The World Bank today flagged off a workshop on its Environmental and Social Framework (ESF) in Abuja as part of efforts to create an understanding of the environmental and social criteria it would be applying to new projects it will be financing in Nigeria as from October this year.

A statement issued by the bank’s Country Office in Nigeria indicated that the workshop consisted of a half-day presentation to senior government officials; a two-day technical training for project implementation staff; and half day awareness session with other stakeholders, including civil society and development partners.

Commenting on the initiative, the World Bank Country Director for Nigeria, Rachid Benmessaoud, explained: “Time and again, we have seen that investment projects are more sustainable and have a greater development impact when the environment is protected, and when communities and people are engaged.

“The ESF is a great opportunity to work together with the Nigerian government to strengthen its environmental and social systems, and help build the country’s capacity to implement programs in a sustainable way and to achieve stronger results,” he added.

Rachid Benmessaoud
Rachid Benmessaoud, World Bank Country Director for Nigeria

The Breton Woods institution stated further that the ESF wasthe result of extensive consultations conducted by the World Bank, with nearly four years of analysis and engagement around the world with governments, development practitioners, and civil society groups, reaching nearly 8,000 stakeholders in 63 countries.

According to the bank, the new framework provides a broad coverage of environmental and social issues, including important advances on transparency, non-discrimination, social inclusion, public participation, and accountability.

It stated that the ESF also placed more emphasis on strengthening Borrower governments’ own capacity to deal with environmental and social issues, adding that it also aims to ensure that the people and the environment are protected from the potential adverse impacts of the projects it finances.

Similarly, the framework, which is expected to become effective from October this year and will progressively replace the Bank’s current Safeguards policies, also assists the borrowing governments to manage certain environmental and social risks in investment projects proposed for the World Bank financing support.