Environmental Assessment Report



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E1409

v 2


GOVERNMENT OF THE KYRGYZ REPUBLIC
SECOND VILLAGE INVESTMENT PROJECT

Environmental Review

1 May 2006


KYRGYZ REPUBLIC: Second Village Investment Project

Environmental Assessment Report

Page

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY





  1. INTRODUCTION AND BACKGROUND……….…………………………………………………………………..1




    1. Purpose

    2. Description of the Second Village Investment Project

      1. Objectives

      2. Process/Approach

    3. World Bank Environmental Assessment Requirements

      1. Background

      2. World Bank Policies and Procedures

      3. Environmental Assessment Requirements for Financial Intermediary Loans




  1. POLICY, LEGAL AND ADMINISTRATIVE FRAMEWORK………..……………..4




    1. International Treaties and Conventions

    2. Environmental Legislation

    3. Other Relevant Laws

    4. Decrees of the President of the Kyrgyz Republic

    5. Norm-setting Documents

    6. Normative documents of other state institutions

    7. Administrative Framework

      1. State Agency for Environmental Protection and Forestry of the Kyrgyz Republic

      2. Organizational Structure of the Environmental Protection Department




  1. METHODOLOGY………………………………………………………………………10




  1. THE ENVIRONMENT…………………………………………………….……………11




    1. Overview

    2. Biodiversity

    3. Land Use and Rural Economy

    4. Important Environmental Issues




  1. ASSESSMENT…………………………………………………………………………..14




    1. General

    2. Potential Category A and Category B Sub-projects

    3. Project Benefits

    4. Project Impacts

      1. Livestock Production

      2. Agriculture Intensification

      3. Mining and energy

    5. Potential Cumulative Impacts

    6. Mitigation

    7. Potential Residual Impacts




  1. ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT……………….……………………………..37




    1. Category A and Category B Sub-projects

    2. Monitoring

    3. Environmental Capacity Development

      1. VIP-2 Environmental Expertise

      2. VIP-2 Staff

      3. Aiyl Okmotu Investment Committees

      4. Training



APPENDICES
APPENDIX A: References

APPENDIX B: Overview of Environmental Protection in the Kyrgyz Republic: Policies, Legislation, Regulatory Instruments, Organizational Structure and Institutional Responsibilities, Environmental Impact Assessment, Technical Assistance Projects and Non-governmental Environmental Organizations

APPENDIX C: Environmental Training and Capacity Building Plan for the VIP-2

APPENDIX D: Consultations with stakeholders and participants in the review seminar and workshop for the Draft Environmental Review and Guidelines

APPENDIX E: Minutes of Consultations with the Village Investment Committees

List of Tables




Table 1. Sub-project Groups and Benefits.
Table 2. Types of sub-projects and potential major environmental impacts.
Table 3. Types of impacts and mitigation measures for potential sub-projects.
Table 4. Project Activities Affecting Different Components of the Environment.
Table 5. Potential Residual Impacts.
Acronyms
ARIS Community Development and Investment Agency

AIDA Aiyl Investment and Development Agency

LIC Local Investment Council

VIC Village Investment Committee

BP Bank Procedure

EA Environmental Assessment

EIA Environmental Impact Assessment

FAO United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization

FI Financial Intermediary

IDA International Development Association

MAWRPI Ministry of Agriculture, Water Resources and Processing Industry

SAEPF State Agency for Environmental Protection and Forestry

MoH Ministry of Health

OP Operational Policy

PMU Project Management Unit

PPU Project Preparation Unit

VIP Village Infrastructure Project

WB World Bank
KYRGYZ REPUBLIC: Second Village Investment Project - Environmental Review
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

The Government of the Kyrgyz Republic is preparing a Second Village Investment Project (VIP-2) for funding by the International Development Association (IDA). The project will be a continuation and repeater operation of the first Village Investment Project (VIP) that has been very successfully under implementation since March 2004. It is intended to strengthen the capacity of local self-governments and community-based organizations to plan and undertake small community-level investments that will improve access to essential social and economic infrastructure services, increase rural employment and incomes and thereby help relieve poverty. Overall project management will be the responsibility of the Community Development and Investment Agency (ARIS).


Participating village communities will establish representative Village Investment Committees (VICs) whose role is to identify key problems and aspirations as well as micro-projects that address them. A Local Investment Committee (LIC) at the level of the Aiyl Okmotu (a rural municipality comprised of several villages) will act as a coordinating body among the VICs; it will include representatives from each of the VICs, from the Aiyl Okmotu administration and from the Aiyl Kenesh (local parliament). The LIC is responsible for preparing a Community Investment Plan that outlines priority investments for the following year, and for vetting and prioritizing micro-project proposals put forward by the VICs. All investment proposals and decisions at the community level will be made on the basis of participatory planning, involving all local stakeholders or their recognized representatives.
This environmental review was prepared for the first VIP and updated for VIP-2 in conformance with World Bank Operational Procedure 4.01 for Environmental Assessment of Financial Intermediary lending operations and in compliance with national procedures. In preparing it, a comprehensive review of current environmental legislation of the Kyrgyz Republic was carried out, including current laws, decrees, and regulatory guidelines. Interviews were conducted with appropriate national agencies and ministries responsible for enforcement of environmental regulations, monitoring of environmental quality and promulgation of best practice guidelines for environmental management. Interviews were conducted with personnel in State Agency for Environmental Protection and Forestry (SAEPF), formerly the Department of Environmental Protection of the Ministry of Ecology and Emergency Situations, and with SAEPF staff at oblast level in Osh, Naryn and Jalalabad and at raion level in Jalalabad Oblast. Field visits were made to a number of Aiyl Okmotus to meet with community representatives and local officials and to discuss the range of activities and sub-projects that were expected to be implemented under the project. These visits also provided opportunities to ascertain in the field the operational procedures of the SAEPF with regard to review, clearance and monitoring of small-scale development and infrastructure projects of the type anticipated to be carried out under the project. Meetings were also held with officials responsible for monitoring and enforcement of environmental regulations promulgated by the Ministry of Health (MoH), the Ministry of Agriculture, Water Resources and Processing Industries (MAWRPI), including its Department of Plant Protection, the Institute of Ecology, and several non-governmental organizations.
The review anticipates a range of micro-projects that would involve the renovation, rehabilitation and extension of small-scale infrastructure facilities in and near rural settlements. The analysis also covers a broad range of potential micro-project investments in the agriculture, livestock, crafts, trade, marketing, and service sectors. Checklists for micro-project screening, guidelines for managing the environmental review process, formats for environmental management, monitoring plans and best-practice recommendations for mitigation of representative micro-project activities are provided for inclusion in the project’s Operational Manual so that environmental mitigation can be closely integrated with general project implementation.
The project is expected to have a number of directly and indirectly positive environmental effects. The renovation of social infrastructure (e.g., schools and clinics) and economic infrastructure (such as roads, markets, water supplies) will improve the socioeconomic conditions of the rural population and contribute to reducing rural poverty. The project's emphasis on capacity building for local management and administration, including local screening of micro-projects for environmental impacts, incorporation of mitigation measures into project design, and monitoring of implementation, will contribute to improving the capacity of local authorities for environmental monitoring and management overall. For investments in community infrastructure, most potential impacts can be avoided by adherence to good practices in construction and renovation methods that are well defined within the existing building codes and regulatory norms promulgated by sectoral agencies (e.g., health, architecture, agriculture, water and forestry). If project-financed mitigation is included in micro-project design as intended, the cumulative and residual impacts will be negligible.
Financing under the project will be available to all Aiyl Okmotu of the Kyrgyz Republic. The majority of micro-projects is expected to involve renovation, rehabilitation or development of community infrastructure. Micro-projects supporting small income-generating enterprises will also be eligible for support, but will likely represent a minor fraction of the overall portfolio. The majority of micro-projects will be small, in the range from US$500 to US10,000.
The large number of small investments for diverse purposes that are dispersed widely throughout the country are not expected to generate significant individual or cumulative environmental impacts. In the case of social and market infrastructure investments, small workshops, service sector enterprises and small agro-processing activities, cumulative effects can be avoided by ensuring that current building codes and land use regulations are followed and that waste discharges fall within the acceptable range defined by existing regulations. Discharge of processing wastes into water bodies and landfills should be monitored to ensure that the content and quantities remain within permitted limits. Independent monitoring of surface and ground water quality and quantity should be routinely done to detect contamination. Location of buildings and other infrastructure investments will be screened for compliance with the Bank's natural habitats policy.
The sectors where micro-projects are most likely to have cumulative effects in spatial or temporal contexts are in agriculture, livestock and, perhaps, forestry (woodlots). In the case of micro-projects providing agricultural inputs such as fertilizers and pesticides, both the total area and the location of micro-projects need to be taken into account to ensure that local carrying capacities for livestock are not being exceeded and the absorptive capacities for fertilizers and other inputs remain within acceptable limits. Within the localized regions where micro-projects will be implemented, the project will seek input from the rural advisory service and other specialized agencies in developing estimates of livestock carrying capacity and sustainable land use plans for agriculture and livestock. The most effective remedy for avoiding cumulative impacts on soil and water resources is pre-emptive planning that assesses the limits of land and water resources available within a localized region and sets limits on the number of micro-projects that can be supported within these constraints.
In both agriculture and livestock micro-projects, the rural advisory service and specialized agencies (e.g., range management) will be consulted in establishing acceptable crop rotations, stocking rates and grazing rotation cycles to avoid long-term degradation of natural vegetation cover and the attendant consequences (e.g., erosion, desertification, biodiversity loss and land destabilization).
Community forestry micro-projects such as the establishment of woodlots to meet household energy needs will be sited on lands that are already degraded and in need of rehabilitation rather than displacing existing healthy or recoverable natural forests. The Department of Forestry of the SAEPF will assist in identifying suitable locations for woodlots and in determining appropriate cutting and harvest cycles and methods. The rural advisory service will be consulted to ensure that micro-project activities have minimal or positive impacts on land erosion and stream sedimentation.
Mitigation of potential environmental impacts of the micro-projects anticipated will not be costly and can, to a large extent, be addressed through micro-project design and the incorporation of existing codes, guidelines and regulations into micro-project implementation. In the case of some activities such as application of pesticides and fertilizers, intensification and diversification of agriculture and livestock, the rural advisory service and the rangeland management agency can provide guidance and relevant training to project implementers. In the case of agro-processing, the anticipation of waste components and quantities and effective planning for waste treatment and safe disposal can effectively minimize impacts. For the range of micro-projects anticipated, effective monitoring by the SAEPF and other civil authorities (e.g., MoH, MAWRPI) can ensure that potential impacts will be minimized or avoided.
Capacity building for effective environmental management is an integral component of the project. It will invest in appropriate training and technical support to ensure that all elements of the project management structure (Local Investment Committees, ARIS field staff, ARIS management staff) are fully aware of the environmental screening, assessment, management and monitoring activities needed to assure good environmental performance. When required, the project will finance the preparation of environmental impact assessments and, as appropriate, the development of environmental management plans.
The project will finance ongoing training in environmental aspects of project implementation for the three key levels of project management and for field staff of the SAEPF. Training for ARIS management staff will focus on awareness of the procedures established for environmental screening, scoping, assessment, review, management, mitigation and monitoring as described in the Operational Manual. Training of ARIS field staff will focus on the environmental screening procedures incorporated in the Operational Manual for initial micro-project review that will determine the level of environmental assessment a given micro-project may require. Training will also address the kinds of environmental problems that may be associated with the expected types of micro-projects and the kinds of mitigation options that will be required to address them. Field staff need to be familiar with the structure and general content of environmental management plans and environmental monitoring plans that may be required for some types of micro-projects. They also need to be aware of national procedures for environmental review and clearance of those micro-projects requiring environmental review as well as any reporting or monitoring responsibilities of the micro-project proponent to assure compliance with national permit requirements for waste discharge or conformance with other environmental standards.
Training for the LICs and for State Environmental Inspectors posted within local government administrations will focus on the micro-project screening methods and criteria that are included in the Operational Manual, best practices for mitigation of environmental impacts associated with micro-project types that are expected to make up a large part of the portfolio, and project requirements for including appropriate mitigation and monitoring in the costs to be financed by the project. The purpose of training at this level is to create the necessary level of awareness of environmental review and management procedures so that mitigation and monitoring become a routine part of the processes of micro-project selection and design.

INTRODUCTION AND BACKGROUND


    1. Purpose

The purpose of the environmental review of the Village Infrastructure Project (VIP-2) is to comply with the requirements of the World Bank as described in Operational Directive 4.01 for financial intermediary projects. To this end, this environmental review examines existing environmental legislation and regulations, other related legislation and international conventions to which the Kyrgyz Republic is a party. The review includes a checklist that the aiyl okmotu Investment Councils (LIC) can apply in screening of sub-projects proposed for financing under the VIP-2 to determine the level of environmental assessment required. Also included are simple guidelines for the VIP-2 Project Management Unit to guide the process of environmental review, environmental assessment (when required) and monitoring of mitigation measures incorporated into the sub-projects financed under the VIP-2.




    1. Description of the Second Village Investment Project


1.2.1 Objectives
The Government of the Kyrgyz Republic is preparing a Second Village Investment Project for funding by the International Development Association (IDA) of the World Bank. It is a demand-driven project intended to strengthen the capacity of local government and community based organizations to plan and undertake inclusive, pro-poor investments that will increase incomes and relieve infrastructure bottlenecks.
The project will contribute to the alleviation of rural poverty by supporting income and employment generating investments in village infrastructure and in group-managed small and medium enterprises, and by helping communities and local authorities work together to achieve key development objectives at the local level. At the same time, the project will support the country’s policy of devolution of responsibilities by strengthening local governments (aiyl okmotus) and grassroots institutions -- making them more inclusive, accountable and effective at meeting villagers’ self-identified development needs.
The project will strengthen the capacity of local stakeholders to design, implement and manage locally initiated and viable development activities on their own and thereby reduce their dependence on centrally administered programs. Small grants to eligible communities will enable them to fund small-scale demand-driven community or group investments that will directly or indirectly generate off-farm employment and income or that will alleviate serious deficiencies in local infrastructure. Training and capacity building will strengthen skills and processes for effective governance, investment planning, and business development.
1.2.2Process/Approach
Project activities will focus on poor communities in all oblasts. Aiyl okmotus will be selected on the basis of their commitment to the project’s principles of community initiative, inclusiveness, transparency, and accountability.
Participating village communities will establish representative Investment Committees whose role is to identify key problems and aspirations as well as micro-projects that address these. An Investment Council at the aiyl okmotu level will act as coordinating body among the Committees; it will include representatives from each of the Committees, from the aiyl okmotu administration and from the aiyl kenesh. The Council is responsible for preparing an Integrated Investment Strategy that outlines priority investments for the following year, and for vetting and prioritizing proposals put forward by the Village Committees. All investment proposals and decisions at the community level will be made on the basis of participatory planning, involving all local stakeholders or their recognized representatives.
The project will work closely with communities as they establish Committees and Councils and prepare their strategies. Early on in the process, communities will be eligible for an initial small grant for one or two investments in economic or social infrastructure. Proposals can originate with any initiative group or community group (jamat) in the community (including the Committees and Council) and will have the same requirements as subsequent grants: (i) sponsorship by a recognized and bona fide community group, (ii) a sound investment plan, and (iii) a local contribution of at least 20% of the total cost.
Subsequent proposals – for infrastructure or business development – can be submitted at any time following the completion of an Integrated Investment Strategy. The Council will select proposals to recommend for funding to the Project Management Agency; activities must be consistent with the community’s Investment Strategy and meet the other requirements outlined above. The Integrated Investment Strategy may be updated by the Council at any time.
The emphasis will be on non-farm activities, but viable investments in agricultural diversification and specialization in higher-value products will also be eligible, as will critical investments in natural resource management. Proposals for the development of group-owned and group-managed small and medium enterprises (SMEs) will be encouraged. Support for these will be in the form of matching grant commitments designed to strengthen credit worthiness and credit applications. Any credit provided for approved SMEs will be administered by an established financial institution.
Capacity building will be a critical element of the project’s interaction with participating communities. A process of community mobilization will begin before communities establish their committees and council, and it will offer a range of support for participatory processes, strategic planning, and preparation of investment proposals and business plans. Specific training will target community leaders, both inside and outside local government, in topics aimed to upgrade technical knowledge, leadership skills, and planning expertise. Suitable institutional arrangements for providing, on a continuous basis, specialized training to members of aiyl okmotu administrations and aiyl keneshs are still being explored. The objective is to establish a permanent and institutional capacity to provide training to officials and representatives of local governments and thereby strengthen local governance.


    1. World Bank Environmental Assessment Requirements


1.3.1 Background
Environmental Assessment (EA) is a widely used policy tool for reducing the negative environmental consequences of development activities and for promoting ecologically sustainable development. It covers both the assessment of individual development projects and the appraisal of policies, plans and programs. The latter is called “strategic environmental assessment” (SEA). Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is defined by the World Bank as a procedure that is used to evaluate a project’s potential environmental risks, benefits and impacts within its area of influence; examine project alternatives; identify ways of improving project selection, siting, planning, design and implementation by preventing, minimizing or compensating for adverse environmental impacts and enhancing positive impacts; and includes the process of mitigating and managing adverse environmental impacts through project implementation.
1.3.2 World Bank Environmental Policies and Procedures
The principal documents that guide and describe the World Bank’s EA policies are its Operational Policy (OP) and Bank Procedure (BP) 4.01 on Environmental Assessment. EA is one of ten “Safeguard Policies” that projects must comply with to obtain Bank approval. These key policies are intended to ensure that potentially adverse environmental and social consequences of Bank financed projects are identified, minimized and mitigated. The ten safeguard policies of the Bank define Bank requirements in project lending with regard to Environmental Assessment (OP/BP 4.01), Natural Habitats (OP/BP 4.04), Pest Management (OP 4.09), Cultural Property (OP4.11), Involuntary Resettlement (OP/BP 4.12), Indigenous Peoples (OD/4.20); Forests (OP/BP 4.36), Safety of Dams (OP/BP 4.37), Projects on International Waterways (BP 7.50) and Projects in Disputed Areas (OP/BP 7.60). The first eight of these fall into the environmental category and are addressed in the course of the EA preparation process. Excerpts of the pertinent sections of World Bank Safeguard Policies and Procedures related to environmental assessment are provided in Annex A of this report. Web links to the appropriate reference documents (World Bank OP/BP’s) are provided in Annex B.
Bank policy on projects such as the VIP-2 (an FI project funded through IDA) requires that an environmental report be prepared, made available in a public place accessible to affected groups and NGOs, and officially submitted to the Bank before the Bank proceeds to project appraisal.


1.3.3 Environmental Assessment Requirements for Financial Intermediary Loans

The Bank undertakes environmental screening of each proposed project to determine the appropriate extent and type of EA required. Proposed projects are classified into one of four categories for environmental assessment depending on the type, location, sensitivity and scale of the project and the magnitude and nature of their potential environmental impacts. The four categories are A,B,C and FI. The FI category is applied to all proposed projects that involve investment of Bank funds through a financial intermediary (FI), in sub-projects that may result in adverse environmental impacts. The financial intermediary is required to screen proposed sub-projects, to ensure that prospective borrowers conduct an appropriate level of EA for each sub-project, and monitor the implementation of agreed mitigation measures. Before approval of sub-projects the FI verifies that the sub-project meets the environmental requirements of appropriate national and local authorities and is consistent with the Operational Policies and Procedures (OP/BP) and relevant safeguard policies of the Bank.


The Bank’s Operational Policy on Environmental Assessment (OP4.01 and Annexes) requires that financial intermediary loans and grants are subject to the same rigor by the Bank and the same expectations of environmental performance in design and implementation as regular investment projects. During appraisal, the Bank reviews the adequacy of country environmental requirements relevant to the project and the proposed EA arrangements for sub-projects. This includes the mechanisms and responsibilities for environmental screening of sub-projects, provisions for EA as appropriate, review of EA results, and monitoring of the implementation of agreed mitigation measures. Where capacity building is required to strengthen the capability of FI’s or other agencies with regard to environmental assessment and review of sub-projects, the Bank takes into account provisions for training of staff that have been incorporated into project design and the inclusion of environmental checklists, guidelines and procedures into the project’s operational manual in evaluating the adequacy of environmental due diligence by the client.


  1. NATIONAL POLICY, LEGAL AND ADMINISTRATIVE FRAMEWORK

In the decade since independence and, in particular during the past four years, the Kyrgyz Republic has adopted a number of legal instruments and promulgated a large volume of regulatory instruments related to environmental protection, management and enforcement. A comprehensive review of environmental legislation and regulations, regulatory authority and responsibilities of key government agencies and institutions, and a summary of EA requirements according to currently prevailing Kyrgyz law is provided in Appendix B to this report. The sections that follow provide a summary of the most pertinent legal and regulatory instruments.


In the past four years, the Kyrgyz Republic has experienced a notably high level of structural changes within sectoral ministries and other agencies with responsibilities for management and regulation of the environment. A summary of these changes and the existing administrative structures related to environmental monitoring and management at the time this report was prepared are given in Appendix B.




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