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Environmental and Social activities

The Environment and Social Management (ESM) program comprises all social and environmental mitigation measures – external to the construction areas - for the Devoll Hydropower Project

These measures are implemented in parallel with the implementation and operation of Banja HPP and Moglicë HPP.

The development of the detailed ESM program follows an in-depth analysis carried out during Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) conducted for the Devoll Hydropower Project by a group of international and local experts.

ESM is composed of three key pillars, Environment, Resettlement and Social Development bound together in close cooperation and with the active engagement from relevant local and national Stakeholders.

The program is implemented through parameters established within the publicly disclosed Environmental and Social Management Plan.  Here, Statkraft’s commitments to the environment, project affected households and persons in relation to mitigating project impacts and promoting project development opportunities in the Devoll Valley are clearly defined. This plan has been publicly disclosed since October 2013 and is accessible through the DHP website and DHP Public Information Offices in the project area.

            •Click to download: Environment and Social Management Plan

The ESM program aims to comply with International Finance Corporation (IFC) Performance Standards on Environmental and Social Sustainability. The purpose is toward ensuring that the ESM programs are implemented in a way that all project affected households and communities have restored or preferably improved living standards as a result of the project and as a consequence become project beneficiaries.

ESM goals:

  • Identify, minimize, mitigate and monitor environment and social project impacts and stimulate sustainable development opportunities.
  • Assist displaced people to improve their livelihood and standard of living or at least to restore them to pre-project levels.
  • Conduct environmental mitigation measures to minimize project impacts on the natural environment and develop environmental infrastructure services to avoid negative effects to both the project and its key stakeholders.

 

Stakeholder Engagement

The engagement with the relevant stakeholders is a cornerstone of the environmental and social program and a key aspect of the development and implementation of activities.

Statkraft in Albania, through its employees, contractors and actions considers itself to be an integral part of the communities in which it operates and is therefore always committed to the provision of information to all interested parties. Transparency and information dissemination are considered essential part of the project processes and a key to its success.

Statkraft strives to provide timely and up to date information to stakeholders and other interested parties in the frame of the established Stakeholder Engagement practices.

To inform, engage and adapt, Statkraft:

  • Organises regular Informative Round Table Meetings and dedicated consultation meetings with local stakeholders and authorities
  • Conducts regular Community Meetings and consultations within the project area in order to engage and inform the affected communities at their living place which ensures a higher participation and information dissemination
  • Presents and discusses main development documents with the affected community at Public Hearings
  • Operates Public Information Offices in Banjë and Moglicë
  • Operates a Grievance Redress Mechanism to address presented grievances and complaints related with the project and its operations
  • Regularly updates the DHP website to provide up-to-date information.
  • Publishes information materials related to project activities in brochures and leaflets which are available at the Public Information Offices

 

 

Resettlement

The implementation of Devoll Hydropower Project has required the acquisition of land and other assets within the project area. In order to mitigate the effects of these losses on the local communities, Statkraft is implementing, by its own accord, the Resettlement program which is established in addition to the legally required expropriation process in order to adhere to higher international standards

The Concession Agreement for Devoll Hydropower Project assigns the legal responsibility for resettlement, meaning ownership takeover and compensation of the private owned assets affected by the project to the Government of Albania.

While there is no legal responsibility required from Statkraft to carry out these activities, as part of Statkraft’s commitment in all its international projects, the program is developed to assist the affected households who are interested in continuing or improving their income generating activities in the project area.

The Resettlement program developed for the Devoll Hydropower Project includes:

  • Physical relocation and compensation for used permanent structures on the affected land
  • Economic rehabilitation of displaced households through support towards re-establishing lost production from land loss, to improve (or at least restore) income and standard of living for those who are interested to join the established programs

This program covers impacts on project construction land areas used for the main civil works, contractor camps as well as the entire reservoir and buffer area.

The mitigation measures are identified and implemented in close cooperation with respective stakeholders. The Resettlement program is a participatory program, whereby the Project Affected Households (PAHs) are consulted and engaged in the planning and decision making related to the provision of support they are eligible for from Statkraft. 

This is a voluntary process and only the PAHs that are eligible and willing to participate in this program have been considered for assistance.  A key requirement is the involvement of PAHs at all stages, and their active participation to ensure that there is a true ownership in all activities developed.

Replacement Household Infrastructure
Statkraft is supporting the PAHs that utilize residential and other structures that are affected by the project. The residential structures are compensated based on a replacement of the affected residence. In this regard, Statkraft has constructed more than 50 replacement residences in the project area for the impacted households.

The other used permanent structures (animal shelters, garage, and used buildings) are compensated based on a fixed value per square meter to assist with the relocation, small damages during transport and reconstruction at another location.

 

Livelihood Support and Development
The Livelihood Support and Development component aims to support incomes and living standards of current users of the land (irrespective of formal land tenure) who have their livelihoods significantly affected due to the project (>10% of income generating assets),  based on the information gathered during the socio-economic inventory.

It is important to note that the supplementary support provided through the Livelihood Support and Development program is provided through in-kind support towards income generating activities (agriculture, livestock, business and other) with the active involvement of PAHs and not through direct cash compensation. Support is tailored to their capacities, needs, interests and actual losses.

 

Social Development

The Social Development program is composed of mitigation activities and other complimentary interventions to support the local affected communities. Its aim is to minimize both resettlement as well as environmental impacts from the project through a wide range of activities targeted towards public institutions and project affected communities as a whole.

This program is implemented in close cooperation with the respective stakeholders affected by these activities and is composed of several components, such as:

  • Infrastructure Development
  • Health
  • Education

The program is mainly focused in the development of public infrastructure solutions that in addition to mitigation the project impacts are serving a larger area and more communities.  The impact of these interventions serve a greater good and assist the improvement of the living standards of the community as a whole.

In the frame of this program more than 25 Km of roads are constructed and upgraded.  In addition, various other public infrastructure assets in the project area have also been improved.

As part of this program, Statkraft has continuously supported capacity building aimed towards both Government and the local population to increase the knowledge and skills by working hand in hand with the local counterparts in both the development and implementation of all its activities.

Awareness Campaigns and promotional initiatives to increase the understanding of issues related to environmental sustainability, health, hygiene and sanitation have been carried out and are expected to continue as part of a behaviour change and life skills improvement strategy moving forward.

Social Development program has dealt also with Physical Cultural Resources, ensuring that items of cultural, religious or archaeological value are addressed in the most appropriate manner in line with the local tradition/government requirement.

 

Environmental Program

The Environmental program comprises mitigation measures to minimize project impacts on the natural environment, development of environmental infrastructure services to avoid negative effects to both the project and its key stakeholders and monitoring of environmental parameters.

Due to the internal distribution of responsibilities with the Statkraft Albania organization, the ESM program is limited to the area beyond those covered by the construction activities which are the responsibility of the Project’s Health, Safety, Security and Environment unit. This program is implemented in parallel with the Environmental program for construction activities of the project structures which are covered through various Environmental Management Plans which are guided through the requirements established in the contractor/construction tender documentation.

The Environment program includes activities on development of environmental infrastructure, water quality monitoring, reservoir area clearance and afforestation. Aquatic biology monitoring is also implemented to identify new successions due to reservoir creation and in the downstream areas.

Main environmental impacts

  • Change in the hydrological regime. This will be mitigated with minimum flow releases.
  • The creation of reservoirs will also turn previous rivers into lake environments and this will have implications of the water quality.
  • Loss of over 800Ha of sparsely forested areas

Detailed mitigation measures are focus on:

  • Reforestation
  • Water quality monitoring
  • Sewage and wastewater treatment facility

On issues such as waste water treatment, Statkraft's involvement has been through provision of supplementary support through the construction of environmental infrastructure and the development of a tariff scheme in order to enable a cost recovery for the operations and maintenance services. In this regard, Statkraft has supported Gramsh Municipality through the development and financing of detailed studies on the current sewage system which resulted in the financing of a Waste Water Treatment Plant for the town of Gramsh.

In the frame of the Afforestation component of the Environmental Program in the Banja HPP area are afforested 276 Ha. In Moglicë HPP area are being afforested 541 Ha.  A high percentage of these areas are developed as ‘social forests’ in order to support adjacent communities through increased access to productive fruit-trees.