The proposed project will support the construction of a 24km road section from Levan to Vlore, part of the north-south corridor, and Trans-European Corridor VIII.
Civil works will be co-financed with the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the Government of Albania. Donor funds from the Italian Development Cooperation have been provided for the preparation of detailed design and tender documents and supervision consultants.
Transition impact builds on the enhancement of road financing arrangements through increased allocation of revenues to the road sector and restructuring of road sector operations to improve efficiency.
The Borrower is the Republic of Albania. The Project will be implemented by the Ministry of Public Works, Transport and Telecommunications and General Roads Directorate.
EUR 22 million (EBRD portion).
Civil works will be co-financed with EIB. Supervision consultancy services will be financed by Italian Cooperation for Development.
Estimated EUR 61.2 million
Screening categories and rationale for classification
The project involves construction of a new 24.2 km road with 4-lanes from Levan to Vlore crossing the River Vjosa valley and along the edge of the Narta Lagoon. In accordance with EBRD Environmental Policy, the construction of a new road of four or more lanes, where such new road would be 10 km or more in a continuous length is classified in environmental category A. Moreover, the project is required to be classified as A category because it is to be carried out in a sensitive location within Vjosa-Narta Landscape Protected Area. For the above reasons, the project requires an Environmental Impact Assessment (“EIA”) and public consultation in accordance with the EBRD’s Category A project requirements.
Information reviewed during the environmental appraisal.
An EIA has been prepared in accordance with the relevant EU Directives, Albanian regulations and EBRD requirements. During the disclosure period, the Bank commissioned an independent biodiversity assessment of the project’s impacts on the protected area in accordance with the EU Habitat Directive, taking into consideration of the provisions set out in Ramsar Convention so as to strengthen the mitigation of impacts on flora and fauna. The assessment included a site visit and meetings with relevant representatives of Albanian Ministry of the Environment (MoE), including Albania’s Ramsar Convention representative.
Key environmental issues and mitigation
The predicted impacts are to a large extent mitigated through technical solutions contained in the project design (constructed on viaduct in the areas of the flooding, etc.) and also through normal mitigation measures, such as landscaping, adequate drainage connections, careful avoidance of land severance, construction work planning, etc.. In addition, an Environmental Management Plan has been developed so as to mitigate the identified potentially significant adverse impacts. An Executive Summary of the EIA providing a comprehensive description of the identified significant impacts and the planned mitigation measures is posted on the EBRD website (see below).
The identified significant environmental, health and safety and social issues, for which mitigation measures have been developed, are as follows:
• Archaeology and cultural heritage
• Landscape and visual amenities
• Relief, Geology and Soils
• Hydrology, Surface and Ground Water
• Habitat and Biodiversity
• Air Quality
• Local Community and Socio-Economic Impacts, including
Health and safety
Acquisition of land and other assets
• Possible induced impacts through economical activities
One of the main concerns is the potential impacts that the proposed road may have upon the Vjosa-Narta Landscape Protected Area. The biodiversity assessment showed that much of the route represents a relatively low risk to biodiversity and impacts can be addressed through standard mitigation measures and good design. However, the southernmost section of the route, from Kripore to Narta goes through areas of relatively high biodiversity importance and could have significant adverse effects on the integrity of the Narta Lagoon in this area and its bird populations. The section of the road from Kripore to Narta could therefore reduce the overall biodiversity of the Vjose-Narta Protected Area and may require off-setting or compensatory mitigation measures to meet European requirements. The preferred option would be adjusting the alignment in the areas of the highest biodiversity value so as to avoid destruction of the valuable habitats.
According to the EIA, the proposed route was chosen because it is the most feasible alternative based on an overall assessment of technical, geometrical, safety, environmental, social and other relevant considerations. GDR has made a representation that other potential road routes were assessed, but not considered viable. Therefore, in order to implement the project in line with EU Directives, specific mitigation measures will need to be implemented to either mitigate or to offset the impacts of the road. These mitigation measures will aim to improve the status of the Lagoon and its bird populations and make them more robust to loss of feeding and breeding sites caused by the road. Recommendations for specific mitigation measures have been provided by the biodiversity consultant appointed by the EBRD. A change to the detailed design to improve the alignment is also included in the mitigation measures that are currently assessed by independent qualified experts for their feasibility. Changes to the alignment could eliminate most of the biodiversity impacts and standard mitigation measures would be sufficient to prevent significant impacts. Otherwise, specific mitigation measures and compensatory measures will need to be implemented so as to offset the impacts.
The Loan for the project will become effective only after the detailed mitigation and monitoring plan identifying the mitigation measures for each section is approved by the Bank.
The project involves resettlement of some residential properties and economic displacement. A Resettlement Action Plan (RAP) has been prepared and approved by EBRD. There will be a need to verify the status of the land acquisition and compensation process in accordance with the RAP and EBRD's policy requirements. This will require an independent social specialist to visit the site to verify that the implementation of the RAP has been satisfactory as a condition precedent for disbursement.
Disclosure of information and consultation
A Public Consultation and Disclosure Plan (“PCDP”) has been prepared as part of the EIA process. The first phase of the consultation and disclosure was carried out during the initial public consultations held in September 2006 with the attendance of representatives of local authorities, residents and other interested parties in the affected areas in Novosela and Vlora. In the second phase of the public consultation and disclosure process, the Draft EIA was disclosed in the public domain on 16 March 2007. From this date copies of the full draft EIA Report and copies the separate Executive Summary have been available for public’s review at several different locations and on MPWTT website. The proposed road scheme and the conclusions of the EIA were presented to the stakeholders through public meetings held in Levan and Novosela on 25th and 26th March 2007. In May 2007, the Bank informed a number of local and international organisations with interest to the protected area of the project, availability of the EIA and invited them to bring any comments and concerns to the Bank’s attention. On July 17, 2007 a meeting was held in Tirana to discuss the EIA with local and international organisations. Until now, there have been only some constructive comments from local NGOs. The summary of the biodiversity assessment is expected to be disclosed on 24 October 2007. Hard copies of the summary will be made available where the EIA has been disclosed. As the third phase, the Final EIA, adjusted with relevant comments and complaints, as well as the final EAP amended with the recommendations of the biodiversity assessment, will be disclosed to public and a grievance mechanism will be set up in accordance with the PCDP.
A generic Environmental Monitoring Plan (EMP) has been developed as part of the EIA study in order to define the environmental monitoring measures and procedures that will need to be adopted and to identify those responsible for their implementation. The EMP defines the timing, frequency, duration and cost of monitoring measures in an implementation schedule and integrates these actions with the overall project work plan. The monitoring will be focused on the potential key impacts identified during the EIA to ensure the efficiency of the planned mitigation measures.
The implementation of the mitigation measures will be monitored by a Lender’s Environmental Supervisor appointed by the EBRD.
There is an Environmental Impact Assessment available for this project. The summary of the Biodiversity Assessment study will be made available at locations where the EIA is disclosed.
There is an Environmental and Social Impact Assessment available for this project.
EUR 500,000 for the preparation of transition components.
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Public Information Policy (PIP)
The PIP sets out how the EBRD discloses information and consults with its stakeholders so as to promote better awareness and understanding of its strategies, policies and operations. Please visit the Public Information Policy page below to find out how to request a Public Sector Board Report.
Text of the PIP