6. ESIA reports and other information essential
JBIC Guidelines for Confirmation of Environmental and Social Considerations

Here are JBIC's answers to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about the Environmental Guidelines.

 

6.1Q. From what sources is information on projects concerning the environment collected?

A. JBIC collects environmental information relating to projects, through its being provided by the borrower. Also, the Environmental Guidelines stipulate that information from the stakeholders is welcome.
In confirming the appropriateness of environmental and social considerations, information provided not only by the borrower but also by other sources is considered important. Efforts are being made to collect information from sources other than the borrower through on-site studies, and JBIC plans to continue these efforts into the future.

6.2Q. In Section 2 of Part 2 of the Environmental Guidelines, there is a clause which states "It is desirable that ESIA reports cover the items stipulated in the Common Approaches." Given that, which part of the Common Approaches stipulates those items?

A. The items to be covered in ESIA are stipulated in Annex II of the Common Approaches and the examples are as follows.

ANNEX II
ENVIRONMENTAL AND SOCIAL IMPACT ASSESSMENT (ESIA) REPORT 1

An Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) report focuses on the significant issues of a project. The report’s scope and level of detail should be commensurate with the project’s potential impacts and risks, and should address the issues set out in the international standards applied to the project in accordance with paragraphs 20-24 of this Recommendation. The ESIA report typically includes the following items (not necessarily in the order shown):

  1. Non-technical executive summary: concisely discusses significant findings and recommended actions in lay language.
  2. Policy, legal, and administrative framework: discusses the policy, legal, and administrative framework within which the Assessment is carried out, including host country regulations, including obligations implementing relevant international social and environmental treaties, agreements, and conventions, the international standards applied to the project, as well as any additional priorities and objectives for social or environmental performance identified by the buyer/project sponsor. Explains the environmental requirements of any co-financiers.
  3. Project description: concisely describes the proposed project and its geographic, ecological, social, health and temporal context, including any additional project components that may be required (e.g. dedicated pipelines, access roads, power plants, water supply, housing, and raw material and product storage facilities). Encompasses facilities and activities by third parties that are essential for the successful operation of the project. Normally includes maps showing the project site and the project’s area of influence.
  4. Baseline data: assesses the dimensions of the study area and describes relevant physical, biological, socioeconomic, health and labour conditions, including any changes anticipated before the project commences. Also takes into account current and proposed development activities within the project area but not directly connected to the project. Data should be relevant to decisions about project location, design, operation, or mitigation measures. The section indicates the accuracy, reliability, and sources of the data.
  5. Environmental and Social impacts: predicts and assesses the project’s likely positive and negative impacts, in quantitative terms to the extent possible. Identifies mitigation measures and any residual negative impacts that cannot be mitigated. Explores opportunities for enhancement. Identifies and estimates the extent and quality of available data, key data gaps, and uncertainties associated with predictions, and specifies topics that do not require further attention. Evaluates impacts and risks from associated facilities and other third party activities. Examines global, transboundary, and cumulative impacts as appropriate.
  6. Analysis of Alternatives: compares reasonable alternatives to the proposed project site, technology, design, and operation in terms of their potential environmental and social impacts; the feasibility of mitigating these impacts; their capital and recurrent costs; their suitability under local conditions; and their institutional, training, and monitoring requirements. States the basis for selecting the particular project design proposed and justifies recommended emission levels, including where relevant for greenhouse gases, and approaches to pollution prevention and abatement.
  7. Management Programme: consists of the set of mitigation and management measures to be taken during implementation of the project to avoid, reduce, mitigate, or remedy for adverse social and environmental impacts, in the order of priority, and their timelines. May include multiple policies, procedures, practices, and management plans and actions. Describes the desired outcomes as measurable events to the extent possible, such as performance indicators, targets or acceptance criteria that can be tracked over defined time periods, and indicates the resources, including budget, and responsibilities required for implementation. Where the buyer/project sponsor identifies measures and actions necessary for the project to comply with applicable laws and regulations and to meet the international standards applied to the project, the management programme will include an Action Plan, which is subject to disclosure to the affected communities and on-going reporting and updating.
  8. Appendices:
    • List of ESIA report preparers – individuals and organisations.
    • References – written materials, both published and unpublished, used in study preparation.
    • Record of interagency and consultation meetings, including consultations for obtaining the informed views of the affected communities and/or their legitimate representatives and other interested parties, such as civil society organisations. The record specifies any means other than consultations (e.g. surveys) that were used to obtain the views of affected groups.
    • Tables presenting the relevant data referred to, or summarised in, the main text.
    • Associated reports, audits, and plans (e.g. Resettlement Action Plan or Indigenous Peoples/Natural Resource Dependent Community plan, community health plan).
    • Action Plan that (i) describes the actions necessary to implement the various sets of mitigation measures or corrective actions to be undertaken, (ii) prioritises these actions, (iii) includes the time-line for their implementation, and (iv) describes the schedule for communicating with affected communities when on-going disclosure or consultation is expected.
  1. (Note) This Annex is based on the IFC Guidance Notes: Performance Standards on Social and Environmental Sustainability of 31 July 2007; however, for the purposes of this Recommendation, the text has been adapted.

6.3Q. JBIC’s Environmental Guidelines stipulate that Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) reports should be released to the public. Are there any countries where this is legally forbidden?

A. To the knowledge of JBIC, there are no countries which prohibit the disclosure of ESIA reports under act, while some countries do not have provisions for disclosure stipulated in their acts. When a project arises in a country which does not obligate the disclosure of ESIA reports, JBIC actively encourages the project proponents to voluntarily do so.

6.4Q. Could demanding the disclosure of an ESIA report by ignoring the domestic institutional setup of host country constitute interference with the domestic affairs of that country?

A. JBIC considers it important to disclose ESIA reports for achieving sustainable projects consistent with environmental preservation. In the Environmental Guidelines this is set forth as "required". Concerned parties understand this point, once it has been explained to them.
On the other hand, there are some countries which do not disclose information at present in the actual project process, although disclosure is not prohibited by law. This may be based on a difference in the notion of "information disclosure" rather than a problem in the ESIA system.
Therefore, JBIC must increase opportunities for consultation in the future, to obtain the understanding of concerned parties.

6.5Q. Is the information sought in the Environmental Guidelines from borrowers relating to the environment actually available?

A. Yes, it is basically available for JBIC. In most cases, the borrowers have conducted studies appropriately, collected relevant information on potential environmental impacts of their projects and taken measures to address them.

6.6Q. Suppose a third party provides to JBIC, information of little credibility whose validity it cannot establish in an effort to thwart the project. What kind of information will JBIC deal with and how?

A. JBIC is basically receptive to information from third parties. Of the information it receives, JBIC confirms the appropriateness of environmental and social considerations of that which is significant and assured as reliable, after which it uses it as reference.
With the diversity of information that comes to JBIC’s attention, spending considerable time and cost to confirm information of low credibility for which the source cannot be specified would be undesirable in view of the efficient operations required for a policy-based financing institution. Therefore, JBIC would like to request that when third parties provide information, they provide factual and accurate information whose veracity they can demonstrate.

6.7Q. The Section 4. (4) of Part 1 of the Environmental Guidelines set forth, "The information necessary for monitoring needs to be supplied by the borrower and related parties by appropriate means." In the case that the borrowers do not participate in project management, they do not have access to information, either. Even then, do the borrowers still have an obligation to supply information?

A. When the borrowers do not participate in project management, it is common for the information available to them to be restricted, and as such JBIC feels it unrealistic to insist on information gathering across the board. Consequently, we would like to give due consideration to ensure that our information gathering activities will not harm business relations between the borrowers and the project proponent.