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How to Use the Sourcebook

The Sourcebook is designed to facilitate the environmental assessment process. It is intended to be used by all involved in Environmental Assessment (EA), primarily the EA practitioner, but also groups managing them, project designers, task managers, and environmentalists in general. While much of the document refers mainly to project loans, policy-based and adjustment lending may be addressed subsequently. The Sourcebook is a reference manual which contains the information needed to manage the process of environmental assessment according to the requirements of the World Bank's Operational Directive (OD) on EA 4.01, October 1991. It is a long document because of the wide range of subjects addressed. However, no one user will need all of the information in the book. Its contents have therefore been organized to be individually as easily accessible as possible, and there is a logical way in which a user can find the items that are pertinent to any particular lending operation. The Sourcebook focuses on operations with more potential for negative environmental impacts, such as major new infrastructure, rather than on operations with less potential impact, such as rehabilitation and maintenance, important though these investments undoubtedly are.

The Table of Contents in the box on the right is the most important section of the Sourcebook. It will assist the user of this reference manual who may be concerned about a specific operation (see the irrigation example below).

Chapter 1 is recommended reading for anyone responsible for a Bank-supported project with potentially significant environmental impacts. It summarizes Bank EA requirements and outlines the Bank's environmental review process, from screening at the time of project identification, right through to post-completion evaluation. A number of 'boxes' illustrate different applications of EA in development activities. OD 4.01 is appended to Chapter 1, along with a list of other Bank operational policy and procedural documents relevant to EA. Annex 1-3 offers a standard format for Terms of Reference (TOR) for an EA that task managers (TMs) may want to tailor to their specific needs.

Chapters 2 and 3 are 'issues' chapters. They provide information and guidance on a number of topics, some of which are likely to arise in any EA. The issues in Chapter 2 are primarily ecological, while those in Chapter 3 are social and cultural. The chapters can, of course, be read in their entirety, but there are two other ways to use them. Their sub-topics are listed in the Table of Contents, allowing the user to find them individually. They are also cited where applicable in the discussions of EA guidelines for specific project types, so that they can be referred to in the course of preparing to conduct a particular EA.

Chapters 4, 5, and 6 are 'methods' chapters: economics, institutions, and financial intermediary lending. They are not intended to substitute for the knowledge and skills of experts carrying out the actual EA. Chapter 4 gives Sourcebook users an idea of what can be accomplished in the way of economic evaluation of environmental costs and benefits as part of an EA. Chapter 5 addresses institutional strengthening. It stresses the need to develop local capability in EA, identifies some of the broader needs for building country environmental management capacity that an EA may disclose, and considers what may be realistically expected in either area from a single loan or credit. Chapter 6 discusses the particular problems associated with EAs of sector and financial intermediary lending. The extent to which these chapters are important to an individual user depends on the type of project and the nature of environmental management in the borrowing country.

Chapter 7, community involvement and the role of nongovernmental organizations in EA, explores the implications of OD 4.01 requirements in this area and offers guidance on how to meet them. Because community involvement is a new concept not only to some Bank staff but also to officials in borrowing countries, the chapter is recommended reading for all environmental assessors as well as task managers.

Chapters 8, 9, and 10 contain sectoral guidelines for EAs. The chapters begin with general considerations pertaining to EA in the sector(s) covered and with discussions of particularly relevant topics (e.g., 'Integrated Pest Management and Use of Agrochemicals' in Chapter 8, which concerns the agricultural sector, or plant siting in Chapter 10, on industrial and energy sector projects). The topics are listed in the Table of Contents and cross-referenced throughout the Sourcebook. The balance of each chapter covers specific types of projects, chosen primarily because they have potentially significant environmental impacts. For each type, the project is briefly described (intended only to indicate the features of the project which have environmental significance), potential impacts are summarized, and special issues are noted that should be considered in an EA. Possible alternatives to the project are outlined, and discussions of management and training needs and monitoring requirements are added. Each review concludes with a table of potential impacts and the measures which can be used to mitigate them. Sample Terms of Reference for the various project types are collected in one section in each chapter.

In the case of a loan for an irrigation project to reclaim arid land, the user would consult the following Sourcebook sections:

Chapter 1: 'The Environmental Review Process' (if not already acquainted with Bank EAs)


Chapter 8: 'Irrigation and Drainage' (for the project-specific guidelines and sample TORs)


Chapter 2: 'Arid and Semi-Arid Lands' and 'Land and Water Resource Management' (for a review of ecological issues)


Chapter 7: 'Community Involvement and the Role of NGOs in Environmental Review' (if not already familiar with the topic in Bank EAs)

The need for other information will become apparent; for example, tribal peoples, international waterways, new land settlement, resettlement, or institutional strengthening may emerge as important concerns in the project, and the appropriate Sourcebook sections can be consulted.

From the Environmental Assessment Sourcebook 1991 Foreword


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