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Colección: La Educación
Número: (129-131) I,III
Año: 1998

Training Concepts

A concerted effort was made to identify participants from the public, private, and NGO sectors. The seminars were designed around issues specific to in-country needs and pertinent to IBRD/IDA projects that required environmental assessment applications. Workshop themes have ranged from EA of a particular road or hydroelectric power plant project, to more generic issues focusing on clarifying institutional responsibility and performance as well as needed policy changes to accommodate new environmental and political realities.

The five-day intensive workshop/seminar format is organized into three modules. Module 1 is an orientation program to ensure that participants understand the methodologies and timing of EA in the project cycle. Module 2 encompasses more skill-oriented training such as decision-making and negotiation tools, and Module 3 focuses on preparation of case studies that culminate in presentations by the participants of an environmental assessment of a specific project utilizing a team approach. The outputs of these exercises have contributed, in measurable terms, to development plans for lands belonging to indigenous peoples, coastal zone management plans, and a number of site-specific EAs. Additionally, the exercise helped build understanding of both public sector managers and affected groups towards the need for active involvement of all sectors from the outset of project design, as well as the role of negotiation as part of the decision-making process.

The primary goal of the workshops is improving the effectiveness of national environmental institutions. This is accomplished in three main ways: increasing concern and understanding on the part of all actors of the issues involved, enhancing the “contractual” environment, and building national institutional capacity as indicated in Table 3.

TABLE 3

The EA training Objectives include the following:
  • Training inter-disciplinary teams to undertake EA of a particular project in the Bank pipeline, or to increase technical EA capacity of a newly-formed environmental unit in a sectoral Ministry or Agency.
  • Fostering “best practice strategies” and cooperation among LAC countries on coordinated environmental policies, strategies, and action plans.
  • Providing a consultation mechanism for the formulation, strengthening, and harmonization of environmental laws and regulations and their enforcement; and drawing up of common environmental quality guidelines, e.g. water pollution effluent standards.
  • Assisting the government with the formulation of an ETAP (Environmental Technical Assistance Project). If the country requests an IBRD/IDA-supported ETAP, the workshop addresses: (a) effective strategies to strengthen key government environment-related institutions and to develop the human resources necessary to plan, evaluate, and implement action programs; (b) initial steps towards more effective legal and regulatory system; and (c) outreach initiatives to raise social awareness of environmental issues and fully involve civil society in developing investment alternatives. As the Bank has 10 ETAPs curently active in LAC, these discussions helped address practical problems of policy design, political economy, and institutional support.
  • Setting environmental priorities, i.e. NEAPs (National Environmental Action Plans), by giving tools for assessing the benefits of environmental improvement or protection and the costs of policy, giving illustrative examples (particularly related to health risks) and caveats regarding the capacity to measure costs and benefits.
  • Promoting Cost-Effective Pollution Control Policies, i.e. promoting South-South dialogue about cost-effectiveness and its application to the design of environmental policies such as effluent charges and pollution trading systems.
  • Synthesis of lessons learned, which attempts to draw together the common themes and basic lessons of the above themes regarding the search for efficient and sustainable strategies for environmental management and protection.