The ESPF sets ambitious new standards in several areas and provides IDB’s clients with leading-edge provisions to tackle environmental and social issues. It elevates respect for human rights to the core of environmental and social risk management and includes a dedicated, stand-alone standard on gender equality. A new standard on labor and working conditions aligns with the core international conventions and instruments.
The new policy framework also includes consideration of risks associated with pandemics and epidemics, and it aligns with international best practices on biodiversity protection and conservation. In addition, the ESPF stipulates when free, prior, and informed consent is required from indigenous peoples, mandates protections for African descendants and persons with disabilities, and requires consideration of race, ethnicity, age, and social conditions. To obtain open, transparent, and inclusive engagement around projects, the ESPF also includes a stand-alone stakeholders’ engagement and information disclosure standard, which requires clients to routinely implement grievance mechanisms.
Moreover, an exclusion list now identifies activities that the IDB will not finance because they could adversely impact people and the environment, or because they are inconsistent with the IDB’s commitment to addressing climate change and promoting environmental and social sustainability.
The IDB now enters a period of approximately one year during which it will help clients prepare to implement the new policy framework. Once this period is over, the ESPF will apply to the preparation and execution of all new IDB-financed operations.
Except for the two purposes described below, the ESPF will supersede the following IDB environmental and social operational policies once it becomes effective:
- the Environment and Safeguards Compliance Policy (OP-703),
- the Disaster Risk Management Policy (OP-704),
- the Involuntary Resettlement Policy (OP-710),
- the Policy on Gender Equality in Development (OP-761), and
- the Indigenous Peoples Policy (OP-765).
IDB environmental and social operational policies (OP-703; OP-704; OP-710; OP-761; and OP-765) will continue to apply for the following two purposes:
- Regarding safeguards, for the implementation of operations approved prior to the effectiveness of the ESPF.
- For all matters related to the Bank's mainstreaming work regarding such policies. “Mainstreaming” refers to IDB’s proactive actions to address environmental and social issues strategically as cross-cutting dimensions of development. These issues include protecting the environment, supporting disaster risk management, and facilitating rapid assistance in response to disasters, promoting development with identity for Indigenous Peoples, and gender equality.