MISSION 15 of 2010
Name of Mission: Assessment of the Medupi Power Station for groundWork and the World Bank
Date of Mission: 11th May 2010
Aircraft used: Cessna Grand Caravan
Beneficiary: groundWork and the World Bank Inspection Panel
Pilots: Eddie Keizan and Justin Bass
Report from the beneficiaries : By RICO EURIPIDOU and the WB INSPECTION PANEL
Passengers: Roberto Lenton (Chairperson, Inspection Panel, World Bank); Peter Lallas (Executive Secretary, Inspection Panel, World Bank); Mishka Zaman (Operations Officer, Inspection Panel, World Bank); Rico Euripidou (groundWork), Makoma Lekalakala (Earthlife Africa) and Francois van den Berg (Farmer)
Name of Mission: World Bank (WB) Inspection Panel Eligibility Visit of WB-financed Eskom Investment Support Project (EISP) for construction of the 4800 MW Medupi coal-fired power plant near Lephalale in the Limpopo Province of South Africa.
Objective of the Flight:
To acquire an aerial view of the World Bank-funded Eskom Medupi power station (EISP) Project Area, to better understand the environmental and social impacts of this project.
Report from the World Bank Inspection Panel:
The Inspection Panel was established in September 1993 by the World Bank Board of Directors as an independent accountability mechanism of the World Bank. The three-member Panel provides a forum for people who believe they may be adversely affected by Bank-financed operations and enables them to bring their concerns to the highest decision-making levels of the World Bank. It is a non-judicial, fact-finding body that acts independently, impartially, and objectively in determining whether the Bank is complying with its own policies and procedures, which are designed to ensure that Bank-financed operations provide social and environmental benefits and avoid harm to people and the environment. The Panel reports its findings to the Bank’s Board of Executive Directors which then decides future actions.
On April 6, 2010, the Inspection Panel received a Request for Inspection related to the Eskom Investment Support Project in South Africa. The Request was submitted by groundWork and Earthlife Africa, two NGOs from South Africa, on behalf of representatives of community members in the Project area. An Inspection Panel team went to South Africa from May 10-14, to gather information which would help in ascertaining the eligibility of the Request. The visit provided an opportunity for the team to meet with different stakeholders associated with the Project and to be briefed by them about the Project.One of the truly informative aspects of the Panel’s visit was the flight over the Project area courtesy of The Bateleurs and facilitated by groundWork South Africa. The flight provided an opportunity for the Panel team to familiarise itself with the landscape and provide a perspective on the Project area in a timeframe that would have been impossible if it had had to be done on ground.
The Inspection Panel would like to thank The Bateleurs and groundWork South Africa for organising this flight.
The Panel’s Eligibility Report, together with World Bank Management’s Response to the Request for Inspection, will be posted on the Panel’s website after the Board takes a decision on the Panel’s recommendation. The expected timeframe for this process to be completed is mid-July 2010.
Please note that the Panel has not launched an investigation into the Eskom Investment Support Project and that it is currently determining whether the Request meets its technical eligibility criteria.
Report from groundWork
This flight offered civil society an unprecedented opportunity to present to the World Bank an alternative perspective of the broader environmental and social impacts of this proposed project. We are confident that the World Bank Inspection panel now has a better understanding of how communities on the ground living adjacent to this development will be directly impacted by environmental pollution and direct competition for natural resources. Additionally water, agriculture and ecotourism are premium in the Waterberg, and industrial development will have direct impacts on these sectors.
groundWork hopes that the Inspection Panel will ensure that the World Bank’s own policies (on environmental and social impacts of the projects they fund) will be efficiently implemented as a condition of this loan to ensure better environmental governance and compliance.
The aerial perspective also allowed us to understand the proximity of the proposed Sasol 3 project, future areas under consideration for mining, and the coal fired power expansion plans across the border in Botswana which will also cumulatively impact this location.To this end we are very grateful to our pilots Eddie Keizan and Justin Bass who took care of us on the flight and a huge thanks to Joan Cameron who pulled this all together.
groundWork has sought The Bateleurs assistance on several occasions and they have always gone the extra mile to accommodate our requests. Their efforts support our journey towards environmental justice in South Africa.
Was the objective of the flight met?………….. Yes – emphatically!