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Regional: Sustainable Capacity Development for Safeguards in the Pacific – Phase 1

Sovereign (Public) Project | 54071-001 Status: Active

The knowledge and support technical assistance (TA) will help Pacific developing member countries (DMCs) implement safeguards by (i) developing a region-wide strategy and plan for sustainable environment and involuntary resettlement safeguards capacity strengthening, and (ii) providing targeted training and sector and/or project-specific consulting services in the 14 Pacific DMCs. It will take into consideration the recommendations of the Independent Evaluation Department's performance evaluation report Strengthening Safeguard Capacity in the Pacific. The TA is in the Pacific Regional Operations Business Plan, 2020 2022 and management-approved work program of the Asian Development Bank's (ADB) Pacific Department (PARD).

Project Details

Project Officer
Williams, Jean Pacific Department Request for information
Country
  • Regional
Sector
  • Water and other urban infrastructure and services
 
Project Name Sustainable Capacity Development for Safeguards in the Pacific – Phase 1
Project Number 54071-001
Country Regional
Cook Islands
Fiji
Micronesia, Federated States of
Kiribati
Nauru
Niue
Palau
Papua New Guinea
Marshall Islands
Samoa
Solomon Islands
Tonga
Tuvalu
Vanuatu
Project Status Active
Project Type / Modality of Assistance Technical Assistance
Source of Funding / Amount
TA 6597-REG: Sustainable Capacity Development for Safeguards in the Pacific
Technical Assistance Special Fund US$ 750,000.00
Strategic Agendas Environmentally sustainable growth
Inclusive economic growth
Drivers of Change Gender Equity and Mainstreaming
Governance and capacity development
Knowledge solutions
Sector / Subsector

Energy / Energy sector development and institutional reform

Transport / Transport policies and institutional development

Water and other urban infrastructure and services / Urban policy, institutional and capacity development

Gender Equity and Mainstreaming Some gender elements
Description The knowledge and support technical assistance (TA) will help Pacific developing member countries (DMCs) implement safeguards by (i) developing a region-wide strategy and plan for sustainable environment and involuntary resettlement safeguards capacity strengthening, and (ii) providing targeted training and sector and/or project-specific consulting services in the 14 Pacific DMCs. It will take into consideration the recommendations of the Independent Evaluation Department's performance evaluation report Strengthening Safeguard Capacity in the Pacific. The TA is in the Pacific Regional Operations Business Plan, 2020 2022 and management-approved work program of the Asian Development Bank's (ADB) Pacific Department (PARD).
Project Rationale and Linkage to Country/Regional Strategy

There are significant challenges in the Pacific, not least the number of fragile and conflict-affected situations and small island developing states, as well as the frequency of disasters and the increasing fragility caused by climate change. Limited and often expensive air and marine transportation presents additional challenges. Each of the drivers described below compound the complexity of implementing safeguards in the region.

Existing staff (and local consultants) have limited familiarity with international standards and practices and sometimes lack authority and/or resources. For the environment, all but one Pacific DMC (Nauru) has in place environmental impact assessment and/or environmental protection legislation. For land matters and resettlement, land laws in some Pacific DMCs focus more on acquisition and alienation of land and less on protection of landowners or their assets.

The Pacific DMCs have varying histories of colonization and conflict, along with differing local traditions and customs, which have left legacies that affect and shape institutional and regulatory arrangements for land and marine tenure. All Pacific DMCs, except for Tonga, legally recognize customary land ownership, although land rights are managed according to unique processes linked to each society's social and traditional belief systems.

Varying forms of customary tenure, coupled with land scarcity and parallel use of both formal and customary systems, frequently complicate the process of obtaining access to land for development projects.

Customary matters and indigenous structures are typically addressed within land law frameworks and within the application of involuntary resettlement safeguards. In terms of the involuntary resettlement safeguard requirement. All Pacific DMCs, except Nauru, permit expropriation by the government for public purpose development projects, but to date only the governments of Papua New Guinea and Samoa are known to regularly exercise expropriation laws. Most expropriation laws were enacted during colonial times to provide for eminent domain, compulsory acquisition, and alienation of custom land and, post-colonialism, are often not exercised because of a range of reasons. The use of negotiated settlements for development projects is common in Pacific DMCs. Such arrangements can enhance human rights and security of land tenure for customary landowners but necessitate complex due diligence requirements to avoid and reduce social risks.

Weak capacity of government agencies, inadequate legal frameworks, lack of coordination, and weak enforcement of regulations where they do exist are the key constraints on safeguard implementation in Pacific DMCs. There are gaps in country safeguards systems (CSS), compounded by shortages of comprehensive guidance products and implementing regulations, despite past positive efforts in this area. An evaluation of the CSS for equivalence with the 70 key principles of the environment safeguard requirement in the Safeguard Policy Statement 2009 (SPS) indicates that 59% of Pacific DMC domestic laws and regulations overall were fully or partially equivalent with the environment policies. The equivalence assessment results for involuntary resettlement policies showed that domestic laws and regulations had no equivalence with more than two-thirds of the SPS policy principles and key elements. The differing demands of development partners relating to safeguards further complicates implementation in Pacific DMCs.

In the Pacific, the CSS focus on development/project approval and less on implementation. Assessments conducted at the feasibility study stage are often not updated, and in turn bidding documents are released and construction activities commence with weak environmental management plans, affected persons are not fully compensated, and at times national approvals are not obtained. Contractors lack capacity and/or experience in environmental management, and health and safety matters are not uniformly addressed, leading to increased risks on projects.

Pacific DMCs challenges and constraints require continued collaboration between development partners through mechanisms such as the Pacific Learning Partnership for Environmental and Social Sustainability (PLP-ESS), which was established by ADB, World Bank, University of the South Pacific, and the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) in April 2019 to foster training, knowledge exchange, and coordinated capacity development activities. ADB's PARD also is an active member of the Pacific Regional Infrastructure Facility (PRIF) Safeguards Working Group to help Pacific DMCs to implement more efficiently their respective environment and social requirements. The PRIF Safeguards Working Group has also made significant progress in developing a framework for development partners to use that seeks to promote common terminology and approaches to safeguards, in a publication titled The Shared Approach. The SPREP plays an important role by helping the Pacific DMCs strengthen and implement their CSS; however, SPREP has focused on implementation of environmental impact assessment legislation and has not yet segued into social impact aspects (as they relate to EIA) or post-approval environmental management requirements. In the Pacific region, there is no equivalent to SPREP for social safeguards.

The PLP-ESS is looking to help develop social safeguard training and provide resources to SPREP to deliver social safeguards focused training, in addition to SPREP's comprehensive program of environmental safeguards training. Also, the PLP-ESS has helped the University of the South Pacific develop a post-graduate diploma program. The Postgraduate Diploma in Islands and Oceans Stewardship will be one way to effectively support the needs of the region in further developing capacity for environmental and social safeguards and further embed and expand environmental and social management learning opportunities already offered by the university to both existing and future practitioners.

The lessons learned from projects and implementing capacity building activities during previous TA, as well as the findings from an independent evaluation of PARD's TA projects, provide direction for future safeguards capacity development. Key lessons learned include the need to: (i) consider alternatives to standard approaches for safeguards implementation and capacity development (including technologies and different outsourcing modalities); (ii) repeat capacity development efforts over time to address understaffing, underfunding, and high staff turnover in regulatory agencies; (iii) address limited knowledge of government staff of their own CSS requirements and complex issues of safeguards implementation; and (iv) address findings on access to land including (a) the limited role of negotiated settlements, especially in situations where customary ownership prevails, (b) the misunderstandings that may occur during implementation based on differing understandings of customary roles and responsibilities, and (c) balancing land access for development projects with the need to support customary land ownership tenure and associated traditions, beliefs, and practices. The recommendations from the Independent Evaluation Department's Pacific safeguards TA performance evaluation (footnote 9) included: (i) developing a long-term vision and strategy for capacity strengthening in the Pacific, (ii) addressing gaps in regulatory frameworks, (iii) furthering current partnerships, and (iv) conducting follow-up assessments on land issues.

This TA initiates a multiyear process to deliver on lessons learned and recommendations. Phase 1 will implement short-term actions. The strategy and lessons learned during phase 1 will identify medium and longer-term needs and actions, which will drive a planned phase 2 TA.

Impact Safeguards implementation in PDMCs is improved.
Project Outcome
Description of Outcome A coordinated and sustainable approach to safeguards strengthening is developed and implemented
Progress Toward Outcome
Implementation Progress
Description of Project Outputs

Region-wide, capacity development strategy and plan prepared, and short-term capacity development activities implemented

Targeted safeguards support delivered

Status of Implementation Progress (Outputs, Activities, and Issues)
Geographical Location Cook Islands - Nation-wide; Fiji - Nation-wide; Kiribati - Nation-wide; Marshall Islands - Nation-wide; Micronesia, Federated States of - Nation-wide; Nauru - Nation-wide; Niue - Nation-wide; Palau - Nation-wide; Papua New Guinea - Nation-wide; Samoa - Nation-wide; Solomon Islands - Nation-wide; Tonga - Nation-wide; Tuvalu - Nation-wide; Vanuatu - Nation-wide
Summary of Environmental and Social Aspects
Environmental Aspects
Involuntary Resettlement
Indigenous Peoples
Stakeholder Communication, Participation, and Consultation
During Project Design
During Project Implementation
Responsible ADB Officer Williams, Jean
Responsible ADB Department Pacific Department
Responsible ADB Division PAOD-PRQ
Timetable
Concept Clearance 03 Aug 2020
Fact Finding -
MRM -
Approval 16 Nov 2020
Last Review Mission -
Last PDS Update 18 Nov 2020

TA 6597-REG

Milestones
Approval Signing Date Effectivity Date Closing
Original Revised Actual
16 Nov 2020 - 16 Nov 2020 31 Dec 2022 - -
Financing Plan/TA Utilization Cumulative Disbursements
ADB Cofinancing Counterpart Total Date Amount
Gov Beneficiaries Project Sponsor Others
750,000.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 750,000.00 16 Nov 2020 0.00

Project Data Sheets (PDS) contain summary information on the project or program. Because the PDS is a work in progress, some information may not be included in its initial version but will be added as it becomes available. Information about proposed projects is tentative and indicative.

The Access to Information Policy (AIP) recognizes that transparency and accountability are essential to development effectiveness. It establishes the disclosure requirements for documents and information ADB produces or requires to be produced.

The Accountability Mechanism provides a forum where people adversely affected by ADB-assisted projects can voice and seek solutions to their problems and report alleged noncompliance of ADB's operational policies and procedures.

In preparing any country program or strategy, financing any project, or by making any designation of, or reference to, a particular territory or geographic area in this document, the Asian Development Bank does not intend to make any judgments as to the legal or other status of any territory or area.

Safeguard Documents See also: Safeguards

Safeguard documents provided at the time of project/facility approval may also be found in the list of linked documents provided with the Report and Recommendation of the President.

None currently available.

Evaluation Documents See also: Independent Evaluation

None currently available.

Related Publications

None currently available.


The Access to Information Policy (AIP) establishes the disclosure requirements for documents and information ADB produces or requires to be produced in its operations to facilitate stakeholder participation in ADB's decision-making. For more information, refer to the Safeguard Policy Statement, Operations Manual F1, and Operations Manual L3.

Requests for information may also be directed to the InfoUnit.

Tenders

Tender Title Type Status Posting Date Deadline
Social Safeguards Specialist - Strategy Development Individual - Consulting Closed 19 Jan 2021 01 Feb 2021
Environnment Specialist - Strategy Development Individual - Consulting Closed 19 Jan 2021 01 Feb 2021
Environment Safeguards Specialist (Strategy) Individual - Consulting Closed 12 Jan 2021 23 Jan 2021
Social Safeguards Specialist - Support Individual - Consulting Closed 12 Jan 2021 01 Feb 2021

Contracts Awarded

No contracts awarded for this project were found

Procurement Plan

None currently available.