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Case study

Environmental and Social Assessment of Beirut Urban Transport Project

Environmental and Social Assessment of Beirut Urban Transport Project
Council for Development and Reconstruction
Associated Firm
Environmental Impact Assessments
1999 – 2000
Project Details

Detailed Narrative Description of Project:
The proposed Beirut Urban Transport Project (BUTP) would provide the fundamental urban transport apparatus needed to address the extremely diverse and complex transport issues the city faces, and support selected immediate actions of the GBATP. There are several key issues which must be immediately addressed to improve the operational and economic efficiency of the GBA urban transport system including: traffic management network capacity and parking provision and controls.
The Consultant has prepared an Environmental Assessment for the proposed project consistent with the requirements for a Category “A” project under the procedures of the World Bank.
The objectives of the EA include providing a sound basis for decision-making about the design of the project components that takes environmental considerations into account, ensuring that the project is implemented with full awareness of environmental factors, informing the public when and how the project implementation may affect their environment, and facilitating the public participation in the decision-making process.
The scope of work of the EA included the definition of current policies, legal and administrative framework related to the transport sector in Lebanon; the definition of existing environmental conditions in the GBA; the identification and analysis of potential environmental impacts and mitigation measures; the definition and analysis of potential alternatives; the development of environmental monitoring and management plans; and the solicitation of public participation regarding the entire project.
Since there are currently no approved Environmental Assessment procedures in Lebanon, the study has been conducted in accordance to with the provisions of World Bank Operational Directive 4.01, “Environmental Assessment”. The components were reviewed and screened as follows: (a) Traffic Management Improvement Program; (b) parking Improvement Program; and (c) Corridor Improvement Program. While the proposed construction of underground parking facilities has been dropped from the proposed project, following field based engineering and environmental evaluations, it has been decided to continue the preparation of a full Environmental Assessment which allows the project design process to fully benefit from a more detailed evaluation of environment issues and an active public consultation process.”
While public consultation is not a common practice in Lebanon, it is mandated under the EA procedures of the World Bank, and this study has provided an opportunity to successfully demonstrate the use of this approach in the preparation of infrastructure improvement projects. In addition, the EA procedures of the World Bank include the assessment of potential impacts to cultural heritage as an integral element of the EA process and the preparation of the study has included consultations with the Lebanese Department of Antiquities.

Detailed Description of actual services provided:
The EIA studies included the following tasks:
• Analysis of the policies, legal and administrative framework
• Analysis of alternatives, including a no-action alternative
• Identification and quantification of potential impacts, during both the construction and operation phases
• Proposing an environmental mitigation plan for the construction and operation phases
• Proposal for environmental management in Lebanon and a policy for urban air quality
• Detailing a monitoring plan throughout the life of the project
• Public participation was conducted in 3 stages: a first national meeting, 17 local meetings, and a second national consultation meeting.
• Social impact assessment of all project components.
• Resettlement action plans resulting from expropriations required for grade separations construction.