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Social Safeguards

Labor-based, environment friendly and participatory construction approaches within the trail bridge sub-sector has evolved over several decades of experience. One important component is the protection of local communities and the surrounding environment during and after bridge construction.

The major domains against which the compliance of the social safeguards should be ensured within Trail Bridge SWAp are:

     1.    Safeguard on environment impact

Mitigating and minimizing the impact on the environment are one of the main concerns of trail bridge building. Unlike larger structures, trail bridge building requires works to be concentrated on only a very limited area (50 – 2,000 m2), thereby minimizing the impact it has on the overall environment. Furthermore, various activities are conducted to mitigate further effects: 

  • Bridge locations are selected at geologically and environmentally sound and safe sides
  • Slope is protected with bioengineering and civil structures, and water drainage systems (as per need) to prevent erosion and slide
  • Use of steel decks instead of wooden decks for walkway of the bridge to prevent deforestation
  • Environment friendly construction of trail bridges ensures low production of carbon
  • River protective measures in the Terai using bio-engineering measures

2.    Safeguard on impacts on vulnerable groups

Every effort is made to ensure that vulnerable groups consisting of indigenous people, disadvantage groups, single women or women headed households are not adversely affected during trial bridge construction and/or are impacted positively. The various approaches and resources applied to ensure this include:

  • Seek for alternative employment in case of displaced community after trail bridge construction,
  • Ensure at least 50% of local employment goes to disadvantaged groups (DAGs),
  • Ensure equal payment for equal wage and timely payment to site workers
  • Ensure the interest of disadvantaged groups are properly addressed,
  • Ensure at least 50% representation of women and proportionate representation in User Committees (UCs) and in other meetings,
  • Representation of discriminated groups at least in 1 executive position of UC
  • Ensure the insurance of site workers and NGO persons
  • Ensure proper carry out of public hearing (PH), public review (PR) and public audit (PA) on time, and erecting hoarding board near the bridge site
  • Prohibit child labour
  • Create conducive working environment at construction site
  • Ensure necessary safety and security measures followed at working site,
  • Ensure routine maintenance of bridge after construction by forming Bridge Maintenance Committee and appointing a Bridge Warden
3.    Safeguard on involuntary resettlement
Resettlement of households is a very rare case within trail bridge construction as trail bridges require small spaces. Furthermore, bridges are constructed only on land that is technically feasible and are willingly donated by locals. Nevertheless, certain aspects are considered while safeguarding involuntary resettlement which includes:
  • Full consultation with affected persons on site selection and appropriate design to avoid or minimize additional land take and resettlement effect
  • Prohibition of forced land donation for bridge construction. If land donation is required, it should be voluntary - the affected person should be informed about their entitlement and they should not fall below poverty line.
Adherence of Social Safeguard to National Laws and Regulations
Key policy documents with the Trail Bridge SWAP- III are Local Government Operation Act -2074 BS, Local Infrastructure Development Policy 2004 (LIDP) and Trail Bridge Strategy 2006 (TBS). It refers 18 manuals, all of which have been approved by the Department of Local Infrastructure and Development of Agricultural Road (DoLIDAR), Ministry of Federal Affairs and Local Development (MoFALD). Besides, there are various Acts and Regulations of Nepal which social safeguard is adhered to.
  • Local Government Operation Act - 2074 BS
  • Local Self Governance Act 1999 and Local Self Governance Regulations 1999
  • Local Infrastructure Development Policy 2004
  • Trail Bridge Strategy 2006
  • Environment Protection Act 1997 and Environment Protection Regulations 1997
  • Land Acquisition Act 1977 and Land Acquisition Regulations 1963
  • Forest Act 1993 and Forest Regulations 1995
  • National Parks and Wildlife and Conservation Act 1973
  • Soil and Watershed Conservation Act 1982 and Watershed Conservation Regulations 1985
  • Water Resources Act 1992 and Water Resources Regulations 1993