The Panel received a Request for Inspection on June 20, 2016, case no. 110, which relates to the Bank-financed Uganda Private Power Generation (Bujagali) Project, the Water Management and Development Project (WMDP) and the Energy for Rural Transformation Phase III Project (ERT-III). . On September 19, 2016, the Inspection Panel received a second Request for Inspection, case no. 113, related to the same projects.
The complainants raised concerns about potential social and environmental harm caused by the construction of the Isimba Dam reservoir and the consequent flooding of the KOA. While the World Bank is not financing the dam, the complainants allege the flooding will undermine the management of protected natural resources in the KOA, which is a requirement of an indemnity agreement between the International Development Association and the government of Uganda as part of the Bujagali project. The Panel registered both complaints in September 2016, and informed the Board of Executive Directors that since they raised similar issues the Panel would process them jointly.
Here's the link to case page of the first Request.
Management, in its response of October 31, 2016, argued the Requests were ineligible on several grounds. It stated the potential harm alleged by the Requesters does not stem from a Bank-supported project, but is related to the development of the Isimba project, which is not financed by the Bank and, as a result, cannot be subject to Panel review. Management also contended that the Bujagali project is completed and, as such, not eligible for Panel review. It further stated that the two other projects do not relate to the harm alleged in the Requests. Finally, management stated that the issues raised in these Requests were addressed in the Panel’s recommendation relating to prior requests in 2001 and 2007.
The Panel on December 16, 2016, recommended to defer by up to one year its decision on whether an investigation of the three projects was warranted. The Panel stated deferring its decision would allow it to wait for the completion of the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) addendum that Bank management was preparing and follow-up actions by the Bank. On April 4, 2017, the Board approved the Panel’s recommendation to defer its decision regarding WMDP and the ERT-III, but found that the Bujagali project was not eligible to be investigated because the project was closed.
In the intervening period, the Panel kept in contact with the Requesters and Bank management, and a Panel team visited Uganda on February 7-11, 2018. On May 3, 2018, the Panel sent to the Board its Second Report and Recommendation that recommended an investigation of the alleged issues of harm and related potential non-compliance plausibly linked to the two projects. In making that recommendation, the Panel noted the importance of investigating the timing and adequacy of management’s actions in response to the government of Uganda’s decision to build the Isimba Dam, which threatens the integrity of the KOA in potential non-compliance with the Kalagala Offset Sustainable Management Plan under the WMDP. The Panel also noted that the timing, sequencing and adequacy of the ESIA addendum, financed under the ERT-III with analysis of alternatives limited to Isimba Dam’s differing heights, reservoir levels and water level regimes, could constitute potential non-compliance with Bank Policies on Environmental Assessment and Natural Habitats, among others.
The Board approved the Panel’s recommendation to investigate on September 19, 2018.