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World Bank Hosts Consultation on South Africa Safeguards' Review

December 15, 2009

PRETORIA, December 15, 2009-- A stakeholder consultation was held in Pretoria on December 9 and 10, 2009 to discuss the findings of the Safeguard Diagnostic Review (SDR, click here for paper), a World Bank report assessing South Africa’s safeguard policies, laws and regulations as would apply to the Eskom Investment Support Project (EISP). Over 45 participants (list attached) attended the consultation over a two-day period and offered their insights about ways in which the safeguard regime could be strengthened, including during project implementation.

“South Africa has some of the most well-developed environmental and social safeguard systems in the world,” said Stephen Lintner, World Bank Senior Technical Advisor, addressing the participants. “The purpose of the consultation was to solicit views and inputs from a broad spectrum of stakeholders for improving the safeguard review and ultimately contributing to the sustainability of the project’s development outcomes.”

The consultation focused on three key areas of the draft SDR paper: analysis of equivalence, acceptability assessment, and gap-filling measures identified to strengthen the safeguard regime. Because South Africa has well-developed environmental and social safeguard systems, the World Bank has selected it as one of 15 countries worldwide for the use of a country’s own environmental and social safeguard systems in implementing Bank-supported projects.

In closing remarks, Ruth Kagia, World Bank Country Director for South Africa, thanked participants for taking the time to attend the consultations and for sharing their insights. A summary of the consultation is being drafted and will be posted online and shared with participants. Participants were encouraged to send their written comments by January 11, 2010 so that the SDR paper can be finalized later in January. Several participants noted the usefulness of the consultation and appreciated the opportunity to interact with the World Bank team.