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LESSONS:

People’s Republic of China: Tianjin Wastewater Treatment and Water Resources Protection Project [Loan 1797-PRC]

sector: Water and Other Urban Infrastructure and Services | country: China, People’s Republic of

1. Adequate consultation and better communication with affected people for projects experiencing resettlement issues can reduce implementation delays. Delays in the implementation of the resettlement subcomponent of this project could have been mitigated if lessons from past projects have been taken into account. These included executing and implementing agencies ensuring closer consultation and resettlement impact is better communicated with local officials, village committees and affected peoples, and proposing reasonable resettlement or fishpond removal scope and compensation policies. The villagers would then be able to better understand the objectives and importance of projects, and would be more receptive to the resultant land acquisition and resettlement activities. [Main text, paras. 77,84]

2. Further improving project sustainability requires the involvement of communities in environmental improvements. For similar projects, it would be helpful to have a community participation and self-management booklet prepared by villagers themselves under the guidance of the social specialist at the project preparatory or implementation stage. Significant environmental improvements, and ecological protection works are continuously being implemented by the Tianjin municipal government to further improve water quality. Environmental improvements have also been extended to 68 villages. While current assessment indicated a high sustainability rating for the project, further improvements can still be achieved through community participation and self-management since these are effective gateways into sustainable implementation and operation. [Main text, paras. 69,85]

3. Bringing in private sector experience yields efficiency in project operations.The eventual full participation of Tianjin Capital Environmental Protection Company (TCEPC) in component A was a good demonstration of private sector participation, particularly in bringing about the required expertise in running a wastewater treatment plant. Aside from the Beicang wastewater treatment plant, TCEPC is also responsible for the operations of three other large-scale wastewater treatment plants in Tianjin. Prospects of private sector participation in component B should have been explored with other private groups or entities, particularly in enhancing ecological works around the Yuqiao Reservoir, which is currently financed by municipal funds. This could be a showcase to invite interest from private enterprises, particularly in the growing concern for the environment. [Main text, paras. 14,86]

4. Complementarities of projects and donor coordination could improve operational efficiency. The full capacity of the wastewater treatment plant for this project has not yet been reached, pending the completion of the World Bank-funded sewerage system. Sewerage construction needs to be fully addressed in the early stage of the project, particularly as it affected the implementation of wastewater treatment operations. It is, thus, essential that when such interlinked projects are implemented by different funding institutions, inter-donor coordination needs to be ensured so that project operations and targeted completion are not compromised. [Main text, paras. 16,26,88]

5. A two-pronged approach focusing on developing institutions and training is needed to strengthen executing (EA) and implementing agencies (IAs) in the water supply sector. While various trainings were provided to these agencies, emphasis on developing the institutions, such as review of the overall organization structures and terms of reference of management and staff, would also be helpful in further strengthening EA and IAs (i.e., creation of the Tianjin Water Affairs Bureau, a first step in overseeing the continued development of water-related IAs, and commercialization of operations through the involvement of Tianjin Capital Environmental Protection Company). [Main text, paras. 28-29,89]

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