The African Development Bank has kicked off virtual consultations on its Integrated Safeguards System to adequately address emerging environmental and social issues.
The session for Anglophone West African countries, held on 21 April 2022, registered participants from Nigeria, Ghana and Sierra Leone. Opening the event, the Director General of the Nigeria Country Department, Lamin Barrow, underscored the importance of these stakeholder consultations, noting that: “These consultations are being held in view of the great importance of soliciting their perspectives, insights and learning lessons from their experience to inform the update of the Integrated Safeguards System.”
As part of its commitment to continuously improve environmental and social management and governance, the Bank has prepared a draft of its updated Integrated Safeguards System, which is being consulted upon with external stakeholders, including representatives from key government agencies in regional member countries, staff of project implementing units for Bank-financed operations and civil society organizations. These consultations are intended to solicit feedback and inputs from stakeholders in order to put in place relevant systems that fit with the policies and standards of peer institutions.
During the discussions, participants welcomed the Bank’s efforts to harmonize its systems with the safeguards standards of other multi-lateral finance institutions and regional member countries, which would reduce the challenges borrowers face when they submit funding applications, especially for co-financed operations.
The participants also observed many improvements, such as the expansion of the policy to cover 10 thematic areas; the project-focused and risk-based approach; and the provisions for both sovereign and non-sovereign operations under the same policy.
They recommended further consideration on some aspects, including harmonizing categorization and disclosure processes with country requirements; the environmental and social assessments of subprojects in financial intermediary transactions and simplifying the results-based financing instrument to allow for timely identification of safeguard instruments.
This 45-day stakeholder consultation will continue across other regions of Africa. The draft of the updated ISS can be accessed on: https://consultations.afdb.org/ and stakeholders are invited to submit their written comments to the email address: ISSConsultation@afdb.org(link sends e-mail) until 15 May 2022.