By Mike DavidWhile undertaking my daily learnings on the internet, I stumbled upon the World Bank’s Appraisal Environmental and Social Review Summary for our much-hyped Arnos Vale Acute Care Hospital (AVACH). The document ( ESRS Report ) is only 14 pages, and I encourage my fellow Vincentians to give it a read, form your own individualised understanding and appreciation of this planned project. Which is estimated by the World Bank at USD$101.15 million (EC$270 million), and completely funded by the public sector.
These are some key takeaways from the report, most of which have yet to be publicly addressed to the nation, however readily available via a World Bank document labelled as “Public Disclosure Authorised”:
· MCMH (Milton Cato Memorial Hospital) will continue to function as a hospital specialized in maternal and paediatric care
· The “Modern City” is not considered as the “Associated Facility” for the project (in other words the World Bank does not recognise the hospital to be an anchor project to the promised Modern City)
· The proposed site has a shallow groundwater table (the potential of flooding)
· There are numerous mentions in regard to “… a squatter community called Pole Yard”, such as:
o Involuntary resettlement
o In addition, it will be critical to clarify what will happen with the Pole Yard community as part of the modern city development (activities, timing, etc.), including if there is potential resettlement of Pole Yard community under the Modern City Development.
o It will also be important that modern city development activities in the Pole Yard community are not perceived as being linked to the hospital construction.
o a rigorous screening of the area will be conducted to understand the proximity and boundaries of the nearby Pole Yard community and if there are any type of livelihood links between the community and the proposed project site
· There are also risks linked to labour and working conditions such as discrimination, unequal pay and poor working conditions (with the likelihood that migrant workers could be deployed as it is common practice in SVG).
o There are risks related to Sexual Exploitation and Abuse (SEA) and Sexual Harassment (SH), given the expected labour influx and lack of laws or national action plans addressing these issues
o the likelihood that migrants workers (e.g., Cuban workers) would be contracted as it is common practice in SVG.;
· Finally, the Stakeholder Engagement Plan (SEP) pays particular attention to vulnerable groups
o Consultation with the adjacent Pole Yard community, LGBT community, the elderly women associations
o an environmental and social commitment plan (ESCP). The client also drafted an LMP. The initial consultation with different stakeholders including Pole Yard Community, LGBT representatives as well as those of elderly folks and
o female heads of households will be carried out by appraisal and included in the updated SEP. All the E&S instruments will be disclosed in-country and on the Bank’s external web site by appraisal.
In summary, the final Pole Yard solution would be interesting, the first phase of the loan ($70 million of $101 million) was approved with the understanding most of the work might be going to be done by migrant workers, and while as a nation we deliberately attempt to ignore the existence of the LGBT community, our loans are approved based on an expectation of inclusion.
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