Real Estate

A Look At Social Risks And Impacts

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<p style="text-align: justify;">During the implementation of projects, even of large, medium, or small size, in its initial phases, it is also recommended to carry out the environmental and social impact study to complete the feasibility framework of the project itself.</p><p style="text-align: justify;">Concerning projects that require infrastructure construction, above all, this presupposes that they need to acquire spaces for this purpose. The areas, even the land, aquatic or marine, in most cases, have already been shared or explored by local communities, not to mention other species of animals or plants that, in a way, sustain the local ecosystem.</p><p style="text-align: justify;">As we can see then, the impacts and adverse risks on the communities the project will bring to these are inevitable. We are talking about changes in physical and economic accessibility with repercussions in other spheres, such as the health, entertainment, culture, and well-being of local communities and related to them.</p><p style="text-align: justify;">Therefore, investors tutored by central and local governments are coerced to look at the project's sustainability, seeking plans to mitigate the project's negative impacts on the communities and impacted areas.</p><p style="text-align: justify;">The action of mitigating aims to annul all on the subject to which the investment action is based and the negative effects of this. A robust and combined action plan that integrates multiple stakeholders must be implemented to successfully sustain the action of mitigating in the targeted communities. This means that the primary physical and economic accesses to their full extent existing before the implementation of the project must be resumed and enjoyed by the local communities and related themselves, obeying the dynamics of the process interposed by the project.</p><p style="text-align: justify;">For example, suppose the project inevitably requires a lot of land that, in the primary phase, provides space for community housing or is where communities carry out their economic activities, such as the farm. In that case, these functions should be transferred to other spaces without, however, evident prejudice of the communities. An appropriate mitigation plan will provide for the fluidity of these transfers and benefits to communities without creating situations of vulnerability that in the primary and pre-project conditions did not exist in the communities and related to them.</p><p style="text-align: justify;">To point out that even if there is some vulnerability in the primary and pre-project conditions, this in its mitigation plan should take into account for its elimination since, in the general scope, the project has social responsibility over the local community and related itself by what stimulates the development and growth of the region and thus ensures the fluidity of return on investment in the long term, obtained available and skilled local labor.</p><p style="text-align: justify;">&nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: justify;">&nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 10pt;"><em>This article was contributed by our expert <a href="https://www.linkedin.com/in/emanuel-de-jesus-bomba-8134a3121/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Emanuel de Jesus Bomba</a>&nbsp;</em></span></p><p style="text-align: justify;">&nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: justify;">&nbsp;</p><h3 style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt;">Frequently Asked Questions Answered by Emanuel de Jesus Bomba</span></h3><p style="text-align: justify;">&nbsp;</p><h2 style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 12pt;">1. What are the risks involved in infrastructure projects?</span></h2><p style="text-align: justify;">The environment and the social can be affected in most projects that involve planting new infrastructures. Early works such as cleaning of vegetation and soils, soils removals, disturbance and loss of flora species, notably various tree species of conservation concern; Negative impacts on the wetlands, Disturbance to terrestrial fauna (construction activities &amp; noise); Disturbance to near short seagrass and coral habitats; introduction of alien invasive species from construction vehicles; Soil erosion as a result of vegetation clearing within the construction footprints and runoff into the wetlands which could lead to sedimentation and increased turbidity; Potential runoff of oils and fuels from vehicles into the wetland systems, resulting in a deterioration of water quality in the wetland system; and environmental pollution as a result of waste generation from the Early Works activities just some to mention.</p><p style="text-align: justify;">Regarding the social, let us highlights: Economics and livelihoods through the loss of access to intertidal resources used by collectors, farms, involuntary physical displacement, etc.&nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: justify;">On the other hand, it can mean an influx of population with many impacts looking for economic opportunities; (jobs, labor force, social cohesion and leadership, prostitution, informal markets, public safety, etc.), resulting in new vulnerabilities for the local population, such as making pressing of health services, transportation, and other public services.</p><p style="text-align: justify;">On cultural: Possible disturbance of sites of cultural heritage or archeological significance.</p><p style="text-align: justify;">&nbsp;</p><h2 style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 12pt;">2. What mitigation strategies can be adopted for the communities while initiating infrastructure projects?</span></h2><p style="text-align: justify;">Every project with the construction of new infrastructure is a case and depends on its objectives/purposes, which are the ones that define its characteristics, i.e., the type of industry. The most crucial is, before the start of the work construction, to perform the ESIA (Environmental and Social Impact Assessment) carried out by a qualified team, which will determine the specific measures that must be taken into consideration regarding the environment and the social aspects in a manner to ensure the sustainable intervention in future, or during the works construction phase according to cycle life of the project.</p><p style="text-align: justify;">The ESIA is the first environmental and social safeguard to be implemented to benefit communities and the environment. However, nine other environmental and social safeguards are supported by national and international standards to make all projects sustainable and not conflict-related.</p><p style="text-align: justify;">&nbsp;</p><h2 style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 12pt;">3. What are some of the strategies to mitigate the impact of infrastructure development on the environment?</span></h2><p style="text-align: justify;">The development of environmental mitigation strategies should flow from the risk management process. Prevention and mitigation strategies should be based on risk assessment.</p><p style="text-align: justify;">Some of the strategies could be, for example:</p><ul style="text-align: justify;"><li>For land, water, or air contamination &agrave; HSE plan, including monitoring of water quality/report all public or private water supply wells or systems damaged by construction and repairs completed, as well as any complaints and resolutions/ stabilize additional construction workspaces with gravel or vegetation and install additional temporary or permanent erosion control devices to prevent off-site erosion and sedimentation or mitigation of drainage changes from elevation or clearing.</li><li>For impacts to ecosystem services, biodiversity, or culturally valued environmental resources; Depending on service impacted&agrave; Mapping of locally valued flora, fauna, animals, or other significant cultural resources/ Strong and appropriate HSE plan/ See cultural heritage and general nuisances</li></ul><p style="text-align: justify;">&nbsp;</p>
KR Expert - Emanuel de Jesus Bomba