The Odra-Vistula Flood Management Project (OVFMP) is implemented with the assistance of international financing institutions, including the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (World Bank), and therefore, by entering into the Loan Agreement, Poland has obliged itself to apply World Bank policies.
The World Bank’s environmental and social safeguards are instruments necessary to implement the two most important objectives defined by the Bank when it makes a decision to co-finance (the Bank’s intervention) a proposed project – combating poverty and increasing the population’s welfare, for whose needs projects co-financed by the Bank are implemented. The goal of these safeguards is to prevent and mitigate unjustified damage that may occur during the implementation of the investment process both to the population and their livelihoods and to natural habitats. These policies form a set of guidelines according to which programs and projects of the Bank’s Clients are identified, prepared, and implemented.
In connection with the above, the World Bank policies require Environmental Assessment to be conducted for projects proposed to be financed by the Bank in order to ensure that they do not have negative environmental impacts or that their potential impacts will be mitigated using appropriate measures.
Environmental Assessment is a process whose extent and type depend on the nature, scale, and potential environmental impact of the proposed project. The assessment process evaluates a project’s potential environmental risks and impacts in its area of influence; examines project alternatives; identifies ways of improving project selection, siting, planning, design, and implementation by preventing, minimizing, mitigating, or compensating for adverse environmental impacts and enhancing positive impacts. Such assessment also includes the process of mitigating and managing adverse environmental impacts throughout project implementation.
The Borrower is responsible for carrying out Environmental Assessment and the Bank advises the Borrower on the Bank‘s requirements in this regard. The Bank classifies the proposed projects into three major categories, depending on the type, location, sensitivity, scale of the project as well as the nature and magnitude of its potential environmental impacts:
As regards category A and B projects, Environmental Assessment has to allow for public consultation with the public affected by the implementation of the project and with NGOs with regard to the scope of environmental aspects of project implementation. The Borrower initiates consultations at the earliest possible stage and the consultations continue throughout the entire implementation of the project
The Odra-Vistula Flood Management Project is categorized as environmental category B.