- On June 6, 2017, the World Bank lifted the suspension of the civil works components of the North Eastern Road Corridor Asset Management Project (NERAMP) and the Albertine Region Sustainable Development Project. The decision resulted from an assessment of progress made by the Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) in addressing issues that led to the suspension in December 2015.
- The Bank’s assessment found that UNRA had made progress in strengthening its capacity to manage its roads program, in areas including contract supervision and a more systematic approach to environmental and social safeguards management.
- The assessment also recognized a change in culture and commitment within UNRA to engage communities and deliver projects in a way that enhances positive social impacts and addresses labor influx issues.
- The Bank noted that UNRA continues to follow up on contentious, complicated cases related to compensation for project affected people and recruitment of reputable local NGOs to work on enhanced social impact management along all World Bank financed road corridors.
- The World Bank also plans to support Uganda through a national scale project on gender-based violence prevention and response in a more systematic way.
- The Government of Uganda is financing with its own funds the completion of the Fort Portal to Kamwenge road.
Update on World Bank action
On March 30 2017, the first Progress Report on addressing issues raised in the TSDP Inspection Panel report was delivered to the Board of Executive Directors on implementation of the Management Action Plan, covering the period October 13, 2016 to March 21, 2017. It included the following updates:
- A general review of environmental and social safeguards performance in all relevant Bank-financed projects in Uganda has been completed, as well as a complementary review with a specific focus on the risks of sexual abuse involving minors, and child labor. [For background see - TSDP: Lessons Learned & Agenda for Action Report: https://documents.worldbank.org/curated/en/948341479845064519/pdf/110455-BR-PUBLIC-LESSONS-LEARNT-IDA-SecM2016-0204.pdf]
- Environmental and social provisions for contractors and supervising engineers in future Bank supported operations have been strengthened Bank-wide for civil works carried out in, or near, vulnerable communities and in other high-risk situations
- A guidance note for Bank staff has been disseminated on issues associated with labor influx. Based on this guidance, a portfolio-wide review of projects across the Bank is being carried out to ensure that pertinent issues are being appropriately addressed (https://pubdocs.worldbank.org/en/497851495202591233/Managing-Risk-of-Adverse-impact-from-project-labor-influx.pdf)
- A Global Gender-Based Violence (GBV) Task Force was formed to strengthen the institution’s response to instances of GBV encountered as part of its operations. The Task Force includes a range of members from academia, NGOs, foundations, UNICEF, and government. The Task Force is expected to deliver its report in June 2017 with the Bank committed to following up on its recommendations. [The TOR for the GBV task force is annexed to the report on Lessons Learnt – see above]
Progress has also been made on specific actions related to the TSDP:
- Empowerment and livelihoods clubs for adolescents (ELAs) are now fully operational in the project area, run by local CSO BRAC-Uganda, with support from the World Bank.
- About 96% of outstanding compensation payments on the Fort Portal to Kamwenge Road have been made, with funds for the remaining, more complicated, cases of 110 project-affected people placed in an escrow account while UNRA continues the necessary follow-ups.
- The Government of Uganda (led by the Ministry of Gender, Labor and Social Development) is progressively assuming responsibility for contracting NGOs to continue efforts begun in the TSDP project area to respond to the harm caused to local adolescent girls by road workers. Support has been provided through a Rapid Social Response (RSR) Grant, and to implement GBV prevention activities. Other projects in the Bank-supported portfolio (e.g., in energy and education sectors) are in the process of being restructured to include GBV prevention components.
- On November 22, 2016 the World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors discussed an Inspection Panel report on an investigation of the Uganda Transport Sector Development Project and endorsed the action plan put forward in the management response to the report.
- On December 21, 2015, WBG announced the cancellation of funding to the Uganda Transport Sector Development Project (TSDP) due to contractual breaches related to workers’ issues, social and environmental concerns, poor project performance, and serious allegations of sexual misconduct and abuse by contractor staff. WBG had earlier suspended financing for the project, in October 2015.
- Along with cancelling financing for the Transport Sector Development Project, on December 28, 2015 the Bank suspended the civil works components of two other projects implemented by the Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA): the North Eastern Road Corridor Asset Management Project (NERAMP), and the Albertine Region Sustainable Development Project.
- A Request for Inspection of the TSDP had been registered by the Inspection Panel in September 2015. It concerned complaints received from the Bigodi and Nyabubale-Nkingo communities located along the Kamwenge to Fort Portal Road. The Request contained numerous allegations of adverse environmental and social impacts stemming from the Project’s construction works, including impacts related to road safety and compensation for land acquisition, as well as serious allegations of road workers’ sexual relations with minor girls in the community, and sexual harassment of female employees.