The intersection of land management, rights, and use forms the key development issue for millions of rural Ethiopians facing water insecurity, food insecurity, land tenure insecurity, and livelihood insecurity – all amplified by climate variability and change. Climate impacts in Ethiopia are felt primarily through water stress, which is affected by land use and degradation that undermines watershed function. In Ethiopia, the estimated cost of land degradation is 2-3% of GDP, before accounting for downstream effects, such as increased flood risk. The proven remedy centers on delivering a combination of better natural resource management and resource rights, jobs and livelihood enhancements, and gender outreach throughout targeted major watersheds. Restoration effects include a range of resilience-related results, including increased soil moisture and soil fertility important for higher and less variable crop yields, improved water availability, and increased carbon sequestration– all of which are high priorities for the government. Much progress has been made by the government and thousands of local communities to address these challenges through proven investment packages financed by the World Bank. However, this work requires more innovation, more financing, more coordination, and much greater scale if the country is to meet its resilience and low carbon objectives while achieving middle income status in less than 10 years as planned.
The World Bank, together with other DPs, has been financing Ethiopia’s Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Resource (MoALR) Sustainable Land Management Program in six regional states of the Ethiopian highlands to transform the way landscapes are managed by convening sectors, providing resources and partners (IDA, Norway, Canada, Germany, GEF, LDCF) to invest in a holistic and coordinated fashion. Results from SLMP-II financing are well documented in 135 major watersheds in 135 woredas (districts) in the six regional states during a major drought period. Water and food security are boosted. Degraded lands are brought back into production for local farmers. Dry season base flow of streams and depth to water table are improving. And protective vegetation cover was either maintained or expanded, as verified by remote sensing. Smallholder farmers regularly express how their identity and sense of place has also been restored through landscape restoration and improved legal resource rights.
Resilient Landscape and Livelihood Project (RLLP) would build upon the implementation structure and the built capacity. Both at national and regional level environmental and social safeguard specialists are recruited; the institutions and their staff at all levels of the government existing implementation structure, i.e. federal, regional, zone, woreda (district) and kebele (sub-district) level are generally capacitated and ready to implement in the project; Grievance redress mechanism (GRM) is in place at all levels of the project implementation and would be expanded and enhanced under the new operation.
Resilient Landscape and Livelihood Project will be implemented the period 2018/19-2023/24. It will build on the results of the SLMP-I & SLMP-II and introduces measures to address climate change/variability related risks and to maximize Green House Gas (GHG) emission reductions, and improve the livelihoods of the vulnerable small holder farmers so as to meet the Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP) and the Climate Resilient Green Economy (CRGE) goals while reducing land degradation and improving land productivity of small holder farmers. The project will be implemented in 135 existing SLMP2 Woredas and 57 new Woredas and watersheds through the existing government structures and community institutions in six regions namely Oromia, Amhara, Tigray, Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples, Gambela and Benishangul Gumuz. The environmental and socioeconomic milieu of the intervention areas are characterized by high production potential but with significant limitations due to severe land and forest degradation, high agro-ecological variability and diverse farming systems, sedimentation to rivers, high population density and land fragmentation. This ESMF document is prepared to enhance the positive impacts; avoid, and mitigate the negative environmental and social impacts that may arise from the implementation of sub-projects to be financed under some of the project components in the RLLP.
This ESMF is prepared by collecting primary and secondary data as well as compiling information through extensive review of relevant project documents, proclamations and guidelines at the Federal and Regional levels; environmental policies, laws, regulations; undertaking consultative discussions with project team members of the Project Coordination Unit (PCU) and other flagship programs and/or projects in the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Resource (MoALR); consultations with legal experts at the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) and environmental and social regulatory experts at representative regional Bureaus. In addition, consultations with Woreda focal persons and local communities were held during a field visit to selected existing and newly added RLLP targeted Woredas and watersheds. The World Bank safeguards policies that Resilient Landscape and Livelihood Project (RLLP) triggers were also reviewed when preparing this ESMF. AGP, PASIDP, DRDIP and PCDP ESMF documents were also reviewed.
The RLLP has four major components with their own objectives: Component 1: Investment in Green Infrastructure and Resilient Livelihoods; Component 2. Strengthening Institutions, Information and Monitoring for Resilience; Component 3. Land administration and use; and Component 4. Project Management and Reporting. Component 1 and 3 have range of activities including community access road construction, water harvesting structures, degraded forest rehabilitation and reforestation, gully rehabilitation, land mapping and registration, most of which may involve manipulation of landscapes and resources, and or affect the use rights (tenure rights) of people and/or their access rights to resources. These activities may cause some unforeseen negative environmental and social impacts. These impacts may include biodiversity loss, natural habitat and cultural resources destruction, soil erosion and sedimentation, restriction of access to resources, flooding, involuntary loss of land and displacement of people, pollution and prevalence of diseases.
Project activities, particularly those in agriculture (introduction of high value crops and use of pesticides, introduction of new varieties of crops, new fruit tree species and varieties, high yielding varieties) may increase the use of agrochemicals (insecticides, herbicides, fertilizers, etc…). Detailed mitigation measures are outlined in Table 9. This include, inter alia, integrated pest management (following the WBG EHS guidelines), practicing reduced and zero tillage (often known as “low till” or “no till”), as well as direct seeding and planting, to minimize damage to soil structure, conserve soil organic matter, and reduce soil erosion. Infringing on protected natural sites and critical habitats or areas with significant biodiversity (e.g. wetlands) will be avoided. As much as possible, apply the use of a variety of multipurpose and fast-growing indigenous tree species to avoid monoculture in afforestation /reforestation activities. Mitigation measures for the likely impacts of water harvesting activities for drinking and irrigation include locating irrigation schemes where water supplies are adequate and the scheme will not conflict with existing human, livestock, wildlife or aquatic water uses; assessing ecology of disease carriers in the project area, and employ suitable prevention and mitigation measures, e.g.: Siting and orienting water works, fields and furrows to ensure adequate natural drainage of surface water. Component 2 and 4, are focused on capacity building and knowledge management, monitoring and evaluation, implementation of safeguard instruments, etc… may not have any adverse environmental and social risks. Therefore, this ESMF is prepared to manage and mitigate the negative impacts arising from the first and third components.
The ESMF outlines procedures to be followed during the screening of sub-projects against any potential environmental and social impacts. The RLLP is a category B project and the activities may have positive or negative effects on biophysical and social environment. The positive impacts will contribute in creating resilient to the landscape through improving the rehabilitation of degraded areas and productivity of the agricultural landscape and thereby the livelihoods of the rural community and/or the vulnerable groups. At this stage of ESMF preparation, the specific sites have not been known and it is not time to establish an accurate and complete atmosphere of these impacts. However, site specific and less sensitive localized environmental and social impacts (e.g., pollution from agrochemicals, erosion, biodiversity loss, salinity, habitat destruction) may occur in the project implementation areas. As a result, the project is anticipated to trigger eight of the World Bank environmental and social safeguard policies (Environmental Assessment (OP4.01); Natural Habitats (OP 4.04); Forests (OP 4.36); Pest Management (OP 4.09); Safety of Dams (OP 4. 37); Underserved Peoples (OP. 4.10); Physical Cultural Resources (OP 4.11); and Involuntary Resettlement (OP 4.12) and these policies require adhering to appropriate environmental assessment procedures and steps to address all possible negative impacts.
In RLLP the environmental and social management process starts with the sub-project planning process during the identification of sub-projects by local communities based on their needs and priorities through a participatory watershed planning process guided by the Community Based Participatory Watershed Development Guidelines (CBPWDG), technical support from Development Agents (DAs) and Woreda experts. The DA will screen/design/plan subprojects applying a simple checklist as a format for fast track eligibility checking of identified sub-projects. This is done in consultation with the communities and kebele development committee at the early stages of subproject selection and prioritization phase. Once the checklist is approved at the kebele level, the project design/plan will then be sent to the Woreda Agriculture Office and/or the Woreda Technical Committee. The Technical Committee, depending on the scale, nature and type of subproject, will further screen the sub-projects. The Woreda Focal Person (WFP), woreda implementing office, and regional project support unit will ensure and document such procedures are properly followed. And a team led by experts from the Woreda Environmental regulatory body will review the screened subproject and the mitigation measures planned. If any design modifications are required, the environmental regulatory body passes recommendations and give clearance and/or certificate of subprojects. The Woreda council will then approve plans based on the recommendations of the team. After approval, the plan document is referred to the regional Bureau of Agriculture and Natural Resources (BoANR) with all the accompanying environmental and social screening documents/files.
If sub-projects of any significant environmental concerns and subprojects having high and unknown impacts are included, then the plan document will be directed to the attention of the Zonal or Regional Environmental regulatory body. The Zonal or regional environmental regulatory body will make decisions if an Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) is required for those subprojects or not. Based on ESIA outcomes, Zonal or Regional environmental regulatory body will recommend modifying the design, preparing environmental and social management plan to mitigate negative impacts OR reject/disapprove the project.
The RLLP Woreda Focal Persons will submit quarterly and annual performance reports to BoANR, regional project coordination bureau. And the regional M&E specialist together with the environmental and social safeguard specialists will consolidate the woreda reports and submit the quarter and annual performance reports to the NPCU. Based on the regions report, the NPCU environmental and social safeguard specialists compile and prepare a report and submit to the development partners on quarterly bases including annual reports.
Monitoring of environmental and social safeguard performance of the project will be conducted regularly. Performance monitoring will ensure that safeguards instruments are prepared and approved to the required standard and the proper implementation of ESMP, SA, RPF and GMGs. While the implementation of ESMP is done by the community at kebele level with the responsibility of the woreda implementing offices, performance monitoring will be done by the RLLP-PCU environmental and social safeguard specialists at national and regional level and other stakeholders. The results of the monitoring involve the monitoring compliance and effectiveness of the safeguards instruments, and the overall environmental, socio-economic and climate-related assessment of the Program’s interventions. The monitoring will be done on an annual and quarter basis by the RPCU Specialists with support from the NPCU Environmental and Social Safeguards Specialists, M&E Specialist and WB’s Environmental Safeguards, Social Safeguards and Social Development team.
Quarterly and annual reviews workshops will be held at regional and national level with a view to enhance the positive performances of ESMF, SA, RPF and the Gender Mainstreaming Guideline identifying bottlenecks and gaps in implementing the ESMF and proposing solutions in addressing the gaps. Environmental and social auditing will be done by the RLLP concerned specialists (both federal and regional) and field verification by independent consultants to be recruited. This auditing will be conducted twice in the program life, i.e. during MTR and completion period of the project.
The Sustainable Land Management Program (Phase I and II) did a number of training and awareness creation at federal, regional, zonal, woreda, kebele and community level on ESMF and other safeguard instruments. However, there was a high turnover of staffs who were supporting the program at regional, woreda and kebele level who took the trainings, especially the environmental regulatory body experts, experts engaged on land administration and water resources, development agents and others. Therefore, for the successful implementation of the ESMF, SA and RPF during RLLP implementation period, capacity building activities should be done in a systematic manner to have an environmentally sound and socially acceptable subproject that will address all the program beneficiaries. The capacity building works will give due emphasis to woreda and kebele level experts, DAs and community members focusing on the different safeguard instruments and the World Bank safeguard policies. Besides, awareness creation for the different platforms and community institutions (WTC, WSC, WUAs, WSUAs, SHGs) at woreda and zonal level will be given. Technical assistance and backstopping support will be strengthened by federal, regional program coordination unit staffs and other stakeholders.
The budget for the implementation of the ESMF including capacity building and trainings; administrative costs for specialists at federal and regional level; environmental and social safeguard auditing; annual and quarter review workshops; implementation of mitigation measures; experience sharing and exposure visits; monitoring and technical backstopping and support is estimated to be 1.303 million USD for the coming five years.
You can download the full document here. Final-Revised-draft-RLLP-ESMF.pdf