The Environmental and Social Management Framework (ESMF) for the Hydromet and Disaster Improvement Regional Project describes the principles and procedures for addressing environmental and social impacts associated with the project in accordance with the Royal Government of Bhutan’s (RGOB) laws and regulations and World Bank’s safeguards policies.
The ESMF has been prepared based on consultations with relevant departments and concerned officials. A draft of the ESMF was presented at a stakeholder consultation workshop at the national level on May 6, 2016 (see Annex 1 for details). The final ESMF incorporates the relevant feedbacks, comments and suggestions.
The Project: The project development objective of this project is to strengthen Bhutan's capacity for improved hydromet services and disaster preparedness and response. The implementing agencies of the project are the
(i) Department of Disaster Management under the Ministry of Home & Cultural Affairs which is also the overall coordinator of the project;
(ii) Department of Hydromet Services under the Ministry of Economic Affairs; and
(iii) Department of Agriculture under the Ministry of Agriculture and Forests.
The project has 3 components:
• Component A: Hydromet Services Development (DHMS) - The main objective of this component is to strengthen the capacity of DHMS to improve hydromet monitoring, forecasting and service delivery to priority sectors. It will support procurement and installation of instruments to provide additional information for aviation safety at Paro International Airport and Bumthang Domestic Airport. Funds will also be used to procure IT hardware and software, glacier monitoring equipment and development of a Common Operating Platform for automated hydro-met services delivery. This will help enhance monitoring and forecasting to improve DHMS’s services.
• Component B: Disaster Preparedness and Response Capacity Improvement (DDM) - The main objective of this component is to strengthen capacity for disaster preparedness and will support the establishment of an NEOC through the design, build and equip phase, emergency communication equipment for all 20 District Disaster Management Offices and support establishment of critical infrastructure such as fueling stations and helipads for emergency helicopter operation. It will also support establishment of a DRM Geomatics system within DDM.
• Component C: Design of an agromet decision support system (DOA) - This component will fund the design of an agromet decision support system, development and delivery of agromet information products in to two Dzongkhags, training and capacity building. All the components will support institutional capacity building, regional collaboration and project management including monitoring and evaluation. Component B will also support specific training and capacity building of pilots to improve the inter-operability of Royal Bhutan Helicopter Services and members of the National Search and Rescue Team and local fire brigades to ensure efficient and safe operations.
Policies and Regulations on Environmental and Social Issues: The related laws that apply to the project include The Constitution of the Kingdom of Bhutan, Waste Prevention and Management Act, 2009; Forest and Nature Conservation Act, 2005; National Environment Protection Act, 2007; Environment Assessment Act, 2000; The Water Act of Bhutan, 2011; The
Land Act Bhutan, 2007; The Civil Aviation Act, 2000; Environment Assessment General Guidelines, 2012: Thimphu Municipal Development Control Regulations, 2004; Regulation on Occupational Health, Safety & Welfare (OHS) in Construction, Manufacturing, Mining & Service Industries, 2006 and Bhutan Building Regulations, 2002: The World Bank environmental safeguard policies applicable in the project are Environmental Assessment (OP/BP 4.01) and Involuntary Resettlement (OP 4.12). For each subproject the screening and management plan prepared under OP 4.01 will also cover the Forests (OP3.36),
and Physical Cultural Resources OP/BP (4.11) related issues, if encountered in any subproject.
Environmental and Socio-economic Baseline and Issues: The project sub-components are spread across the Dzongkhags of Paro, Thimphu, Bumthang and possibly in a few more districts where helipads will be established. The baseline information in the ESMF describes the socioeconomic conditions, agro-ecological conditions and cultural aspects of these locations.
Environmental and Social impacts:
Environmental Impacts: The negative environmental impacts from the project are anticipated to be minimal. The site-specific impact could potentially include impacts arising from excavation, waste and material management or occupational health and safety hazards at construction sites; noise pollution during helicopter takeoff and landing at the helipads. These anticipated impacts
can be minimized/mitigated by developing appropriate measures by adopting standard and applicable regulations. To address these concerns, the project will implement provisions made in this ESMF which requires preparation and implementation of sub-component specific screening, ESMP/ IEE etc.
Social Risks/Impacts: The project is expected to lead to primarily positive benefits in terms of
enhancing safety during flight operations, enabling improved access to weather information and
improving disaster response and risk reduction. Some of the social risks associated with the
project could include those relating to land acquisition for construction of helipads and
installation of aviation related equipment for which actual locations are not yet identified.
Managing Environmental and Social Safeguard issues:
The following procedure will be adopted for managing environmental and social impacts related
to the project:
Step 1: Project eligibility screening
Step 2: Project screening for potential environmental and social safeguard impacts and determination of safeguards documents required according to RGOB regulations and World Bank policies
Step 3: Development of Environment and Social Management Plans (ESMP) that includes mitigation measures/good practices at sub-component level, if required during the screening exercise
Step 4: Application/Approval for Environment Clearance
Step 5: Consultation, Disclosure, and Awareness Raising and Dissemination
Step 6: Implementation and Monitoring
For activities, that require an Environment Clearance, the terms and conditions included as a part of the clearance will become a part of the ESMP/IEE of the project for implementation.
Consultation with local people/other stakeholders relevant to the project sub-components, particularly the affected groups will be carried out during various stages of the sub-component preparation and implementation. The affected stakeholders or communities will be informed about minimum social and environmental requirements, (ii) potential risks and benefits of the
activities and (iii) Grievance management mechanism developed for the project.