ESS Workshop Copenhagen


The main goal of the ESS workshop was to present the participants from Saudi Industrial Development Fund with the idea of social & environmental standards, including history of the safeguards, the purpose behind them, examples of international framework and the guidelines of how the participants can include them in their real-life projects.

The first day of the program started with getting to know participants and their expectations from the workshop. We discussed the agenda for the following days and the itinerary of the planned trips. We were talking about motivations for learning about social and environmental safeguards. It turned out that both participants have previous experience with environmental assessment, sustainability policy and safety & hazard assessment. At the same time, participants had a lot of interest towards learning more about social & environmental standards. On the first day, we learnt about the history of ESS and examples of the international frameworks. Afterwards, we discussed various examples of ESS in real life, in the sectors of waste management and sustainable food production among others. We presented the ESS created by the World Bank and we proceeded with a case study of the Ethiopian Dam called Gib III. After watching videos and reading about the dam project, we undertook an exercise of screening for social and environmental risks according to the framework created by the World Bank.

On the second day we continued with discussing the good practices of the screening process and introduced Social and Environmental Risk Screening Checklist created by United Nations Development Programme. We proceeded with a case study from Poland of a project that is intended to build a canals loop between pristine lakes. We spent a substantial time to carefully asses the project according to the UNDP’s screening checklist and trying to learn how to implement the procedure in real life. Later on, we discussed the sustainable development goals agenda formed by the United Nations and we talked about examples of sustainable development goals from Copenhagen. After lunch, we went for a city tour discovering sustainable aspects of Copenhagen. Among interesting projects that we observed were extensive bike lanes, open schools presenting children with animals and plants, natural water catchment city architecture, climate resilient neighbourhood Osterbro and water catchment pavement tiles called Climate Tile.

On the third day of the program we continued talking about UN Sustainable Development Goals and we introduced Performance Standards by International Finance Corporation. It sparked a discussion between the participants and the lecturer about how to introduce such performance standards in their organisation, what is the best timeline and recommended way to do so. In the second half of the day, we went for a city trip to visit a waste incineration plant, in Copenhagen called Amager Bakke. The building won the award of the world’s best building in year 2021. The project is very innovative, because the waste incineration process is thoroughly clean and low emission with the highest standards of emission purification. At the same time, due to the process, the city is supplied with the warm water and heat from the waste incineration. Is it possible thanks to a very developed recycling system in the city. Amager Bakke also comprises of a ski slope at its roof and a climbing wall, what makes the building a big attraction. After the visit, we continued to discover some interesting and sustainable architecture in Copenhagen.

On day fourth of the program we went for a day trip to Sweden to discover environmentally and socially responsible projects. First, we traveled to a Danish city Helsingor and continued with a ferry to Sweden. We arrived to Helsingborg, one of the most sustainable cities in Sweden. We discovered many interesting projects and city developments. The city has an innovative waste management system, with zero waste stored on the landfill. The waste recykling and separation enable full utilisation of various waste streams. High calorific waste that cannot be recycled are burnt in the waste incineration plant, while organic waste are fermented to create a biogas for city busses. We also used this opportunity to discuss the piramid of waste management priorities. It is important to remember that reducing waste production is a very first step to sustainable waste management. Reusing and recycling are also high in priority, while burning waste or landfilling them are the steps of the last resort. We also visited a new neighbourhood in Helsingborg called Oceanhamn. The area has a very innovative sewage system that, as the only one in the world, is based on 3 pipes system. It means that there are 3 streams of sewage: one from toilet, one from the kitchen sink and one from the grey water such as washing machine and shower. The last stream enables to filter and reuse the water efficiently, while the first two ones allows for the fermentation and biogas production.

On the last day of the program, we continued with the ESS. We focused on identifying stakeholders, involuntary resettlement process and meaningful consultations. We discussed good practices, advices on how to plan and start meaningful consultations process and how to involve the stakeholders in a project. We discussed a case study of an involuntary resettlement in a project involving a coal mine expansion and we proceeded with an exercise of stakeholders identification. In the second half of the day we focused on how the participants can use the knowledge from the program in the practical cases. We talked about challenges and successes at their organisation and how they can enhance their work by implementing ESS. We share experience, advices, thoughts and ideas.


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Environmental and Social Safeguards workshop was conducted as a one-to-one session in Copenhagen, Denmark. The program was organized for senior staff member of International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) from organization’s headquarter in Rome, Italy. Workshop was a four-day program that lasted from 9 am to 3 pm each day.

The core topics covered within the scope of the program were: