This Operational Policy statement was updated in February 2011 to clarify the use of framework instruments and to add strategic environmental and social assessment (SESA) to the list of available instruments.
Questions on this policy may be addressed to OPCS Quality Assurance and Compliance (OPCQC).
Revised February 2011
1. Environmental audit: An instrument to determine the nature and extent of all environmental areas of concern at an existing facility. The audit identifies and justifies appropriate measures to mitigate the areas of concern, estimates the cost of the measures, and recommends a schedule for implementing them. For certain projects, the EA report may consist of an environmental audit alone; in other cases, the audit is part of the EA documentation.
2. Environmental impact assessment (EIA): An instrument to identify and assess the potential environmental impacts of a proposed project, evaluate alternatives, and design appropriate mitigation, management, and monitoring measures. Projects and subprojects need EIA to address important issues not covered by any applicable regional or sectoral EA.
3. Environmental management plan (EMP): An instrument that details (a) the measures to be taken during the implementation and operation of a project to eliminate or offset adverse environmental impacts, or to reduce them to acceptable levels; and (b) the actions needed to implement these measures. The EMP is an integral part of Category A EAs (irrespective of other instruments used). EAs for Category B projects may also result in an EMP.
4. Environmental and social management framework (ESMF): An instrument that examines the issues and impacts associated when a project consists of a program and/or series of sub-projects, and the impacts cannot be determined until the program or sub-project details have been identified. The ESMF sets out the principles, rules, guidelines and procedures to assess the environmental and social impacts. It contains measures and plans to reduce, mitigate and/or offset adverse impacts and enhance positive impacts, provisions for estimating and budgeting the costs of such measures, and information on the agency or agencies responsible for addressing project impacts. The term "Environmental Management Framework" or "EMF" may also be used.
5. Hazard assessment: An instrument for identifying, analyzing, and controlling hazards associated with the presence of dangerous materials and conditions at a project site. The Bank requires a hazard assessment for projects involving certain inflammable, explosive, reactive, and toxic materials when they are present at a site in quantities above a specified threshold level. For certain projects, the EA report may consist of the hazard assessment alone; in other cases, the hazard assessment is part of the EA documentation.
6. Project area of influence: The area likely to be affected by the project, including all its ancillary aspects, such as power transmission corridors, pipelines, canals, tunnels, relocation and access roads, borrow and disposal areas, and construction camps, as well as unplanned developments induced by the project (e.g., spontaneous settlement, logging, or shifting agriculture along access roads). The area of influence may include, for example, (a) the watershed within which the project is located; (b) any affected estuary and coastal zone; (c) off-site areas required for resettlement or compensatory tracts; (d) the airshed (e.g., where airborne pollution such as smoke or dust may enter or leave the area of influence; (e) migratory routes of humans, wildlife, or fish, particularly where they relate to public health, economic activities, or environmental conservation; and (f) areas used for livelihood activities (hunting, fishing, grazing, gathering, agriculture, etc.) or religious or ceremonial purposes of a customary nature.
7. Regional EA: An instrument that examines environmental issues and impacts associated with a particular strategy, policy, plan, or program, or with a series of projects for a particular region (e.g., an urban area, a watershed, or a coastal zone); evaluates and compares the impacts against those of alternative options; assesses legal and institutional aspects relevant to the issues and impacts; and recommends broad measures to strengthen environmental management in the region. Regional EA pays particular attention to potential cumulative impacts of multiple activities.
8. Risk assessment: An instrument for estimating the probability of harm occurring from the presence of dangerous conditions or materials at a project site. Risk represents the likelihood and significance of a potential hazard being realized; therefore, a hazard assessment often precedes a risk assessment, or the two are conducted as one exercise. Risk assessment is a flexible method of analysis, a systematic approach to organizing and analyzing scientific information about potentially hazardous activities or about substances that might pose risks under specified conditions. The Bank routinely requires risk assessment for projects involving handling, storage, or disposal of hazardous materials and waste, the construction of dams, or major construction works in locations vulnerable to seismic activity or other potentially damaging natural events. For certain projects, the EA report may consist of the risk assessment alone; in other cases, the risk assessment is part of the EA documentation.
9. Sectoral EA: An instrument that examines environmental issues and impacts associated with a particular strategy, policy, plan, or program, or with a series of projects for a specific sector (e.g., power, transport, or agriculture); evaluates and compares the impacts against those of alternative options; assesses legal and institutional aspects relevant to the issues and impacts; and recommends broad measures to strengthen environmental management in the sector. Sectoral EA pays particular attention to potential cumulative impacts of multiple activities.
10. Strategic environmental and social assessment (SESA): An instrument that describes analytical and participatory approaches that aim to integrate environmental and social considerations into policies, plans and programs and evaluate their inter linkages with economic considerations. The term "Strategic Environmental Assessment" or "SEA" may also be used.