CAO Cases

Arne Hoel, The World Bank

South Asia

India / Vizhinjam-02/Kerala

Complainant
Kerala Swathantra Malsya Thozhilali Federation (Kerala Independent Fish Workers Federation)
Date Filed
September 23, 2012
Concerns
Impacts to marine biodiversity, loss of livelihood, possible displacement of local fishing community members, project benefits
Case Status
Open - Compliance
 

Synopsis

Complaint

 

Vizhinjam International Seaport Limited (VISL), a special purpose government company fully owned by the State Government of Kerala (GoK), is developing a multi-purpose seaport at Vizhinjam, 16km south of the state capital, Trivandrum (Thiruvananthapuram). IFC has been hired as the Transaction Advisor to strategically assist VISL in structuring and implementing the project; and seeking private sector partner(s) to implement the plan in collaboration with the State Government Ports Department. IFC is managing roughly $1.6 million in trust funds for the project.

 

In September 2012, a complaint was filed by a local community fishing group, Kerala Swathantra Malsya Thozhilali Federation (Kerala Independent Fish Workers Federation). The complainant raises concerns about negative impacts of the proposed port project, such as pollution from port operations, damage to marine biodiversity, possible displacement of fisherman and their families from the area, and loss of livelihood for fishing communities within the vicinity of the project site. In addition, the complainant is asking for information regarding project benefits for the fishing community members, especially employment opportunities.  This is the second complaint received by the CAO relating to the Vizhinjam port project.

 

 

CAO Action

 

The CAO found the complaint eligible in October 2012 and initiated an assessment of the issues. After discussions and consultations with the CAO team, VISL declined to resolve the complaint issues under the auspices of CAO’s Dispute Resolution function, stating that they were fully aware of the needs of fisher folk and were putting in efforts to address these through their own channels. Therefore, the complaint has been transferred to CAO’s compliance function for appraisal, per CAO Operational Guidelines. The complainants requested CAO to note that they were willing to engage with VISL to address the complaint issues in a collaborative manner through CAO’s Dispute Resolution function.

 

In June 2015, CAO completed a compliance appraisal with regard to the Vizhinjam 01, 02 and 03 complaints. On the basis of this compliance appraisal, CAO opened a compliance investigation into IFC's Advisory Services project with Vizhinjam International Seaport Ltd. The CAO investigation assesses whether IFC prepared and implemented the project in accordance with its policies and procedures.

 

CAO completed its joint compliance investigation for the Vizhinjam 01, 02 and 03 complaints in January 2018. The compliance investigation report makes two broad non-compliance findings in relation to IFC’s involvement in the project:


1. IFC took on the role of lead transaction advisor in relation to the Kerala Port project without a reasonable assurance of the client’s commitment to develop the project in accordance with the Performance Standards; and


2. The Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) as delivered by IFC was not fully consistent with the Performance Standards, particularly in relation to land acquisition and project impacts on livelihoods.

 

CAO’s compliance investigation report further makes a number of specific findings regarding IFC Advisory Services.

 

CAO finds that IFC staff were aware that the client intended to proceed with land acquisition in a way that was inconsistent with the requirements of Performance Standard (PS) 5 on land resettlement, yet IFC did not advise the client to suspend its ongoing land acquisition activities until the ESIA and other required plans had been completed.

 

CAO finds that IFC agreed to a narrowing of its environmental and social (E&S) mandate over the period of the project, such that IFC finally oversaw only one component of the project ESIA—an assessment of marine-side port facilities that excluded land-based infrastructure such as road, rail and back-up facilities. This change of scope meant that IFC did not have assurance that impacts on land or cumulative impacts arising from the project were being addressed in accordance with IFC’s E&S requirements.

 

CAO finds that the marine-side ESIA delivered by IFC to its client lacked certain essential components of an ESIA for a major infrastructure project at the relevant stage of development. In particular, CAO finds that the IFC ESIA lacked adequate socio-economic baseline information on tourism based livelihoods, an assessment of project impacts on tourism based livelihoods and livelihood restoration plans for project impacts on tourism and fisheries as required by PS1 (risk management) and PS5 (land resettlement). CAO also finds that the IFC ESIA did not go through a process of consultation and participation, or disclosure as required by PS1.

 

CAO sees instances of non-compliance in this case arising primarily from: (a) a lack of structured assessment of the client’s commitment to the Performance Standards as a framework for the development of the port; and (b) an underestimation by IFC of the complexity of producing an ESIA for the project compliant with the Performance Standards.

 

All documents relating to this case are available under "View Documents" below.

 

 

Status

 

In accordance with CAO's Operational Guidelines, this case will remain open as CAO monitors IFC's response to the findings.

 

 

Status as of March 06, 2018

Project information

Institution
IFC
Project Name & Number
Kerala Port, Vizhinjam 28991
Company
Vizhinjam International Seaport Limited (VISL)
Sector
Port and Harbor Operations
Region
South Asia
Country
India
Environmental Category
N/A
Commitment
N/A

Case Tracker

Ombudsman

  • Eligible: Completed
  • Assessment Period: Transferred

Compliance

  • Under Appraisal: Completed
  • Under Audit: Completed
  • Monitoring: In Process

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