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Congo, Democratic Republic of

Nuru Solar-Hybrid Mini Grids

$145.54 million
Renewable Energy
Environmental and Social Review Summary
Proposed

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.

MIGA has been asked to provide a guarantees for a period of up to fifteen years to cover equity, quasi equity and shareholder loans provided by Congo Energy Solutions Limited (CESL) of Mauritius and/ or its subsidiaries and non-shareholder loan investments by lenders yet to be identified, (together the Guarantee Holders or GHs) for the development of the Nuru Solar-Hybrid Mini-Grids Project (collectively Nuru Project, or the Project). The Project includes the following: (i) an existing off-grid 1.3 Megawatt Peak (MWp) facility in Goma with a 29 kilometer (km) transmission and distribution network (Goma 1); and ii) a 55 Kilowatt (kW) pilot project in Beni with an 8 km network. In addition, there are projected off-grid facilities and associated transmission and distribution networks including (i) facility in Bunia with the initial capacity of 10 MWp and a possibility of further expansion; (ii) 2MWp facility in Kindu; and (iii) an additional facility in Goma (3.7MWp, Goma 2). The length of the network for the projected facilities will depend on the number of customers to be connected.

The Project is being developed by Nuru (the Project Enterprise or PE), an off grid/mini grid power developer headquartered in Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and operating within the DRC. The mini-grids use a hybrid technology consisting of solar PV panels, battery storage, and backstop diesel generation. Nuru also owns and operates its transmission line network (from each facility) and its distribution network to customers. These include 11 kilovolts (kV), 33 kV and 66 kV overhead lines.

No construction activities have started in Bunia, Kindu and Goma 2 yet.  However, construction activities will include clearing of the site, transport of equipment on site, installation of photovoltaic solar modules and supporting inverters and transformers, electric meters, technical rooms, access roads, fences and a site security and surveillance system. During the operational phase, activities will be limited to daily monitoring, cleaning of modules as needed, maintenance of vegetation under and between modules, and maintenance of electrical components and the boundary fence.

The Project sites are located as follows:

  • Goma 1 is in the north of Goma, the capital of North Kivu province in eastern DRC. The geographical coordinates are 1°38'30.29"S and 29°11'37.77"E. The site is located within a residential land use area approximately 7 km from the city center and 3.5 km from the shores of Lake Kivu. Surrounding land-use is primarily residential.

 

  • The Beni site is in the northeast of Beni, a city in north-eastern DRC, lying immediately west of the Virunga National Park and the Rwenzori Mountains. The geographical coordinates of the site are 0°30'40.25"N and 29°29'20.95"E. The site is located within a residential land use area approximately 3 km from the city center. Surrounding land-use is primarily residential.

 

  • The Goma 2 is in the west of Goma, the capital of North Kivu province in the eastern DRC. Goma is located on the northern shore of Lake Kivu, next to the Rwandan city of Gisenyi. The geographical coordinates of the site are 1°37'28.20"S and 29°7'59.59"E. The site is located in a peri-urban area approximately 14 km from the city center and 400 m from the shores of Lake Kivu. Small scale agriculture is the primary land use for the surrounding area.

 

  • Kindu site is located in the northwest of Kindu, the capital of the northeastern DRC province of Maniema. The geographical coordinates of the site are 2°56'11.67"S and 25°53'38.91"E. The site is located in a peri-urban area approximately 3,5 km from the city center. Surrounding land-use primarily comprises small scale agriculture and residential.

 

  • Bunia site is in the southeast of Bunia, capital of Ituri Province in the DRC. The city sits 30 km west of Lake Albert and about 25 km east of the Ituri Rainforest. The geographical coordinates of the site are 1°32'1.36"N and 30°16'41.02"E. The site is located in a peri-urban area approximately 5 km from the city center. Surrounding land-use primarily comprises small scale agriculture and residential.

 

More information on the land ownership structure is provided under PS 5: Land Acquisition and Resettlement.

The Project is categorized as Category B according to MIGA’s Policy on Environmental and Social Sustainability (2013) because the potential adverse impacts are site-specific, largely reversible and readily addressed through mitigation measures. Key potential environmental and social (E&S) risks and impacts related to the Project are: economic displacement and livelihood impacts; contextual security risks and risks related to gender-based violence (GBV); labor and community health and safety risks; and the implementation of environmental and social management system (ESMS) and procedures.

While all Performance Standards 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
  • PS7:  Indigenous Peoples

The Project sites are located on heavily modified residential and agricultural land and there are no significant impacts related to biodiversity, thus PS6 Biodiversity Conservation and Sustainable Management of Living Natural Resources does not apply.

No sites of cultural / historical value were identified within the boundaries of the Project area, neither were any resources of heritage value identified. PS 8 Cultural Heritage does therefore not apply; however, a Chance Find Procedure will be developed and implemented under PS1.

In addition, the following World Bank Group Environmental, Health, and Safety (WBG EHS) Guidelines are applicable to the Project:

  • General EHS Guidelines (2007)
  • Sector specific guidelines for Electricity Transmission and Distribution (2007)

The following Guidance Note and Advice may serve as further guidance on E&S risk management

IFC (2020) Interim Advice for IFC Clients on Safe Stakeholder Engagement in the Context of COVID-19.

The following key documents were reviewed by MIGA:

  • Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) Study: Goma 1 Solar Plant and the transmission line. Yes Environmental Group, Jan 2020 (in French).
  • ESIA Study: Kindu Solar Plant . Yes Environmental Group, Mar 2021 (in French).
  • ESIA Study: Kindu 30 kV Distribution Line. Yes Environmental Group, Mar 2021 (in French).
  • ESIA Study: Bunia Solar Plant. Yes Environmental Group, Dec 2020 (in French).
  • ESIA Study: Bunia 30 kV Distribution line. Yes Environmental Group, Feb 2021 (in French).
  • ESIA Study: Goma 2 Solar Plant and 30 kV Distribution Line. Yes Environmental Group, Jun 2020 (in French).
  • Environnmental and Social Due Diligence (ESDD) : Nuru Project. IBIS Consultants, June 2021.
  • Gender Based Violence Risk Assessment: Nuru Project. IBIS Consultants, July 2021.
  • Nuru Environmental and Social Management System Manual, August 2021k
  • Nuru E&S Policy & Procedures Document, Oct 2020.
  • Occupational Safety and Health Guide for Site Operations. April 2020
  • Nuru Sexual Harassment Elimination Policy Jan 2021
  • Land lease agreements (various dates)
  • Nuru E&S Clause for Contractors, Jan 2020
  • Nuru Land Acquisition Process, Nov 2020
  • Nuru Diversity & Inclusion Policy, Jan 2021
  • Nuru Child Protection Policy, Jan 2021 

 

Due to COVID-19 travel restrictions MIGA was not able to visit the Project sites but contracted an international E&S consultant (IESC) in April 2021 to conduct the site visit to Goma 1 and Goma 2. In addition, the IESC prepared an ESDD Report and a Gender Based Violence Risk Assessment and Harassment (GBVH) Report. Due to security restrictions in Bunia, and limited travel options to Kindu, these two sites were visited virtually by using the footage recorded from drone flights. The IBIS site visits also included meetings with the Project personnel (including E&S staff) and affected communities. In addition to reviewing project documentation, MIGA conducted a series of interviews with the Nuru E&S and management teams.

MIGA’s due diligence review considered the environmental and social management planning process and documentation for the Project, and identified gaps 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 and in the Environmental and Social Action Plan (ESAP) attached to this ESRS as Annex 1. Through the implementation of these measures, the Project is expected to be designed and operated in accordance with the Performance Standards.

Key environmental and social (E&S) issues associated with the Project business activities are summarized in the paragraphs that follow.

PS1:  Assessment and Management of Environmental and Social Risks and Impacts

Policy:

Nuru has a set of corporate E&S policies in place, setting out the guiding principles and standards for E&S requirements, applicable to the Project and related infrastructure.  The policies commit Nuru to operate within DRC law, IFC Performance Standards, multiple UN conventions, ILO Labor Standards, European Union Policy on Climate Change, and the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights.

Identification of Risks and Impacts:

For each planned project site (Goma 2, Kindu and Bunia) two separate Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) studies were completed, specifically for: (i) the solar hybrid facility; and (ii) the transmission and distribution network. The ESIA studies were prepared in accordance with national legislation by a local environmental consulting company. The Beni Project, given its size and capacity, did not require an ESIA according to national legislation. The Goma 1 ESIA combined the facility and the distribution line in one document.

The ESIA studies adequately identify the potential risks and impacts of the proposed Project. All of the Projects have received Environmental Certificates (approval of the ESIA) from the Congolese Agency of Environment (ACE).

As mentioned previously, the IESC conducted  a GBV risk assessment,  which contains a review of contextual GBV risks in the areas where Nuru operates, a physical assessment of the Nuru project sites and the Project GBV related management programs to manage internal (own employees) and external (communities) GBV risks including sexual harassment policies, internal and external grievance mechanisms, security management plans and stakeholder engagement. Based on this review MIGA has developed a separate Gender Action Plan which the Project has committed to implement. The action items on GBV were also incorporated into the Project ESAP under the PS 1, PS 2 and PS 4 requirements.

Management Programs:

Each ESIA contains Environmental and Social Management Plans (ESMPs) which include basic actions related to labor, occupational health and safety (OHS), stakeholder engagement, community disease management, emergency response, training, dust, noise, and soil pollution. In addition, Nuru has developed an Environmental and Social Management System (ESMS) Policy Document, which is essentially a draft ESMS Manual as it describes management  commitments, identification of risks, management programs, organizational capacity, monitoring and reporting, stakeholder engagement and emergency response. Also, the Project has various processes in place to manage E&S elements, with some of these being documented (E&S Policies, OHS plans for construction and operations, risk assessments matrices, Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs)).

A review of the above documentation has identified that the ESMPs and ESMS lack consistency and uniformity and do not consider all associated site-specific risks. For example, SOPs for construction primary focus on the construction of the transmission lines but not the construction of the solar photovoltaic (PV) facilities. OHS plans focus on the management aspects (risk assessment, training, inspections) but do not cover specific mitigation measures for the risks associated with the project (excavations, works at height, electric safety etc.).

Nuru will update the existing ESMS, in line with PS 1 requirements which will include Project specific E&S risks register, Construction and Operation Environmental and Social Management Plan, including OHS Management Plan, E&S training program, contractor management procedure (including selection, management program, and monitoring requirements), Emergency Preparedness and Response Plan,  Stakeholder Engagement Plan (SEP), Community Grievance Mechanism, Monitoring Plan, Supply Chain Policy, Waste Management Plan, Air Quality Monitoring and Management Plan, Hazardous Chemical Management Plan, Community Health and Safety Plan and Security Management Plan (as per the ESAP). The requirements of the ESMS will also apply to the selected EPC contractor[1]. Additional information about each element of the ESMS is provided in the relevant sections below.

Organizational Capacity and Competency:

The Nuru E&S Coordinator who was assigned in January 2021 has the overall responsibility of the implementation of the ESMS and related coordination with authorities, contractors, and other stakeholders. The Project will hire an OHS specialist for the Project, to oversee the OHS aspects in construction and operation and provide capacity building (as per the ESAP). In addition, to ensure successful implementation of the SEP and external grievance redress mechanism, the project will hire community liaison officers (CLO) in each city (as per the ESAP).

The Human Resources (HR) department is headed by a HR Manager who is supported in her role by a local HR/Regulatory Manager. To address GBV risks and ensure the successful implementation of the Gender Action Plan, the project will appoint a qualified staff, as per the ESAP.

Nuru employed their own teams of construction workers and technicians when building Goma 1 and Beni facilities. For new facilities, Nuru will select an international EPC contractor who will outsource certain works (e.g.  pole installation, stringing, electrical works etc.) to local sub-contractors. The Project has agreed to update the contractors’ management procedure to include the requirement for the EPC contactor to prepare and submit an ESMP for each site for Nuru’s approval and appoint OHS Officers responsible for overseeing the implementation of the ESMPs, monitoring and inspections, training, and reporting to the Project Company and relevant authorities (as per the ESAP). The OHS Officer shall be suitably qualified and have prior experience in overseeing OHS management in construction projects. The Project will notify MIGA of the appointment and qualifications of the Nuru OHS specialist and EPC HSE Officer prior to the start of construction.

Emergency Preparedness and Response:

Nuru has developed an Emergency Preparedness and Response Plan which includes emergency response protocols for earthquakes, volcano eruption, Ebola, and kidnapping. According to the ESAP, this plan will be updated in line with the requirement of the PS 1. It will be a part of the ESMS including inter alia procedures for responding to fire and explosion, spills, loss of containments of dangerous substances, traffic incidents, safety and security incidents, and malicious acts, as well as additional provisions for COVID-19. The procedures and responsibilities for emergency response actions and communication will be clearly defined and available on each site. 

The plan will include provisions for organization of emergency areas, roles and responsibilities, informing key stakeholders, communication systems, resources, and training and updating. It will also include requirements for periodic tests and exercises to ensure that the necessary response measures are understood by the designated teams, staff, EPC contractor and sub-contractors.

Monitoring and Review:

As part of the ESMS, a monitoring and reporting plan on E&S impacts related to construction will be established and implemented. Monitoring frequencies, methodology and indicators will be reflective of the risks and impacts identified in the ESIA. The EPC contractor will report to Nuru, which will report to authorities as required, disclose monitoring results and provide feedback to affected communities on at least an annual basis in relation to any impacts affecting them and associated mitigation measures. Annual monitoring reports will also be developed and submitted to MIGA.

Stakeholder Engagement

In 2019 and 2020, during the ESIA processes, several community consultation activities were completed with various groups of participants, including local communities and authorities. Stakeholder meetings were held to discuss the Project and to provide an opportunity for the affected communities to raise any concerns. Issues raised during the meetings primarily included gender-inclusive- employment opportunities, the importance of community involvement in the decision-making process and timely distribution of information,  Project contribution to social infrastructure and access to electricity for all groups, pollution mitigation measures and accessibility of the access roads.

For Goma 1 and Goma 2, Nuru has developed a Stakeholder Engagement Plan (SEP) which entails mapping of key stakeholders such as clients/customers, community members and local government officials in Goma. In April of 2021, Nuru established the Nuru Community Ambassadors, a platform of 20 representatives drawn from key stakeholders with a purpose to discuss stakeholder concerns. Ten members of the committee are stakeholders drawn from Nuru’s client base while 10 are drawn from the two main communities who reside near Goma 1 and Goma 2 sites – Ndosho and Nyiragongo. Nuru Community Ambassadors model will be replicated in Bunia and Kindu sites. As per the ESAP, the SEP will be updated and implemented at each site as part of the ESMS and in line with MIGA PS1, building on the engagement undertaken as part of the ESIA and the Ambassadors platform. The SEP will include procedures information sharing between the Project and affected parties, criteria for memberships, roles and responsibilities of the Nuru Community Ambassadors and the CLOs. The SEP will cover both construction and operations phases. The implications of COVID-19 should be taken fully into account in the SEP and measures to undertake engagement where face-to-face options are not available identified.

External Communication and Grievance Mechanisms:

Nuru has developed an external grievance mechanism in March 2021 that is referred to as a Community Grievance Mechanism. This mechanism is focused on operations at Goma 1. The mechanism has established Claims Response Committees that will be composed of members of Nuru management, representatives from Nyumba-Kumi (an informal village-based security platform), and the district and local chiefs. The grievance mechanism provides for a four-step reporting/escalation process but does not currently include the grievance resolution process or record reported grievances. The Nuru Community Grievance Mechanism is currently focusing on customer complaints rather than general grievances that communities may have (land acquisition, security risks etc.).

As per the ESAP, the Community Grievance Mechanism will be updated in line with PS 1 requirements with the objective of providing a channel for people and communities affected by the Project to voice their concerns effectively and transparently. This includes the dissemination of information about the grievance mechanism to communities, recording any stakeholder comments or complaints and ensuring that they are passed on to the relevant party for response and resolution as soon as practicable. The grievance mechanism will also allow receiving, addressing, and recording/documenting complaints and communications from external stakeholders on project-related sexual harassment and gender-based violence. In such cases the mechanism will ensure that confidentiality of the persons raising the complaint is protected and that they are able to make report using different communication channels (anonymous, verbal, face-to-face, written etc.) and have access to support services (e.g. medical and psycho-social facilities in the areas to address GBV concerns, women support groups and NGO’s).

PS2:  Labor and Working Conditions

Nuru has a workforce of 87 individuals of which 20 are women. Construction staff will be employed from the local labor force; therefore, worker’s accommodation will not be required. Construction works at Goma 2 and Kindu will require about 40 jobs, whereas Bunia will need around 110 workers for up to 6 months. During the operations each plant will involve about 5 to 10 full-time workers.

A local recruitment will be done through the local hiring agencies in each city with the help of the local offices of employment (ONEM). As per the ESAP,  Nuru will develop a Terms of Reference (ToR) for the local hiring companies to ensure  compliance with the Congolese legislation and requirements of PS 2 during the recruitment process and fair distribution of labor requests between the local villages, affected communities and local sub-contractors. The hiring agencies will also administer training programs and advertisement of employment and business opportunities. Recruitment at the entrance of, or close to the project site, will not be permitted. 

Working Conditions and Management of Worker Relationship:

Nuru developed and is currently implementing a HR Rules and Regulations Handbook (2019). The HR Handbook was developed in line with Congolese legislation and contains provisions for the annual and maternity leave, regular working hours, employees right and responsibilities, internal grievance procedure and occupational health and safety.  Nuru disseminates the HR policies and procedures via employee engagement sessions which are held twice a month. Nuru will update the HR handbook in line with the DRC Labor Code and the requirements of PS 2 to include, among other things, policies for recruitment including types of contracts, promotion and career management, minimum wage and overtime, non-discrimination and equal opportunity, grievance mechanism, prohibition of child and forced labor, freedom of association, as well as retrenchment policy (as per the ESAP).

Nuru has developed an Anti-Harassment Policy January 2021. The Policy contains clear definitions on verbal harassment, written harassment and sexual harassment. The Policy also includes a procedure to file complaints. As per the ESAP, the Project will update an Anti-Harassment Policy to ensure that it explains how the GBV incidents are reported, investigated and recorded, as well as disciplinary measures for alleged perpetrators. Nuru will also develop a training plan to include periodical training on GBV for Nuru staff.

Grievance mechanism

Nuru has developed an informal mechanism for employees to share complaints and concerns with the management by means of using suggestion boxes and speaking directly to supervisors. As per the ESAP, Nuru will develop a formal internal grievance redress mechanism (GRM) that will clearly describe the grievance resolution process and assign responsibilities for grievance redress. The internal GRM will also account for GBV risks and will include the ability to make report anonymously, ability to make report using different communication channels (verbal, face-to-face, written etc.),  guarantee of confidentiality, secure management of information relating to a report, access for the complainant to support services, a transparent investigation and a guarantee that the complainant and the accused will never be required to discuss the complaint in the same room at the same time (as per ESAP).

Occupational Health and Safety:

Nuru has developed an Occupational Health and Safety Policy for Construction. The document indicates that personnel may be exposed to a variety of chemical, physical, and electrical hazards resulting from task or equipment-specific activities. The Policy, however, does not include any preventative measures for potentially hazardous activities. The training plan on OHS aspects is also missing.

As for the sites that are currently in operation (Goma 1 and Beni), Nuru uses Occupational Health and Safety Guidelines for Operations that are a generic set of OHS rules applicable to solar facilities but may miss the risks pertinent specifically to Nuru sites. They also do not include any guidelines for risk assessments or hazard identification during the operations phase.   

As referenced earlier under PS 1, as a part of ESMS, Nuru will develop and implement a Construction and Operation ESMP, including OHS Management Plan and E&S training program which will include OHS aspects. This will include organization, identification of risks and prevention measures, scheduling of meetings and trainings, permit-to-work procedure, and medical check-ups. It will also include a procedure for managing hazardous substances such as diesel fuel and lubrication materials.

Supply Chain

Nuru has developed a Procurement Policy (April 2021) which states that no supplier or contractor in the supply chain may at any point in its supply chain use any form of forced or compulsory labour and/or harmful child labour. As per the ESAP, Nuru will update the Procurement Policy in line with PS requirements to ensure that suppliers and service providers are screened against the risks of forced and child labor and that the on-going monitoring provisions are in place. As indicated in PS 1, the Policy will be a part of the ESMS and will be also followed by the EPC contractor

PS3:  Resource Efficiency and Pollution Prevention

Resource Efficiency:

At facilities that are already in operation (Goma 1 and Beni): Water is required for office needs and panel cleaning. Typically, panel cleaning is conducted manually and takes place every 3-4 weeks. Water is supplied by the municipal water supply network and the approximate water usage for both sites is around 20 m3 per month.

During construction, water will be primarily required for building foundations for the solar plant, as well as for sanitary purposes and dust control. A total of around 50 m3 of water will be required for construction purposes at each site (for concrete preparation, equipment washing and sanitary use, etc.).

Greenhouse Gases

Each powerplant will be equipped with a set of one or more back-up diesel generator sets (gensets), including one 455 kilovolt-ampere (kVa) genset at Goma 2, 1000 kVa, 500 kVa and 250 kVa gensets at Kindu, and several gensets with a cumulative power rating of 9800 kVa at Bunia. Existing plants, Goma 1 and Beni, have one genset each with the power rating of 455 kVa and 66 kVa respectively. The operation of these gensets will result in emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2), nitrogen oxide (NOx), and particulate matter. Though these emissions are not considered substantial and are expected to be below 25,000 tonnes of CO 2 equivalent annually, Nuru will develop an Air Quality Monitoring and Management Plan (as per the ESAP) and will include the emissions data in the Annual Monitoring Report submitted to MIGA. These generators will be operated and maintained in line with the equipment manufacturer specifications, the WBG EHS Guidelines and the requirements of PS 3.

According to MIGA analysis, the Project will lead to greenhouse gas emissions reductions equivalent to approximately 18-25,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide per year.  

Pollution Prevention:

The ESIA studies for Nuru sites have concluded that air, water and soil pollution during construction and operation is expected to be minor and can be easily controlled through successful implementation of the pollution prevention measures. The pollution prevention measures indicated in the ESIAs include the use of proper equipment, vehicle and roads maintenance, timely dust suppression measures, speed restriction, etc.

Wastewater will be minimal during the construction of the Bunia, Kindu, and Goma 2 plants. Wastewater from construction activities will include temporary sanitary facilities, stormwater and drainage over potentially contaminated areas (e.g., concrete batching/ mixing areas and equipment storing areas). As per the ESAP, Nuru will develop a stormwater management plan which will be a part of the ESMS.

According to the ESIA, construction waste will primarily consist of wood residues, pallets and packaging material, metal scraps, and domestic waste. The main source of air emissions during the construction phase relates to dust emissions as a result of vegetation clearance, earthmoving equipment and the transportation of building materials, construction equipment, transformers, cables, solar panels etc.

During operations, wastewater will comprise of on-site sanitary facilities and run off from panel cleaning activities. Sanitary facilities at the existing sites (Goma 1 and Beni) are connected to on-site septic tanks which are serviced by a certified contractor. The amount of water used for cleaning is insignificant and is drained directly to the ground. As no sewage collection network is expected at any of the sites, a septic system will be used, designed and installed in accordance with local regulations and the WBG EHS Guidelines to prevent any hazards to public health or contamination of land, surface or groundwater.

During operations, waste will be mostly generated at the offices, along with mineral oil from transformers, and sanitary effluents. A Waste Management Procedure will be developed as part of the ESMS (as per the ESAP), including characterization of waste by type, quantities, and potential use; opportunities for source reduction, as well as reuse and recycling; procedures and operational controls for onsite storage; and final disposal. This plan will also include the suggested manufacturer’s recycling plans (e.g. Tesla batteries)

Mineral insulating oils will be used to cool transformers in operations phase. In addition, diesel fuel used for back up diesel generators will be stored at each site. These materials will be handled by trained personnel to ensure that manufacturers’ recommendations are strictly followed. Provision of secondary containment, drip trays or other overflow and spill containment measures will be implemented in designated areas. Vegetation control will be carried out manually without any pesticide use. Hazardous material will also include broken solar panels. As a part of the ESMS, Nuru will develop a Hazardous Substance Management Plan (as per the ESAP).  The waste management system described above will include used hazardous materials and will address issues linked to waste minimization, generation, transport, disposal, and monitoring.

Decommissioning and rehabilitation plans will be developed prior to decommissioning the solar plants and associated infrastructure. Such plans will include, but will not be limited to, management of socio-economic aspects such as employment loss, removal, re-use and recycling of materials and vegetative rehabilitation to prevent erosion.

PS4:  Community Health, Safety and Security

Community Health and Safety  

Goma 1 is located in the northern part of the city of Goma in a densely populated area and is surrounded by residential buildings. The Beni site is located in the northeast of Beni, a city in north-eastern DRC at the immediate proximity to residential buildings. The surrounding land-use in Beni is primarily residential. Goma 2 will be located in a sparsely populated peri-urban area approximately 14 km from the Goma city center, and 200 m from the closest residential building and 400 m from the shores of Lake Kivu. Small scale agriculture is the primary land use in the surrounding area in Goma. The Kindu site is located in a peri-urban area approximately 3,5 km from the city center. Surrounding land-use primarily comprises small scale agriculture and residential. The closest residential building is about 50 m from the project site. Finally, the Bunia site is located in a peri-urban area approximately 5 km from the city center of Bunia, the capital of Ituri province. The closest residential community is around 50 m from the site boundaries.

An increase in traffic is the primary potential adverse community health & safety impact associated with the construction phase. A Traffic Management Plan will be developed and implemented as part of the ESMS, including training & certification, vehicle safety procedures, signage, and awareness campaigns in affected communities (as per the ESAP).

Community impacts related to in-migration are expected to be low as most of the construction workforce will be recruited locally and no construction camps/worker accommodation will be established. The duration of construction works at each site will not exceed 6 months. The HR policy will include provisions prohibiting the use of day-laborers and recruitment at the site, and the communication of qualified job opportunities on a national level.

As discussed under PS 3, the quantities of hazardous materials are limited, and the materials are managed in a suitable manner to avoid community exposure to these materials.

During construction at Bunia, Kindu and Goma 2, the community exposure to disease around the plants is limited as the sites are located in sparsely populated areas and no construction camps will be established. The Project will be implementing worker’s health programs to screen the health of workers, and a Communicable Diseases Awareness Campaign (including COVID-19) will be implemented in the communities surrounding the projects as part of the ESMP. Nuru will develop a Code of Conduct to be followed by its own employees, EPC contractor and sub -contractors to cover rules of interaction with local communities, addressing respect for local beliefs and customs and with special attention for risks related to sexual harassment, GBV and prostitution (as per the ESAP).  

As indicated under PS 1, the Project will update and implement an Emergency Preparedness and Response Plan which covers the procedures for informing stakeholders and responding to emergencies.

Security Personnel:

Site security at Goma 1 and Beni is managed by a private security firm. The private security guards are supported in their role by the officers from the Congolese National Police (PNC), which is common practice in DRC. To ensure that the security contractor and the supporting PNC officers operate in a manner which meets the requirements of local regulations and PS 4, Nuru will develop a Security Management Plan to include: i) screening of security contractors for past involvement in crimes/ abuses related to sexual harassment and GBV; ii) training of security personnel on the company anti-harassment policy and the Code of Conduct requirements; iii) the roles and responsibilities of security staff in grievance redress; iv) training of security personnel in human rights (including combatting GBV; v) rules of engagement and use of force, and; vi) responsibilities of Nuru staff and resources, such as dedicated personnel to oversee the management of security at Nuru and its sites (as per the ESAP).

Goma 1 and Beni are fenced to prevent public and animal access to the solar plants. New plants will follow the same practice.

PS5:  Land Acquisition and Involuntary Resettlement

To guide the land acquisition process, Nuru has developed a Land Acquisition Procedure (undated) which provides for the steps to be taken by the Company before acquiring land. These include carrying out site visits and conducting a land assessment, securing a letter of intent with the landlord, carrying out legal due diligence, and drawing up contracts for land acquisition. Site visits and land assessment include, among other things, visual inspection of sites for key biodiversity areas and protected species; conflict of land use; agricultural land for subsistence farming; evidence of dumping, or significant levels of debris;  physical structures;  documented aesthetic or communal value,  archaeological sites / ruins / artifacts; and native/indigenous heritage significance. The Land Acquisition Procedure does not currently account for transmission and distribution lines.  As per the ESAP, Nuru will update its Land Acquisition Procedure in accordance with MIGA PS 5 and Congolese legislation to include a formal procedure for social baseline surveys covering such aspects as disturbance and displacement of project affected persons, including economic displacement, identification of vulnerable individuals and groups, procedure of compensation and livelihood restoration. It will also account for transmission and distribution lines and procedures for compensation in cases of temporary loss of access to public roads or temporary closure of  local businesses including potential rehabilitation of structures or land (as per ESAP).

Based on the available documentation Goma 1 site is located on the land that Nuru leased from the local NGO for the duration of 10 years with a possibility of prolongation. The site size is 2.6 hectares (ha). The IESC due diligence has confirmed that prior to the construction of the solar plant the site was free of physical structures or agriculture activities.

The Beni site was constructed in 2017 as a pilot project for Nuru. Based on the available documentation, the land belongs to several individuals and it was leased for 10 years from them. The size of the plot is 0.16 ha. The site was free of physical structures before construction.

Nuru is in the process of acquiring three parcels of land for the new developments including i) Goma 2 which is approximately 4.5 ha and reportedly owned by several individuals; ii) Bunia site which is approximately 25 ha and owned by a logistics company; and iii) Kindu site which is approximately 7.5 ha and owned by an NGO and a private individual. Reportedly, these plots will be leased with a subsequent possibility of purchasing the land. The purchase will be based on the principles of willing buyer – willing seller.

At Goma 2 during the physical assessment of the site the IESC observed that there are no physical structures, however there are communities farming on this parcel of land. Interviews with the caretaker confirmed that there are 27 individuals (mostly women) who have been allowed to use a part of the land with the knowledge of the owner to farm crops such as maize, beans, and cassava. The individuals do not have documented title deeds or lease agreements and are not required to pay for the use of the land. The IESC was informed that the reason such practices are encouraged in the area is to “secure” the land and ensure no one else occupies it illegally. During the interviews these farmers noted that they fled the conflict in North Kivu Province of DRC and settled in the area where Goma 2 will be located.

Based on the virtual site visit and information provided by Nuru, there are no physical structures at Kindu site. Nevertheless, similar to Goma 2, there are 21 informal land users who are farming the land with the knowledge of the owners, supposedly not as part of their livelihoods, but rather for vegetation control and security reasons (i.e. to prevent illegal occupation by others).

The 25 ha Bunia plant will be located within a 110-ha privately-owned concession area. No physical structures, agriculture or any other economic activity was identified by IBIS at the project site. Nevertheless, it was noted that there is unpaved access road used by villagers within the Nuru project site. In addition, within the 110-ha concession there is an area informally (without any legal permits) used by the local population to mine sand for non-commercial domestic purposes. There is also a football field used by the villagers. Nuru does not intend to buy or build on any portion of land that is currently in use for sand mining or recreation.

The extent of the transmission and distribution network is based on the number and the location of the connected customers. When land is required for the purpose of the installation of transformers or the erection of poles for low and medium voltage above ground powerlines, the footprint is small and therefore unlikely to result in any significant economic displacement. Based on the available information the existing transmission and distribution network connecting Goma 1 and Beni sites is either located at the public land within the existing infrastructure right of ways, or Nuru have entered into lease agreements with the landowners for such land access. The same principle will apply in the planned projects. Moreover, it is envisaged that poles will be micro sited to avoid physical displacement.

In addition to updating the Land Acquisition Procedure, Nuru will develop Livelihood Restoration Plans (LRPs) for Goma 2, Bunia and Kindu in line with Congolese Legislation and MIGA PS 5 requirements. These LRPs will include socio- economic baseline which will identify the vulnerable groups and project impacts on their income and livelihoods, as well as community access to natural resources (e.g. sand mine at Kindu),  provisions for compensation for lost assets other than land (such as crops, irrigation infrastructure and other improvements made to the land), and re-establishment of access to communal roads and natural resources for affected communities. The LRPs will also include timeframe for implementation, organizational capacity, monitoring, evaluation, and reporting; and budget and resources (as per the ESAP).

The Project will also include identification of vulnerable groups, community support programs in line with the SEP, and a grievance mechanism. The grievance mechanism will be implemented as part of the ESMS (see under PS1) and will be available for resolution of issues related to land acquisition.

PS7: Indigenous Peoples

As mentioned previously, there are 27 people who informally cultivate the land at Goma 2 site. Based on the interviews during the site visit, these people may belong to Baka, Mbuti or Twa ethnic groups, who have been classified as indigenous peoples by the International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs (IWGIA). As noted above these people were internally displaced from the North Kivu Province of DRC. Nuru will contract a local NGO to conduct a survey to establish their affiliation with Baka, Mbuti or Twa and potential vulnerabilities of this group (as per the ESAP).

As specified above, the land currently belongs to private individuals who temporarily allowed these 27 people to grow crops on their land. Thus, the Project will not result in: (i) impacts on lands and natural resources subject to traditional ownership or under customary use; (ii) relocation of indigenous peoples from lands and natural resources subject to traditional ownership or under customary use; and (iii) impact on critical cultural heritage. However, Nuru will ensure that the stakeholder engagement process includes consultation with Baka, Mbuti or Twa, if such are identified as a result of the survey, and that appropriate mitigation measures are carried out throughout the LRP, as well as during the implementation of the Project (as per the ESAP). The CLOs hired by Nuru will manage this stakeholder engagement process to also ensure that cultural values and norms are respected throughout the Project cycle. In addition, Nuru will involve the specialists from the international NGO’s who are based in Goma and whose work is focused on internally displaced people and indigenous peoples, to help with establishing a socio-economic baseline and developing mitigation measures (as per the ESAP).

 

[1] EPC contractor was not appointed at the time of the ESRS disclosure.

Broad Community Support is not applicable for this project.

 

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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:

 

Compliance Advisor/Ombudsman
International Finance Corporation
2121 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Room F11K-232
Washington, DC 20433 USA
Tel: 1 202 458 1973
Fax: 1 202 522 7400
E-mail:
cao-compliance@ifc.org