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World Bank Australia Safeguards Partnership


Celebrating PHILCESS, May 2020: The Philippines Learning Center for Environment and Social Sustainability (PHILCESS) celebrated its second anniversary on May 31, 2020 as a constituent center of the University of the Philippines National Engineering Center (UP NEC). An anniversary audiovisual presentation can be accessed on the PHILCESS site. The center plans to continue offering training programs on Environmental and Social Assessment and Management with the support of the university, development partners, and other stakeholders. 


The WBASP coordinates and facilitates several events each year around the region. A key event is the meeting of the Regional Development Partners Community of Practice (COP) on environmental and social sustainability in the East Asia and Pacific Region. Held twice yearly, these meetings bring together environmental and social specialists from the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the World Bank Group, as well as other development partners working in the region such as the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). The COP meeting provides a forum to share knowledge and experiences of environment and social management, and the sustainability of infrastructure projects, as well as identify common themes for further collaboration. Proceedings summarizing the discussions and outcomes of the COP meetings are published.

COP Meeting, November 2019: The two-day COP meeting in Jakarta, Indonesia was well attended, bringing together about 30 participants from nine regional development partners working. Participants shared their experiences across a wide range of topics in environmental and social (ES) assessment and management, including capacity development initiatives through Learning Centers (LCs); country safeguards framework assessments; and shared approach and good practice among development partners active in the region. This included (i) developing a streamlined multi-donor approach tailored to the special needs of the Pacific Island Countries, (ii) establishing a grievance redress mechanism, (iii) addressing community health and safety, and (iv) considering vulnerability in the application of ES policies and standards. The COP highlighted the importance of sharing experiences, strengthening collaboration across the development partners and building on the good practices. The meeting was highly appreciated as an event for undertaking a 'deep dive' into key ES topics and information sharing.

Taking advantage of the gathering of the environmental and social specialists during the COP meeting, other events are often held concurrently, such as the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) workshop held in Bangkok, Thailand in 2016 and an outreach event with the private sector in Myanmar in March 2019 to discuss challenges and opportunities to collaborate on safeguards policy and standards capacity development activities.

Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Workshops, September 2016: A two-day workshop titled “Making Safeguards Work for Investors, Governments and Communities: PPPs for Infrastructure Development in Asia” was held in Bangkok, Thailand in 2106. This event was one of the first activities between the collaboration partners (ADB, DFAT, JICA, and the World Bank) after signing the Principles of Collaboration for Country Safeguard Systems. IFC, the AIIB, the EIB, USAID, and representatives from academia, and private- and public-sector organizations involved in PPPs also participated. Participants shared their perspectives on environmental and social risk management and considered the respective role of all the actors in managing environmental and social risks to mobilize private sector investment in infrastructure. Several recommendations from the workshop are being implemented under WBASP. To advance the work further, a PPP roundtable was held in 2019 with participation from the development partners and the private sector.


WBASP is also instrumental in bringing together specialists and representatives from government to share knowledge and experiences. The Asia Day Development Forum held during the 36th Annual Conference of the International Association for Impact Assessment (IAIA) in Nagoya, Japan in May 2016 and the Pacific Day held at the 39th IAIA annual conference in Brisbane Australia in 2019 are two examples.

The Pacific Islands Knowledge Sharing Forum, May 2019: Pacific Day brought together government officials, practitioners, academics, development partners and other key stakeholders to discuss, exchange views and share their experience in the application of environmental and social impact assessment to meet the challenges of sustainable growth and development in the region. Discussions highlighted some of the challenges and, more importantly, ways to move forward such as having a holistic and integrated approach for environmental and social sustainability, mainstreaming ES considerations and improving cross-sectoral collaboration, increasing capacity development, and introducing outcome-based monitoring and enforcement.