The World Bank and senior officials of the Federal Government on Tuesday commenced a discussion aimed at explaining new environmental and social framework that would guide the bank’s investment in Nigeria beginning from October.
The Senior Communications Officer, Nigeria, World Bank, Olufunke Olufon, who disclosed this in a statement made available to our correspondent in Abuja, said the consultation with the Nigerian officials and other stakeholders opened in Abuja in a workshop format.
She stated, “A workshop to support the implementation of the new World Bank Environmental and Social Framework has kicked off.
“The workshop aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the new environmental and social requirements the World Bank will be applying to new investment projects it finances, starting October 2018.
“The workshop consists of a half-day presentation to senior government officials; a two-day technical training for project implementation staff; and half-day awareness session with other stakeholders, including the civil society and development partners.”
The statement quoted the World Bank Country Director for Nigeria, Rachid Benmessaoud, as saying, “Time and again, we have seen that investment projects are more sustainable and have a greater development impact when the environment is protected and communities and people are engaged.
“The ESF is a great opportunity to work together with the Nigerian government to strengthen its environmental and social systems, and help build the country’s capacity to implement programmes in a sustainable way and to achieve stronger results.”
According to Olufon, the ESF is the result of extensive consultations conducted by the World Bank, with nearly four years of analyses and engagement around the world with governments, development practitioners and civil society groups, reaching nearly 8,000 stakeholders in 63 countries.
She said the new framework provided a broad coverage of environmental and social issues, including important advances on transparency, non-discrimination, social inclusion, public participation and accountability.
The ESF also placed more emphasis on strengthening borrower governments’ own capacities to deal with environmental and social issues, Olufon added.
According to the World Bank’s spokesperson, the environmental and social framework aims to ensure that the people and the environment are protected from the potential adverse impact of the projects it finances.
The framework would assist the borrowing governments to manage certain environmental and social risks in investment projects proposed for World Bank financing support, she added.
The ESF is expected to progressively replace the World Bank’s current safeguard policies.