The World Bank is preparing a new project in partnership with the Government of Uganda  to support infrastructure development in 14 of the country’s Municipal Councils. The Uganda Support for Municipal Infrastructure Development (USMID) project will be one of the first in the world to pilot a new way of distributing World Bank funds to governments. The new pay-out process will link the disbursement of funds directly to project results. For instance, unless the Municipal Council completes the infrastructure they plan to build, no more money will be given to the government. That’s just an example. This process, called Program for Results , is important because it places a more direct emphasis on development results.
The Bank, with technical support from the Government of Uganda, has prepared an Environment and Social Systems Assessment or ESSA . This report looks at the likely environmental and social effects of the USMID Project and is done as a mandatory component of Program for Results projects.
In technical terms, the objectives of the ESSA are:
(i) to document the environmental and social management procedures, standards and institutional responsibilities that will apply to the proposed USMID program;
(ii) to evaluate the institutional capacity to manage the likely environmental and social effects in accordance with the country’s own requirements under the proposed program;
(iii) to assess the consistency of Uganda’s systems with World Bank environmental and social standards; and
(iv) to recommend specific actions for improving counterpart capacity during implementation to ensure consistency with World Bank OP 9.00. Findings of the assessment will be used for the development of an action plan with measures to improve environmental and social management outcomes of the program.
In layman’s terms, the ESSA looks at whether this is a good project for Uganda, whether government institutions like The Ministry of Lands Housing and Urban Development, for instance, have the resources to implement the project, and whether all the international safety standards are being met in the project preparation.
We’d like your opinion on the draft ESSA  and its findings and recommendations. What do you think are likely impacts? What have we missed if anything? Please take a look and submit your suggestions, questions or comments on this blog by June 15, 2012, or email your comments to Martin Olaa . A selection of your inputs will be reflected in the revised final draft.