Environmental and Social Review Summary
This Environmental and Social Review Summary (ESRS) is prepared by MIGA staff and disclosed prior to the date on which MIGA’s Board of Directors considers the proposed issuance of a Contract of Guarantee. Its purpose is to enhance the transparency of MIGA’s activities. This document should not be construed as presuming the outcome of the decision by MIGA’s Board of Directors. Board dates are estimates only.
Any documentation that is attached to this ESRS has been prepared by the project sponsor, and authorization has been given for public release. MIGA has reviewed the attached documentation as provided by the applicant and considers it of adequate quality to be released to the public but does not endorse the content
This ESRS was first disclosed on November 07, 2011 (click here to view). MIGA issued a guarantee to EVN AG of Austria for its investments in the Project on February 1, 2012. In June 2021, MIGA was requested to extend the tenor of the guarantee, and revisions were made to the ESRS to provide an update in the Project status and reflecting the 2013 version of the Performance Standards (PS). The review against the 2013 PSs did not identify any material gaps not previously identified under the 2007 version of the PSs.
The Energji Ashta power project involves the construction and operation of a 52.9 MW run of river hydro power plant under a 35-year Concession Agreement originally entered into between VERBUND AG (Verbund) and the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Energy of the Republic of Albania in 2008. The hydropower project (HPP) is the fourth plant on the Drin River but was the first to be built in 30 years. The project is located in the district of Shkoder in northwestern Albania. The Power Off-take Agreement and Cascade Agreement are with the Albanian public wholesale electricity supplier, KESH (Korporate Elecktroenergjetike Shqiptare Sh.A.), according to which electricity will be sold for a period of 15 years. Construction started in 2010 and the Project was commissioned in 2013.
The Ashta HPP is located on the Drin River in northern Albania, near the border with Montenegro. It was initially developed in the 1970s with construction of the Spathara weir. The Drin River is used by a chain of HPPs. The project will be the last in this chain and is located below the Vau i Dejes HPP, about 50 km from the outflow of the Drin River. The project consists of two stages: electricity is first generated at Ashta I, where the Spathara reservoir with its effluent weir and small irrigation system was erected in the 1980s for agricultural use. Water flow of up to 560m3 per second supplies 45 matrix turbines. Electricity is also being generated by Ashta II from water channeled along a 5 km long, low-lying bypass channel close to the village of Ashta. Ashta I is located 200m below the Spathara reservoir intake and Ashta II is further downstream. The project makes use of existing structures of Spathara weir at the intake. As part of the concession agreement, Ashta I required the construction of a transmission line of 1.2 km to connect to an existing overhead line. Ashta II required the re-routing of an existing overhead line of approximately 500m.
The Institute of Hydro-technical Studies and Projects initially developed the Bushati (Ashta) HPP in the 70s and 80s. The project as originally conceived was designed as a run-of-river plant with an installed capacity of 84 MW, having a tailrace canal discharging to the Buna River, some 4.5 km downstream of its confluence with the Drin River. Lake Shkodra (a wildlife refuge shared by Albania and Montenegro) outflows into the Buna River in the stretch where the river would be diverted into the powerhouse. This would have resulted in changes to the river level causing potentially adverse impacts on the wildlife. There would also have been impacts on farm irrigation and water wells along this section of the river. This raised not only environmental and social questions, but also riparian rights issues for the two neighboring countries. In order to address these potential impacts, the IFC was retained by the Government of Albania in 2006 to structure and implement the project. Through IFC’s engagement, an alternative to the existing project was developed that addressed the environmental concerns. To avoid any confusion with the original scheme, the project was renamed Ashta HPP.
The Ashta HPP has only a small reservoir capacity and operates as a true run-of-river power plant benefiting from the regulated flow the Drin River cascade. The Vau i Dejes power plant is directly upstream of the Spathara diversion weir.
The Project was originally categorized to Category A (November 7, 2012) according to MIGA’s Policy on Social & Environmental Sustainability (2007). The key environmental and social issues associated with the project as identified during MIGAs due diligence include: landscape, geology, seismology, hydrology, groundwater quality, surface water quality, air quality, noise levels, waste water, solid waste, hazardous waste, biodiversity, worker health and safety and the socio-economic conditions.
While all Performance Standards (PSs) are applicable to this investment, based on our current information, the investment will have impacts which must be managed in a manner consistent with the following Performance Standards:
- PS1: Assessment and Management of Environmental and Social Risks and Impacts
- PS2: Labor and Working Conditions
- PS3: Resource Efficiency and Pollution Prevention
- PS4: Community Health, Safety and Security
- PS5: Land Acquisition and Involuntary Resettlement
- PS6: Biodiversity Conservation and Sustainable Management of Living Natural Resource
At this stage in the Project, no further land acquisition and resettlement is anticipated to be required. The PS5 section below summarizes the land acquisition and resettlement that was undertaken prior to the construction of the project. There are no impacts related to Indigenous Peoples or Cultural Heritage associated with this Project and hence PS7 and PS8 do not apply.
In addition, the following World Bank Group Environmental, Health, and Safety (WBG EHS) Guidelines are applicable to the Project:
- General EHS Guidelines (2007)
- Electric Power Transmission and Distribution (2007)
The following documents were reviewed by MIGA:
- Ashta Hydropower Plant Project, Environmental Impact Assessment Report, May 2011 prepared by ENI Consulting
- Drin River Cascade Coordination Agreement between Korporata Elektroenergjetike Shqiptare Sh.a. and Osterreichische Elektrizitatswirstschaftsaktiengesellschaft, September 30, 2008
- HPP Ashta – Drin River – Detail Design for Construction Permit, Technical Report, April 2009, Verbund/Poyry
- Environmental, Social, Health and Safety (ESHS) Screening Report, Private Sector Participation in the Ashta Hydro Power Plant, February 2008, prepared for IFC by SNC-Lavalin
- Environmental Management System, Energji Ashta, September 2020
- Human Resources Policy, Energji Ashta, December 2016
- HPP Ashta – Health and Safety Policies and Procedures, Energji Ashta, July 2014
- HPP Ashta – Site Safety Plan, Energji Ashta, August 2010
- Republic of Albania Council of Ministers Decision No. 522, Date 30.06.2010 on the Expropriation, for Public Interest, of Immovable Properties Owners, Private Property, Affected by the Expropriation for the Purpose of Construction, Ownership, Exploitation, Maintenance and Transfer in the State’s Favor of the Project for the New Hydro Power Plant in Ashta, in the District of Shkodra (translation)
- Indicative Expropriation Procedure, Appendix to the Concession Agreement, September 30, 2008
- Ashta Energy Expropriation Procedure, 2010
- Annual Report on the Conditions of the Dams of Ashta HPP, Energji Ashta, 2019.
- Ashta HPP Annual Monitoring Reports submitted to MIGA, 2013 - 2020
In addition to reviewing the above documents, MIGA carried out the E&S due diligence visit in February 2011 and met with the guarantee holder, Energji Ashta staff, representatives from the Albania Ministry of Environment (permit granters), the environmental consultants, KESH’s Project Implementation Unit director for World Bank Dam Safety Project, environmental specialists at the World Bank and relevant country office staff. Throughout the lifetime of the MIGA guarantee, MIGA has also conducted regular monitoring visits to the Project site
MIGA’s due diligence review considered the environmental and social management planning process and documentation for the Project and identified gaps (if any) between these and MIGA’s requirements. Where necessary, corrective measures, intended to close these gaps within a reasonable time period, are summarized in the paragraphs that follow. Through the implementation of these measures, the Project was designed and currently operates in accordance with the Performance Standards.
Key environmental and social (E&S) issues associated with the Project activities are summarized in the paragraphs that follow.
PS1: Assessment and Management of Environmental and Social Risks and Impacts
Environmental and Social Assessment and Management System:
The Project has an Environment, Health and Safety Management System (EHSMS) consistent with Performance Standard 1 and certified to ISO 140001 (Environmental Management) and ISO 45001 (Occupation Health and Safety). The EHSMS consists of a set of policies, management programs and procedures as further described in the sections below.
In accordance with the legal framework in Albania, the project sponsor obtained all necessary permits to construct the Ashta HPP and has in place all permits required for operations. These includes the respective decisions of Albanian National Council of Territory Planning (ANCTP), the Council of Territory Planning (CTP) of the Commune of Bushati and Municipality of Vau Dejes, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Energy (METE), the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Water Administration (MoEFWA), Power Distribution Operation and the Electricity Regulatory Authority (ERE).
A project-specific Environmental, Health and Safety (EHS) Policy has been established that sets responsibilities for sustainable development, as well as commitments related to EHS management, monitoring and training. The policy is consistent with the Performance Standards, as well Verbund’s Occupational Health and Safety Policy which is also applicable to the Project.
Identification of Risks and Impacts:
An Environmental Impact Assessment was prepared for the project prior to construction, covering the planning, construction, operation and decommissioning phases of the Project. The ESIA addressed project siting and design alternatives, the stakeholder engagement and public participation process, identification and assessment of environmental and social risks and impacts, Measures to avoid, mitigate or offset identified impacts identified were described in a framework for an Environmental Management Plan (EMP) as part of the ESIA.
The EHSMS includes an EMP with audit and reporting requirements, building on the findings of the ESIA. The EMP includes plant safety policy, safety management plan, health services, training plans, emergency response plan, and liaison responsibilities with public and other agencies. Parameters being monitored include noise, air quality, temperature and wastewater quality, power, gas, and intake water usage.
Organizational Capacity and Competency:
Overall responsibility of managing EHS aspects is with the Ashta Plant Manager. EHSMS implementation is the responsibility of the Project’s Environmental Management team, and the Occupational Health and Safety team.
Continuous EHS training program involving all Project staff is provided. This includes training specific to EHS management procedures, as well as emergency response training including firefighting and first aid.
Emergency Preparedness and Response:
The EHSMS includes an Emergency Response Plan (ERP) that covers risk identification and mitigation, near miss and accident reporting, auditing/examination of equipment, training and drills. A functioning Emergency Response Team with officers from various departments is in place. The ERP also includes evacuation procedures in case of an emergency.
Monitoring and Review:
The EHSMS monitoring program, includes procedures for sampling and measurements of environmental and health & safety parameters that were identified during the EIA process. These parameters include surface water quality, ground water quality, aquatic life, soil erosion, vehicle emissions, noise levels, waste generation and disposal, health and safety incidents, and training events.
Regular internal and external audits are carried out, including an annual EHS audit as well as audits related to the ISO certifications. Quarterly environmental monitoring reports are submitted to the local environmental authorities in line with applicable regulatory requirements. The Project also submits an Annual Monitoring Report to MIGA.
The project implements stakeholder engagement activities as part of the EHSMS and its Corporate Social Responsibility Program, including regular communication with adjacent communities and community support programs, as well as information campaigns related to emergency preparedness.
External Communication and Grievance Mechanisms:
An external grievance mechanism was established prior to construction and is still in place, that provides for various ways to request project information or file a complaint (website, telephone, email) and contact details to the Project is posted in the adjacent communicates. Requests received in the recent years relate to suggestions for community support activities.
PS2: Labor and Working Conditions
During power plant operations, Energji Ashta currently employs 20 workers and 4 contractors split between Austria and onsite for operations and maintenance. During the construction phase, several international and national contractors were engaged on site with approximately 100-150 workers at any given time.
Working Conditions and Management of Worker Relationship:
The Project has a set of HR policies and procedures consistent with local regulations and PS2, that includes recruitment, benefits, wages, leave, hours of work, overtime, dispute resolution, performance evaluation, social security, worker’s organization, and safety at work. There is no workers accommodation at the site.
The company’s HR policies prohibit discrimination in hiring, training, compensation practices, promotion and dismissal of any individual based on gender, race and or color of skin, religion and political persuasion. The Project also prohibits the harassment of any individual based on gender, race and or color of skin, religion and political views. Policies include also zero tolerance for sexual harassment, or gender-based discrimination. An employee grievance mechanism is included as part of the HR policies. It has been communicated and made accessible to all the company’s employees and contractors.
The State Labor Inspectorate conduct yearly inspections of working conditions at the Project, including aspects related to working time, wages, safety, hygiene and welfare, child labor, migrant work and other vulnerable workers.
Protecting the Work Force:
Child and forced labor is prohibited under local regulations. The Energji Ashta human resources policies and procedures indicate that the minimum age of employment is 18 years of age and that forced labor is prohibited in line with applicable legislation and PS2 requirements.
Occupational Health and Safety:
Energji Ashta maintains a Health and Safety Management Program as part of the ESHSMS which includes policies and procedures for workers induction, visitor’s induction, roles and responsibilities, permit-to-work system, and a Site Safety File. The Site Safety File covered the entire construction period including the commissioning period and targeted to all persons and companies working at or visiting the Energji Ashta project site including Ashta I and II, the channel, the rubber dam site, the construction site camps and all traffic or site roads between these areas. All contractors were also obliged to adhere to the Site Safety File that contains instructions and procedures for issues related to environmental health and safety that includes: code of conduct, registration of workers and visitors, occupational aptitude, use of personal protective equipment (PPE), access to construction sites, site induction training and instructions, working hours, vehicles and machines, tools and equipment, site traffic and transportation, housekeeping, waste management, medical facilities, lighting fire protection, emergency system, safety at work, storage and handling of gas cylinders, storage and handling of hazardous materials, explosion protection, open holes and scaffolding. During construction an Energji Ashta Safety Officer was present on site and liaised closely with the contractor’s appointed qualified EHS officer.
During the current operations phase, Energji Ashta continues to deploy a strong safety culture and provides a safe working environment. The Albanian Occupational Health and Safety Law is used as the minimum standard but for Energji Ashta the aim is to achieve European standards regarding health and safety management. The site has remained free of accidents due to close management of occupational health and safety risks, with a focus on control and prevention that requires the active participation of all the employees. The most recent annual monitoring report submitted to MIGA indicates that there were no fires, industrial injuries or road traffic incidents during the reporting period. Since the start of operations to date the company has maintained zero accidents and zero lost-working days resulting from accidents. In accordance with the company's safety standards, all workers at site are provided with PPE comprising hard hats, safety shoes, jacket, dust masks, electrical safety equipment, depending upon the worker’s job specification. Comprehensive training is provided that covers; first aid, firefighting, driving of trucks and heavy construction machinery to obtain and maintain driving licenses, routine maintenance and the safe operation of mobile cranes, gantry and forklift trucks. Certification from the Technical State Inspectorate (IQT) has been achieved and all drivers are in receipt of valid licenses.
Workers Engaged by Third Parties and Supply Chain:
Energji Ashta ensures that contractors apply appropriate Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) plans and controls, including provision of PPE and appropriate training in safe working practices and avoidance of hazards. All contractors used by the company are licensed by the regulatory authorities.
Energji Ashta requires its contractors to follow applicable procedures of with its own HR, OHS and environmental policies and procedures. There is a supply chain management system to identify primary suppliers and ensure that OHS and other labor requirements (i.e. minimum age of employment, no forced labor) are cascaded to the primary supply chain.
The company has established a set of procedures for COVID-19 with actions, roles and responsibilities and is complementary to the Albanian national pandemic management plan which is currently being implemented. The Plan includes site access procedure, prevention measures, behavior guidelines, and cleaning and disinfection protocols.
PS3: Resource Efficiency and Pollution Prevention
The project was registered as a Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) project in 2012 via the UN-administered process. It realizes a calculated emission reduction of approximately 60,000 tons of carbon dioxide equivalent per year (tCO2 eq/year). The most recent annual monitoring report submitted to MIGA indicates, based on the Project’s own calculations, that the plant is achieving savings of 114,000 tCO2 eq/year and in 2020 the plant produced 187,074 MWh of electricity achieving 60,346 Certified Emission Reductions (CER) under the CDM. Ashta I and II are operating at over 91% efficiency. The Project’s EHS policies and management systems includes commitments and procedures related to resource efficiency, including water and energy use that are routinely monitored and reported.
The project ESIA indicated that most pollution prevention measures would be needed during construction. The various mitigation measures identified in the ESIA were implemented through the construction phase management and monitoring plans. All construction related impacts, including the construction of the 1.2 km transmission line and re-routing of the 500m line, were addressed through the Environmental Management Plan and the Site Safety File. Activities such as digging machinery, the transport and the concrete works, were assessed as these could have affected the groundwater for those wells supplying water to the villages to the left of the Drin River flow. The rise of the water level in the Spathara reservoir inundated the small islands in the reservoir and their vegetation. Decomposed organic matter could have caused surface waters to become polluted, with consequences for the groundwater. This was addressed by cutting down vegetation within the Spathara reservoir to reduce the chances of the pollution by the decomposing submerged vegetation Water quality was monitored throughout the construction period and no adverse effects were observed.
During construction there was a ban on the extraction of materials for construction left of the Drin River, from the Spathara weir to Ashta II powerhouse, to reduce one of the causes of flooding in the villages Shelqezi, Stajka, Kozmaci and Ashta. The flood risk was not expected to be greater than prior to Ashta HPP construction. This risk has decreased as the Ashta HPP headrace channel serves as protection for the area south of the project area. During operations, the flood risk in the southern part of the Ashta HPP headrace channel is expected to be insignificant.
Temporary erosion impacts were expected due to excavation works in the Drin Riverbed and the Spathara reservoir causing an increase the amount of the suspended solids. Lowering of the water level from the reservoir from 19m to 16.5m caused a temporary rise of suspended solids in the Drin River. During the construction stage of Ashta HPP, there were limited negative impacts on the coastal area. Some positive impacts occurred due to the larger amount of the suspended solid discharge from the Drin River deposited around the mouth of the Buna River.
Standard construction mitigation measures were implemented to minimize air quality impacts during construction due to dust generation throughout the project area. These included regular water sprays to surfaces, gravel barriers established to minimize dust transmission to the villages near the project area and to reduce the noise made by the machinery, equipment and the vehicles at construction sites. Working was prohibited after 8.00pm. Regular air quality monitoring was carried out in the potentially affected villages of Ashta, Kosmaci, Stajkaand, and Mjeda. Sanitary waste was treated through a compact biological wastewater treatment plant.During operations, the Project’s EHSMS includes Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) that set out measures to manage and monitor the various environmental parameters as described below. The monitoring program follows the requirements from the ESIA and for this operational phase of the project and covers, water quality, solid waste and hazardous waste management, fuel consumption, wastewater discharges. Environmental quality monitoring comprises wastewater quality discharged from the wastewater treatment plant and water quality from monitoring wells in villages near the plant. Energji Ashta prepares and submits periodic monitoring reports to the Albanian regulatory authorities as required. These reports contain summaries of monitoring data, discuss and exceedances and non-compliances, and indicate any corrective steps that need to be taken. During current plant operation the quantity and quality of underground water has not been affected and monitoring data indicate compliance with Albanian and MIGA standards. Waste management practices are satisfactory. Waste from the self-cleaning machine (trash-rake) at Ashta 1, is a mixture of agricultural and urban waste including wood, packaging, plastics, furniture and vegetation. This deposited at a designated storage place prior to collection by a licensed contractor for disposal in landfill. Hazardous waste generated by used oils and oil filters from the turbines and other plant equipment is collected and processed by specialist company that is licensed for these wastes. To date there have been no reported environmental incidents, spills, or any fines issued by the regulatory authorities.
PS4: Community Health, Safety and Security
Community Health and Safety:
In addition to providing improved electric supply of households and businesses in the local area, the presence of the Ashta HPP has lowered the costs of building flood and erosion protection infrastructure on the left of the Drin River, from the Spathara weir in the west of the village of Ashta, for more than 6.5km of length (for the villages of Shelqet, Stajke, Kosmac, Ashta). The potential for water overtopping the embankment is low given the height of the channel especially for the surrounding villages. Irrigation supply of water for arable lands in the nearby villages shall continue at 20 m3/s, which is an improvement from earlier schemes.
Energji Ashta developed and has implemented an emergency management plan in collaboration with the concerned local authorities. A World Bank project: “Energy Community of Southeast Europe APL 5 Program – APL 5 for Albania Dam Safety (P110481)”, is currently active. The project consists of physical infrastructure investments and technical assistance to contribute to safeguarding the major hydroelectric dams of Albania. The main focus is on emergency preparedness and alarm systems installation for all Drin Cascade HPPs. It is expected that the systems installed by KESH (which meet the World Bank’s Dam Safety Safeguard) will apply to all HPPs, to ensure community health and safety. Energji Ashta’s construction and current operational management system includes continuous dam safety checks on the existing Spathara reservoir. The National Commission of Large Dams is the national entity responsible for dam safety for the Spathara reservoir facility. Energji Ashta’s operation and maintenance manual is reviewed by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Energy with the Commission’s inputs in order to obtain their approval. The latest dam safety report was issued in March 2020 and concluded that the dams and other facilities are generally in very good condition. There were no significant problems to indicate any imminent threat to safety or operations. There were a few recommendations made for some minor repairs and maintenance that have been and are being implemented.
Preventive public health measures are in place to reduce the risk of infection with COVID-19. These measures are required to be implemented by employees and visitors. Measures include: i) physical distancing always of at least one meter; ii) mandatory use of face coverings/masks; iii) frequent hand washing and use of alcohol-based hand sanitizers; iv) respiratory etiquette involving while coughing/sneezing with a tissue/handkerchief/flexed elbow and disposing off used tissues properly and, v) self-monitoring of health and reporting any illness.
Energji Ashta has implemented a record management system to monitor and control public access into its facilities. Safety induction for all visitors has been implemented to ensure public safety.
Security is provided by a licensed security contractor that has allocated 12 security personnel to cover the Energji Ashta site. Security personnel are required to attended induction health and safety training provided by the Energji Ashta safety officer and thereafter on an annual basis. A security management system in also in place including sensors, cameras, control measures and monitoring systems covering all locations. The security guards have been trained in applicable Project policies and use of force, and there is a code of conduct in place for security guards. Throughout project life there have been no reported incidents involving the public or security guards.
PS5: Land Acquisition and Involuntary Resettlement
The total footprint affected by the Ashta HPP is about 400 ha, of which around half comprised the existing Spathara weir and reservoir, with the remaining half made up of the Drin riverbed and adjacent river slopes. The Project also involved increasing the level of the existing Spathari reservoir by 1.5 m. from 21.5 m above sea level (m.a.s.l.) to 23 m.a.s.l. increasing the inundated area from 170 ha to 180 ha.
Land acquisition for the project was carried out in 2010-2011. The majority of the area affected by the Project was state property (85%), and 13% that belonged to the communes of Bushati and Vau Dejes. The remainder (2% or around 7 ha) were under private ownership, consisting of 45 parcels affected by the increased area of the Spathara reservoir. Of these 45 plots, four were completed under willing-buyer/willing-seller agreements and the remaining 41 parcels were expropriated according to national law and the requirements of PS5, as described below. No physical resettlement was required for the Project and no impacts on livelihoods were identified.
An Expropriation Plan was developed and implemented for the Project. MIGA has reviewed this procedure and process and found it to be in compliance with PS5.
As described under PS1, a grievance mechanism was established and communicated to adjacent communities and stakeholders, also including landowners affected by the Project.
PS6: Biodiversity Conservation and Sustainable Management of Living Natural Resources
The biotic environment of the Shkodra – Buna – Drin system has been significantly altered by past hydropower developments on the Drin River. The presence of the HPPs prior to the Project had a negative impact on the quality and size of habitats, interrupted aquatic migration routes, and led to sedimentation, and erosion. Low biotic activity in the project area has also been attributed to increased human activity. Human pressure has resulted in the destruction of riparian vegetation, unlawful fishing, dumping of urban waste and unlawful extraction of gravel and sands from the Drin riverbed. None of the HPPs or the Sparthara weir provided for migratory fish passes at the time of construction of the Project, which fragmented riverine habitats and fish migration routes. Human activity had substantially modified the area affected by the Project prior to construction, and the area is therefore considered to be modified habitat according to PS6.
Protection and Conservation of Biodiversity
According to the EIA, the Project was expected to lead to increased biological stress in the river (from Spathara weir to the Ashta 2 powerhouse, about 5 km) due to the decrease in water flow in this segment. Mitigation measures included the release of an environmental flow (30m3/s) to support ecological functions and enable fish migration through the segment, as well as the construction of a fish ladder (the first one to be introduced in Albania) at the Spathara weir. This allows for migration of fish from the downstream reaches of the Drin River to the Spathara reservoir and the Gjadri River. Monitoring of the environmental flow releases indicate that it is sufficient in mitigating impact on the segment of the river, and monitoring of the fish ladder show both upstream and downstream migration of primarily carp, true loach, roach, and ray-finned fish species, indicating a positive impact on aquatic biodiversity.
Reforestation activities and habitat rehabilitation measures were implemented to prevent gravel mining activities. About 3.5 ha of native bushes and trees were also planted in accordance to mitigate erosion.
According to the EIA, there is very limited presence of wintering birds mainly at the Spathara reservoir. Only seagulls and cormorants were observed in the project area. This is likely due to human disturbance (hunting), small reservoir size, and better habitat availability elsewhere. The project area is sparsely vegetated. The riverine vegetation includes shrubs and willow and poplar galleries.
In February 2006, the area covered by Lake Shkodra and the Buna River, at the border between Albania and Montenegro, was designated as a Ramsar site. The protected sector covers an area of 23,027 ha; however, this project does not affect the site or any cultural/historic heritage sites. The Lake Shkodra Ecosystem Managed Reserve (Cat. IV IUCN), which is a protected area, lies several miles further west of the project area. Despite the rich biodiversity and high ecological values represented in the extended Drin-Buna-Shkodra Lake ecosystem, the project area has low biodiversity and considered a heavily modified water body according to the Water Framework Directive; 2000/60/EC. In summary, the wider ecosystem and nearby protected areas supports outstanding variety, while the project area has low biotic activity.
The documentation listed below is available electronically as PDF attachments to this ESRS at www.miga.org.
Additional information is also available on the Project website: https://www.energji-ashta.al/
MIGA supports its clients (as defined in MIGA Policy on Environmental and Social Sustainability) in addressing environmental and social issues arising from their business activities by requiring them to set up and administer appropriate grievance mechanisms and/or procedures to address complaints from Affected Communities.
In addition, Affected Communities have unrestricted access to the Compliance Advisor/Ombudsman (CAO), the independent accountability mechanism for MIGA. The CAO is mandated to address complaints from people affected by MIGA-guaranteed business activities in a manner that is fair, objective, and constructive, with the goal of improving environmental and social project outcomes and fostering greater public accountability of MIGA.
Independent of MIGA management and reporting directly to the World Bank Group President, the CAO works to resolve complaints using a flexible, problem-solving approach through its dispute resolution arm and oversees project-level audits of MIGA’s environmental and social performance through its compliance arm.
Complaints may relate to any aspect of MIGA-guaranteed business activities that is within the mandate of the CAO. They can be made by any individual, group, community, entity, or other party affected or likely to be affected by the environmental or social impacts of a MIGA-guaranteed business activity. Complaints can be submitted to the CAO in writing to the address below:
International Finance Corporation
2121 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20433 USA
Tel: 1 202 458 1973
Fax: 1 202 522 7400