The Panel received the Request for Inspection of the project on July 30, 2019. The Requesters alleged that the project, rather than protecting them from flooding, would increase their risks. They argued that the regulation of the Odra River and hydro-engineering works on the Vistula River would undermine and destroy Natura 2000 habitats and sites, and lead to economic losses. They also questioned the cost-benefit analysis of four dry tanks in the Klodzko Valley and argued that they adversely affect the environment.
The Panel issued a Notice of Registration of the Request on September 17, 2019, and processed it jointly with eight other Requests that raised similar issues. Details of those cases can be found here: 135, 136, 137, 138, 139, 142, 143 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.