Safeguard Implementation: How Can We Make It More Meaningful? Assessment of the South Asia Experience

/ In 2009,the Asian Development Bank released its Safeguard Policy Statement, which addresses requirements for proper consideration of all potential environmental and social issues associated with the development projects that it funds. As expected, implementation of the ADB safeguard requirements has been uneven, depending on the technical complexity of the project and national institutional capacity.A capacity development technical assistance (CDTA) initiative was therefore undertaken in 2013 to determine the common safeguard challenges in development projects and their possible solutions. The CDTA examined representative ADB-supported infrastructure projects in Bhutan, India, and Nepal to inform a comprehensive initiative to improve the design, implementation, and monitoring of ADB safeguards, which began in early 2015.

This publication presents the (i) safeguard systems of Bhutan, India and Nepal; (ii) differences in national safeguard laws and institutional processes with the Asian Development Bank’s safeguards policy; (iii) issues with safeguard design, implementation, and monitoring at the project level; (iv) effectiveness of safeguard training; and (v) capacity needs of project staff, government agencies, consultants, nongovernment organizations, contractors, and local communities involved with infrastructure projects. In the end, suggestions to make the safeguard process more meaningful have been provided.