Strategic Environmental & Social Assessment for Extractives Industry (SESA-EI)

A Strategic Environmental and Social Assessment (SESA) is currently being produced for the extractives sector as a whole in Afghanistan – including both minerals and hydrocarbons.  Work started in May 2013, and the final product will be completed by early December 2013.  The effort is spearheaded by Adam Smith International, and key counterparts in the Afghan Government include the National Environmental Protection Agency (NEPA) and the Ministry of Mines and Petroleum (MOMP).  Many other governmental and non-governmental entities are also involved, reflecting the breadth of the responsibilities concerning specific aspects of the extractives industry sector in Afghanistan.  The effort is being completed within the framework of the Sustainable Development of Natural Resources Project II (SDNRP II).

The first draft of the SESA was completed in early August 2013, and was presented to a broad group of stakeholders on 24 August 2013, at the NEPA.  The document is very extensive, describing the extractives sector as a whole and also providing comments on the Afghan legislation of relevance; institutions and how they should work collaboratively, stakeholders in the various sub-sectors; and artisanal mining in the specific.  Two key chapters cover environmental and social safeguards, but the entire report addresses those matters from various standpoints and provides a very wide range of recommendations for the Government to consider.  Comments on the first draft have been collected, and a second draft was finalised in mid-September 2013.  Six specific components of the second draft will be subjected to detailed discussions by a total of more than 100 stakeholders, in a strategic workshop to be held in Kabul on 26-30 October 2013.

Following the strategic workshop, the authors of the report will develop a third and final version of the document, and will present this to a diverse group of stakeholders in Kabul on 30 November 2013.  It is anticipated that the SESA will provide a ‘road map’ for the development of the extractives sector as a whole in Afghanistan, in terms of the attention needed to environmental and social issues.  It is recognised that these are particularly important in the extractives industry sector, as evidenced by experiences in many countries elsewhere.