Today, 26th July, 2022 at LGED Bhaban, a national workshop on GCF Environmental and Social Readiness approach in Bangladesh was organized by CPRD to facilitate the GCF Readiness project “Strengthening Bangladesh’s NDA Secretariat, Enhancing Pipeline Implementation and Private Sector Engagement in Effective Climate Action”, which will be implemented by ERD with technical support from FAO. Robust Environmental and Social safeguards (ESS) plays a significant role in supporting management process and procedures in order to identify, analyse, avoid, minimize and mitigate potential environmental and social impacts of project activities of GCF accredited entities. Focus is given in order to achieve improved social and environmental outcomes while addressing unintended adverse impact of GCF funded projects. The Goal of the ESS workshop was to promote Knowledge sharing and learning on GCF Environmental and Social safeguards within Bangladesh institutional policies, actions and circumstances. The major objectives of this workshop were-
- To develop understanding, Knowledge and capacity of the workshop participants in the requirements, objectives and benefits from ESS accreditation process for access to the GCF resources.
- To share relevant experiences, challenges and opportunities for mainstreaming ESS within institutional policies and structures.
- To develop recommendations for improving organizational ESS policies and local practices towards GCF related procedures.
Mr. Gopal Krishna Debnath, Additional chief Engineer of Local Government Engineering Department (LGED) Chaired as Chief Guest. Mr. S M Mahbub Alam, Deputy Secretary (UN-V), Economics Relation Division was also present. Mr. S M Mahbub Alam coordinates and communicates with the Green Climate Funds National implementing entity under the Ministry of Finance was present as special Guests. The keynote speech was delivered by Mr. Md. Shamsuddoha, Chief Executive of CPRD.
The workshop focused to promote building of capacity in terms of knowledge of environmental standards. Dr. Crispus Njeru, Focused on the theoretical and technical perspective. He gave a thorough presentation on ESS and ways improve our ESS standards of different projects of different institutions. He commenced with a brief discussion about the project and its six components in order to support the readiness project and its preparatory work among one of them is Review and development of robust Environmental and Social Performance Framework which was the main focus of the workshop. He deliberated Definitions, Approach, standards and procedures. Project component of environmental and social safeguard has specific outputs which include Updated policies, processes, and procedures on environmental and social safeguards which will be approved and mainstreamed through training.
Md. Akib Jabed, Senior Research Officer of CPRD, spoke about the four organizations Institutional Gap Assessment Results of the Seeking Accreditation Entities (SAEs) in Bangladesh. Criteria based Structured process was followed to see which organizations have Environmental and Social Safeguards according to GCF criteria standard through accessing relevant documents of the institutions. He shared Environmental and Social Safeguards findings based on checklist assessment that was done in the last training program jointly organized by FAO, ERD and CPRD. To identify the areas for further inputs for developing a robust ESS as per GCF standards.
Md Shamsuddoha, Chief Executive of CPRD, stated that along policy and projects, field level work needs more attention. He focused on Community Knowledge and Understanding on ESS. Environmental and Social Standard (ESS) and Safeguards of the GCF refers to assessment of environmental and social risks and impacts and mitigating and addressing (management) the risks and impacts with required policies, plans and measures. Along with risks, impacts must be ensured so that human rights are safeguarded. The coverage of Environmental and Social Standard (ESS) and Safeguards is huge covering both risks and impacts. Labor and working conditions must be safe, sound and healthy ensuring Human rights of all and preservation of Cultural Heritage. He focused to avoid or at least minimiseadverse social and economic impacts from land acquisition or restrictions on land use and discouraged forced displacement. GCF has a civil society committee (CSOs of Green Climate Fund). GCF shares the project documents and CSOs review them and give their opinions and complaints ensuring a robust Environmental and Social Safeguards. Safeguards can be ensured through policies. Displaced people are given compensation according to policy. But safeguards discuss what has been done at a whole to these displaced persons. Environmental and Social Safeguards is not only about identifying problems, risks or impacts. Organizations need efforts that are required for these risks and impacts. Indigenous and human rights cannot be violated otherwise GCF fund will not be provided.
The workshop ended with the closing remarks by Mr. Kabir Ahmed (TBC). He addressed the importance of detailed assessment for donor projects. New ideas and concepts are included day by day. They need to recognized and prepared. We need to expand knowledge in order to get projects. We need to connect globally and observe what is happening internationally. He thanked all and closed the function.