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Maldives : Climate Change Adaptation Project Process Framework for Regulated Access to Designated Protected Area in Fuvamulah and S . Hithadoo Islands

1. This Process Framework describes Climate Change Adaptation (CCA) Project requirements to address social impacts from restrictions of access to natural resources as per the World Bank’s Involuntary Resettlement Policy (OP 4.12). The objectives of this Framework are to avoid, minimize, or mitigate potentially adverse impacts of restrictions of access to natural resources, and ensure that affected communities are consulted with and participate in meaningful ways in project activities affecting them. The Framework describes the requirements and planning procedures for grant applicants and subsequently grantees in the preparation and implementation of related projects, as well as the role of CCA Project in ensuring compliance with this framework.

2. There are four main components in CCA Project that have the common theme of intent to contribute to delivering climate resilient island development. The components include (i) community based wetland management in Hithadhoo and Fuvahmulah; (ii) coral reef component ; (iii) solid waste management; and (iv) building capacities of the atoll/island councilors in climate resilient planning.

3. CCA Project component 1 on wetland triggers the World Bank’s policy on Involuntary Resettlement for involuntary restrictions of access to legally designated parks and protected areas or support efforts to improve enforcement of existing restrictions. This component supports the development and implementation of management plans for protected areas.

4. There is will be an impact in both Fuvahmulah and Hithadhoo as portions of these wetlands are under cultivation for taro and other agricultural crops in Hithadhoo. In Hithadhoo however, some part of the wetland is subjected to illegal sand mining is also takes place in certain parts of wetland. Fencing will be carried out but area under taro cultivation will not be fenced but sand mining will not be allowed and as a result there will be loss of livelihood for those involved in sand mining.

5. There is no existing regulatory framework for charging Maldivian nationals. It is understood that non-Maldivian nationals can be charged for access to protected areas (Hanifaru bay is a case in point). In Hithadhoo there is an existing regulation relating to the above matters and the regulation specifies that permission for any (relevant) activity in the area shall be given by the Addu City Council subject to compliance with the regulation and the EPA mandate for protected areas. Fuvahmulah also has a regulation that prohibits mining of sand and corals. These regulations however need to be reviewed and revised in support of the planning and delivery of management for sustainable use of the natural biological resources of the protected areas (policing, fines, revenue generation, etc.).

6. Participation of affected communities is the key element of the Process Framework. The Safeguard Coordinator consulted the Island administration and community members while drafting the process framework. The draft process framework was shared with the local community members and other relevant stakeholders. Based on the consultations, a final Framework has been prepared. The Framework includes project activities, characteristics of restrictions, their impacts, and mitigation measures. The Framework with input from local communities is supported by social analysis carried out during the project preparation.

7. The eligibility criteria will determine which groups and persons are eligible for assistance and mitigation measures. As per social assessment carried out as part of project preparation, the community members who are eligible to be assisted under this framework are community members (i) losing their livelihood / sources of livelihood such as sand miners or taro cultivators; and (ii) frequenting the wetland for recreational purposes. The criteria will be further refined during implementation in consultation with the community as part of a participatory implementation process. As part of project ESAMF, entitlement framework has been prepared with an objective is to improve or restore, in real terms their livelihoods while maintaining the sustainability of the protected area. The measures to offset losses include:

  • Special measures for the recognition and support to natural resources.
  • Transparent, equitable, and fair ways of more sustainable sharing of the resources;
  • Access to alternative resources or functional substitutes(for instance use of concrete blocks instead of sand in construction);
  • Alternative livelihood activities to be finalized in consultation with the community during implementation. The options explored during project preparation includes providing employment to affected community members in the project area as nature guides; rangers; guards; and various business opportunities as part of eco- tourism.
  •  Health and education benefits;
  •  Develop the implementing strategies to communicate real time information specifically for economically weaker section.

For women members, specific measures include:

  •  Undertake literacy programs as built- in activities coordinated with literacy programmes.
  •  Formation of women groups around specific project areas.  Share information about the project benefits with local community.
  •  Develop audio-visual aids and documentary for training programs about the project for illiterate women groups
  •  Conduct leadership training for women members of commodity groups.
  • Organize training on technologies
  • Provide opportunities of exposure or study visit to women’s group to develop their leadership capacity
  • Inform women groups regarding proposed construction works. Identify women interested to work; assess their skills and involve them as per their capabilities.

8. The implementation will be participatory in order to determine restrictions, management arrangements, and measures to address impacts on local communities. The roles and responsibilities of various stakeholders and the methods of participation and decision making have been detailed out in the framework. Decision making will include the establishment of representative local structures, use of open meetings, and involvement of existing local institutions. Methods of consultation and participation will be in a form appropriate to local needs. The implementation activities include:

  • Demarcation of wetland areas and mapping of existing resource use in the wetland areas.
  • Sensitization and awareness building activities to engage the key stakeholders in the participatory process.
  • Development and approval of CBWMPs based on the approved land use plans through a participatory process involving consultation with relevant stakeholders.
  • Prevention of unplanned reclamation, illegal waste dumping, contamination of surface water, unsustainable harvesting of mangroves and other activities which are detrimental to the wetlands.

9. There are two wetland areas on Fuvahmulah, Dhanimagu-Kilhi and Bandaara-Kilhi. Separate Management Plans with their own objectives and indicators of success will be developed during the implementation. Key elements of the plans should include:

  • Controlling solid waste:
  • Fencing of the protected area
  • Zoning
  • Green belts
  • Regulating cropping
  • Development of basic infrastructure for ecotourism (nature trails, observation hides, interpretation centre, visitor convenience services).
  • Training of local community nature guides.

10. The framework will be implemented at the Island level but will be guided and monitored by Environmental and Social (E&S) Coordinator of PMU. The coordinator will report to the Project Manager and will work closely with the Wetlands Coordinator.

11. The draft Process Framework will be disclosed in country to inform the potentially affected community about the project; its impact and mitigation measures suggested and to get their input on the framework. The final Framework will again be disclosed locally as well as at the MEE Web site.

12. CCA Project and implementing agency are responsible for complying with this Framework. The project during implementation will review and refine the Plan of Action with the informed and meaningful participation of affected communities. The implementing agency will ensure that local communities are consulted and participate in culturally appropriate ways during implementation. They will avoid adverse impacts on affected communities or, where this is not possible, develop with the informed participation of affected community’s measures to mitigate such impacts.

13. A three tier grievance mechanism will be established which will be accessible to all community members. The Island Council will be the first level of contact for any aggrieved person. A Community Advisory Board will be created and complaints received by the Island Council will be sent to the Community Advisory Board for advice. In case the aggrieved person is not satisfied, he or she can approach Ministry of Environment and Energy. The E&S Safeguards Coordinator in the PMU will be the contact person in MEE. In case the issue is not resolved, the aggrieved person has the option of approaching judiciary. In cases where vulnerable persons are unable to access the legal system, the Attorney General´s office will provide legal support to the vulnerable person(s). The PMU will assist the vulnerable person(s) in getting this support from the Attorney General´s Office. The PMU will also ensure that there is no cost imposed (such as for travel and accommodation) on the aggrieved person if the person belongs to the vulnerable groups. The verdict of the judiciary will be final.

14. The project team lead by the E&S Coordinator has undertaken number of consultations during the project preparation. Further consultations will be carried out as part of number of consultancies for wetland management. These will be duly documented in the respective outputs of the consultancies. In addition, the technical coordinators, E&S Coordinator and the Conservation Officers will undertake continuous consultations with stakeholders and report as part of monitoring.

15. Monitoring efforts will include the regular inspection to determine compliance with mitigation measures with respect to community facilities, disturbance, land taking, and process framework. Day to day monitoring will be carried out by the conservation officers at Island level along with the community representatives.