Integration of World Bank environmental and social standards in planning and implementation of road infrastructure projects: a case of Uganda National Roads Authority
Mwesige, Charles Mutabazi
MetadataShow full item record
This research analyzed the integration of World Bank Environmental and Social Standards (WBESS) into UNRA’s planning and implementation of road infrastructure projects. The research investigated three research issues, including; the level of integration of WBESS in planning and implementation of road infrastructure projects; factors affecting the integration; and mechanisms for addressing the challenges encountered by UNRA during the integration. Data was collected from 10 respondents drawn from UNRA, World Bank Uganda Country Office, a Supervision Consultant and a Contractor through phone interviews. The phone recordings were transcribed and analyzed using thematic analysis. The following major themes demonstrate the level of integration; undertaking of Environmental and Social Impact Assessments (ESIA), execution of Environmental and Social Management Plans (ESMP), integration of E&S issues in Contract obligations, Project management Restructuring, Project packaging, undertaking Resettlement Action Planning (RAP), E&S compliance monitoring, E&S Compliance Reporting, Stakeholder Engagement Planning, and assessment of Human Resource technical capacity. The following major themes stood out prominently to demonstrate the factors affecting the integration of WBESS; rate of adoption of WBESS by UNRA, adequate stakeholder engagements, enhancement of capacity for implementation of WBESS, conducive working environment for contractors’ workers, workers’ welfare, complexity of WBESS, contractors’ complacency, limited capacity in the Market, land acquisition concerns, strict adherence to WBESS, unempowered contractors’ staff, among others. The possible mechanisms proposed by the respondents to address the challenges encountered by UNRA during the integration process include; need for capacity building on WBESS, embedding of E&S standards in contracts & a cost attachment, continuous training and capacity building for the contractors, enhanced contract/ project management, consistency in application of WBESS, embedding E&S criteria in the procurement process, among others. An important conclusion drawn from this research is that UNRA has the will and determination to execute its road infrastructure projects, based on best available practices that promote environmental and social sustainability. The World Bank one of UNRA’s leading funders of road infrastructure projects, continues to extend development loans and grants to the Authority, to meet its national mandate of developing and maintaining the national road network. However, the Bank should deliberately execute a comprehensive training plan to enhance UNRA’s technical capacity to apply the new World Bank Environmental and Social Framework (WBESF) for its upcoming road infrastructure projects.