The Panel received the Request for Inspection of the project on September 20, 2019. The Requesters raised concerns about the project’s impact on biodiversity, including protected species, in protected areas in Poland and within the transboundary Odra region. They claimed that the project would increase flooding risks, that the planned river regulation is excessive and that public participation and consultation with citizens and experts were insufficient. The Requesters were concerned that earlier-abandoned work plans affecting the Międzyodrze wetland would be taken up again under this project. They also expressed concern about involuntary resettlement in some locations in the Klodzko Valley and Upper Vistula and argued that the construction of dry reservoirs in the Klodzko Valley significantly interferes with the local landscape, cultural values and integrity of some towns.
The Panel issued a Notice of Registration of the Request on September 26, 2019, and processed it jointly with eight other Requests that raised similar issues. Details of those case can be found here: 135, 136, 137, 138, 139, 141, 142 and 144.
In its response to the Requests, Bank management explained that it understood the concerns of the Requesters and has engaged with different stakeholders and civil society organizations on a continuous basis. Management stated that it believes that the concerns are appropriately addressed by the project’s design and mitigation measures and explained that it remains committed to continue discussing any outstanding concerns. According to management, the project is technically sound and in compliance with Bank policies, and its design is based on thorough studies by reputable firms.
Between November 11 and 17, 2019, a Panel team held meetings with relevant stakeholders in Warsaw, Wroclaw and Berlin, and visited project sites in the Klodzko Valley and along the Odra River at the German-Polish border.
On December 17, 2019, the Panel submitted its Report and Recommendation to the Board. In recommending the project not be investigated, the Panel took into account the design of the project, including its mitigation measures, and adjustments that were made following outcomes of the phased environmental assessment process, which included changes resulting from stakeholder input during consultations, as well as Bank management’s commitments to assist the borrower in strengthening capacity for communication and community outreach and to monitor the resolution of outstanding resettlement issues.
The Board approved the Panel’s recommendation not to investigate the project on January 10, 2020.