings and prepared detailed guidelines for waste management at camp and construction sites.
(vii) In 2016, the NESs also stepped up their efforts to support environmental safeguards at the processing stage. Examples include the following:
" GEO: For Batumi Bypass, recommended more detailed noise/vibration modeling and clearer criteria for resettlement.
" TAJ: For road projects, helped finalize DDR for bridges and supplementary IEE for additional feeder roads.
" PAK: For energy project, participated in fact-finding mission and provided support in preparation of EARF, IEEs, and REA checklists.
" AFG: Helped in preparing IIE for subproject under infrastructure rehabilitation project.
" KAZ: For road project IEE, inspected alignment, assessed potential impacts, gathered materials on endangered species, and conducted public consultations.
" AZE: For water projects, helped update two IEEs together with ESs of EA and PMC.
Output 3: Executing agency performance on environmental management showcased
(i) In Q3July 2015, two regional workshops were jointly organized with RETA 7548. The workshops, held in PAK (July 28-30) and KGZ (August 4-6), gathered over 100 environmental safeguard staff from the PIUs of ADB-funded projects in the region. The events offered an opportunity to share experiences in managing environmental safeguard compliance and lessons learned from public consultation and handling complaints.
(ii) NES support included nominating participants, preparing invitations, and assisting the EAs in developing written case studies and presentations. In PAK and KGZ, the support of the NESs extended to coordinating logistical arrangements and setting up site visits.
(iii) In six countries ARM, AZE, KGZ, GEO, PAK and TAJ the NESs put together a list of government environmental institutions and non-government organizations that will take part in a national environment network. In Q4 2015, the first meetings of these networks were held in AZE and TAJ. Subsequently, network meetings in KGZ, GEO, and PAK were held in Q1 and Q2 2016.
1. In AFG and UZB, there were some initial difficulties in finding qualified consultants, which caused a delay in TA implementation in those countries.
2. The last of the NESs was hired in UZB after a protracted search. This consultant subsequently resigned after 6 months, leaving the position vacant.
3. Changes to EAs led to some delays in start-up activities in some countries, such as in AZE.