The inhabitants of the project areas, from Kribi to Eda, consist of the following ethnic groups: Batanga, Mabi, Ewondo, Bakola/Bagyli, Bassa, Baka and Bakoko. MIGA states that "the Plant is located at Mpolongwe, a third class chiefdom inhabited by the Mabi tribe that has their chief situated at Bikondo (a village outside of the project area). The transmission line crosses fifteen villages in the South Region; the largest amongst them, are Fifinda (inhabited by Ewondo tribe) and Elogbatindi (inhabited mainly by Bassa/Bakoko tribe)." There is also a Batanga Tribe that resides alongside the transmission line. In the Littoral Region, the lines crosses eleven villages that are mostly inhabited by Adi and Bassa/Bakoko tribes. Additionally, the indigenous Bakola people (also known as "Pygmies") reside in the area of the Kribi-associated transmission line. The project therefore has the potential to impact the following human rights of these local and indigenous peoples.
MIGA documentation states that the Kribi operation will provide permanent employment to some 60 individuals. The ESRS states that expansion of the existing project will require the increase of that number to 82 individuals. The environmental and social impact assessment notes that "as demand for jobs outstrips supply, there will be inevitable disappointment, resentment and possible conflict between those who have secured jobs and those who have not. The level of competition could lead to corruption and unfair recruitment." Additionally, injuries may result from any improper management of occupational health and safety hazards during operation of the plant including explosions, road accidents, unauthorized access to site and public safety risks associated with transmission lines. Additionally, private security guards provide around the clock supervision of the facilities. MIGA maintains that the guards are trained in the adequate use of force, appropriate conduct toward workers and affected communities and human rights considerations," and will "ensure that security personnel abide by the requirements of PS 4."
The following questions may be relevant to determining whether you or your community's labor rights have been violated due to the Kribi operation:
- Can all members of your community apply for jobs in the context of the investment project?
- Are your wages sufficient to meet your basic needs and those of your family?
- Are your working conditions safe and healthy?
- What opportunities (legal or other) are available if you consider that your working conditions are not just and favorable?
RIGHT TO FOOD
In Cameroon, agriculture is the basis for 70% of the population's livelihood. MIGA notes that the majority of the project affected people sampled in the environmental and social impact assessment survey live by subsistence farming. As the initial project construction resulted in a 20% loss of local farmland, the continued operation or expansion of the project transmission lines may exacerbate the social effects resulting from the loss of farmland, and may affect the ability of local communities to rely on agriculture for subsistence.
The following questions may be relevant to determining whether you or your community has suffered a violation of your right to food as a result of the Kribi operation:
- Has your ability to subsist on your own land been affected since the beginning of the investment project?
- Has your access to good and affordable food in sufficient quantity been affected since the beginning of the investment project?
- What opportunities (legal or other) are available if feel that your right to food has been affected?
RIGHT TO WATER
MIGA documentation reports that surface water resources are the main water supply for local inhabitants for all domestic purposes (approximately 65% of households use surface water acting as the primary water source for drinking, bathing/washing, and cooking). The environmental and social impact assessment notes that the general practice for villages using surface water sources is to collect drinking water from areas upstream of the settlements and to use the watercourse within the settlements, or downstream, for washing, etc. Further,"approximately 16 villages existing near plant site area and along the transmission line route are likely to use surface water for some purpose even where groundwater drinking supplies are available." MIGA further notes that this "use of surface water for drinking is the predominant cause of illness in the area, especially for children, indicating that the streams are already compromised." Any further pollution resulting from Kribi's operation activities may further threaten the water quality.
MIGA notes that during the operational phase, the main risk is from any potential spills from the bulk diesel fuel storage required to provide a back up fuel supply during breaks in the gas supply. This storage consists of a bulk tank holding a total capacity of 2,000 m3. In addition the uncontrolled discharge of foul water from the staff welfare facilities on site may result in pollution of the already vulnerable surface water system and consequential impacts on water quality and downstream water users.
MIGA recognizes that for the majority of villages, groundwater is the predominant water supply, primarily being used for drinking water due to the contamination of local surface water resources and thus "its protection is critical." The environmental and social impact assessment states that the project has the potential to reduce the overall groundwater resources of an area as a result of over-extraction and to cause pollution to existing groundwater supplies so as to impact their potential use. Groundwater resources are especially vulnerable to potential impacts from pollutants leaking or spilled on the ground surface that may seep into an aquifer. "In addition, the groundwater known to exist within the plant site is at a relatively shallow depth (between 7 m to 8 m) and the surface soils are relatively permeable, rendering the groundwater resources of the area vulnerable to surface pollution incidents. In relation to the Kribi project the risk is primarily related to the storage of fuels and oils and the discharge of domestic effluent from the site. MIGA states that total storage volumes are estimated at 2000 m3 and will be held in a single storage tank within the plant site. Any major spill or long-term leakage from a tank of this capacity could have a significant impact on groundwater resources. Additionally MIGA indicates that at the new switchyard at the plant site will be constructed with step up transformers and circuit breakers. As transformers are oil filled, any potential leakage may result in contamination of ground with potential seepage to groundwater.
MIGA documentation indicates that the majority of the villages affected by the project do not have access to potable water. During consultation, communities expressed their desire to be provided potable water as a part of their compensation package. However, MIGA stated that this request was outside of the scope of the environmental and social impact assessment process.
The following questions may be relevant to determining whether you or your community has suffered a violation of your right to water as a result of the Kribi operation:
- Has your access to good, affordable, clean and safe water in sufficient quantity been affected since the beginning of the investment project?
- Does the company have a policy or programme to ensure that its activities do not affect people's right to water?
- What opportunities (legal or other) are available if you feel that your right to water has been affected?
RIGHT TO HEALTH
MIGA documentation states that emissions to air from the burning of natural gas and diesel will include carbon dioxide (CO2 ), oxides of nitrogen (NOx), SO2, and particulate matter, a proportion of which will be PM10 (likely responsible for adverse health effects because of their ability to reach the lower regions of the respiratory tract). Small levels of NOx can cause nausea, irritated eyes and/or nose, fluid forming in lungs and shortness of breath. Breathing in high levels of NOx can lead to: rapid, burning spasms; swelling of throat; reduced oxygen intake; a larger buildup of fluids in lungs and/or death. NOx, plus other gound-level ozone, can cause other major respiratory problems in high levels. It can also react with aerosols from aerosols cans and cause respiratory problems. Furthermore, NOx can cause visual impairment in the area affects by NOx.
Project documentation states that only 36% of surveyed households have access to potable water as compared with 49.5% at the national level. The household survey undertaken in the environmental and social impact assessment noted that water borne diseases are a major factor in the health of villages along the transmission line route and at the plant site. These diseases are understood to arise primarily from pollution of the surface water system by human activity. The most prevalent diseases amongst those surveyed are malaria and diarrhea; the incidence of malaria found during the surveys was 85% which is very high compared to the national level of 45.9% and the provincial level of, 45.8% for Littoral and 75.7% for the South Region. Additionally, only 30% of sampled households are in possession of treated mosquito bed nets. The incidence of diarrhea was found to be 81%. Infant mortality was also recorded as high. Within the past three years 23% of all households surveyed had suffered at least one death of a child under 5. The primary cause of death was diarrhea and malaria. All of the houses surveyed used open pit toilets.
Project documentation also notes that electric and magnetic fields are present wherever electricity is used. MIGA documentation states that for the last twenty years it has been widely debated if these fields are damaging to human health. As a result, international organizations such as the International Commission on Non-Ionising Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) and independent states have set guidelines on exposure limits on EMFs to minimize the potential for shocks and interference with the body's nervous system. For the Kribi Power Project, the way leave (i.e.the corridor within which the transmission line is centrally located) will result in the nearest properties being at a minimum distance of 15 m from the centre of the power lines. Although project documentation states that, with the rapid decay in EMF with distance, all international standards should be met, there is the potential for long-term effects.
Project documentation notes that the local communities do have access to health centres, however the centres also service Kribi residents who come to the centres because medicines are cheaper than in Kribi, which will likely cause considerable strain on the centres in the event of a major disease outbreak or population increase. Any of the above health complications may place additional stress on the local community health resources.
The following questions may be relevant to determining whether you or your community has suffered a violation of your right to health as a result of the Kribi operation:
- Has your health been affected since the beginning of the investment project?
- Have you experienced an increase in either respiratory or water based-illness?
- Has your access to good, affordable and acceptable health services been affected since the beginning of the investment project?
- What opportunities (legal or other) are available if you feel that your right to health has been affected?
RIGHT TO A HEALTHY ENVIRONMENT
MIGA documentation states that potentially significant air impacts may result from gaseous emissions from the power plants stacks during operation. Significant emissions may consist of nitric oxide which would be converted to nitric dioxide as the plumes disperse downward in the wind. Nitric dioxide helps form acid rain, contributes to global warming, hampers the growth of plants, and can form with other pollutants to form toxic chemicals. Emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2 ), oxides of nitrogen (NOx), SO2, and particulate matter, a proportion of which will be PM10, will also result from the combustion of fuel within the gas engines. The particulate matter emitted to atmosphere may include small quantities of trace metals. The emission of unburned hydrocarbons and nitric oxide may also contribute to the formation of ground level ozone. Although the primary fuel source will be natural gas from the Sanaga Sud natural gas field, there is no gas storage facility at the site, so whenever the gas supply is interrupted the plant will be fired by diesel oil.
With regards to potential surface water pollution, MIGA documentation states that the major risk is spills or leakages of diesel oil fuel. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration recognizes that "in terms of toxicity to water-column organisms, diesel is considered to be one of the most acutely toxic oil types. Fish, invertebrates, and seaweed that come in direct contact with a diesel spill may be killed. Fish kills have been reported for small spills in confined, shallow water."
The primary impacts on soils and land use arise from the need for land acquisition and clearance to facilitate the development of the proposed power plant and transmission line. Impacts arise during both construction and operation with most of the changes being permanent in nature. However, secondary impacts can also arise from the disturbance of soils and vegetation, leading to erosion and spillage of oils and other potentially polluting substances that could result in ground contamination. MIGA states that management of the wayleave for the power line will require the cutting of vegetation on a regular and consistent basis. As approximately 80% of the project area is secondary rainforest, removing woodland areas creates the potential for the altering the physical characteristics of the river basin. MIGA notes that "heavily forested areas have large canopy storage capacities, trees increase soil moisture deficits within soils so enhancing absorption of rainwater, and the root and ground flora systems provide soil cover and help to stabilize and protect soils. Removal of tree cover can greatly increase run-off rates and therefore flow characteristics in streams." Documentation notes that even following decommissioning, soils will be in a relatively poor state and therefore the site is likely to be returned to a forest cover.
Furthermore, MIGA recognizes that the disturbed forest has some ecological value in that it supports habitats with rare plants and habitats for small animals. The project activities have resulted in "permanent loss of existing habitats and related biodiversity due to land clearance for construction including: loss or alteration of habitat types due to clearance for the transmission line wayleave; habitat severance due to clearance of the 30 m wayleave through forest areas; the potential for increased hunting, firewood collection and timber collection due to provision of new access to forest areas; and disturbance of wildlife and potential increase in road kills, etc. due to the project construction and operation activities."
The following questions may be relevant to determining whether you or your community has suffered a violation of your right to a healthy environment as a result of the Kribi operation:
- Has the company provided information to you regarding the disposal of solid waste, hazardous waste, and other waste products, and what impact is this likely to have on the local environment?
- Has the company informed you of an environmental action plan in place for reducing adverse ecological effects on local communities?
- What options do you have (legal or otherwise) if the environmental impacts of the proposed operations become a problem for local communities and/or the local ecosystem?
RIGHT TO PROPERTY AND HOUSING
MIGA states that initial construction of the Kribi project involved resettlement and land acquisition of 8 households, including crop owners, 17 additional crop owners and 2 graves on the plant site. The environmental and social impact assessment reported that "on the transmission line route the project required resettlement and land acquisition of 86 households (18 and 68 in the Kribi and Eda subdivisions respectively), 665 crop owners (342 and 323 in the Kribi and Eda subdivisions respectively), 55 graves (12 and 43 Edea in the Kribi and Eda subdivisions respectively), an additional five graves within a house, that were not been formally identified by the Commission, and 34 Titled lands (4 and 30 in the -Kribi and Eda subdivisions respectively)."
During initial construction, MIGA states that homes (households) and crop owners (land use) were compensated through the implementation of a comprehensive Resettlement Action Plan that required land ownership within the area to be verified, in order to ensure that compensation payments were adequate and satisfactory are met and that the rightful owners and users of land were compensated. However, the issues of legal land titles and disputes over the legality of land ownership is a significant issue in the project area due to difficulties obtaining land title. MIGA notes that "within the project area, over 50% of the sampled landowners that may be affected claim to have customary land rights and only 24% of those sampled declared having legal title." Due to this low percentage of owners with clear legal title, the potential for rights disputes regarding land ownership is high. 16% (8 households) stated they were in the process of obtaining legal title. Additionally, 53% of people interviewed have declared that the lands they occupied were ancestral ones. Further discussions with local people revealed that the majority of people couldn't afford to obtain legal title, as the process is both time-consuming and costly. Moreover, during consultations, several local residents raised their concerns about corruption in obtaining legal title.
As the affected population's livelihoods are largely land-based, MIGA recognizes the Kribi Power Project may have a considerable effect on people's livelihoods and community. Project documentation notes that there are currently no national Cameroonian guidelines for permissible land uses within the wayleave area. Regulations in other African countries typically do not allow agricultural activity to be undertaken within the way leave area. However, this is difficult to enforce, resulting in common use of such land for agriculture. Use of the land for this project will reduce local available farmland by 20%. As a result the entire agricultural activity within the wayleave would be lost with the consequential impacts on livelihoods and household incomes, including those resulting from relocation. Furthermore, MIGA noted that "any dissatisfaction between the company and resettled communities that was initiated prior to and during the construction phase has the potential to continue into the operational [and expansion] phase of the project."
The following questions may be relevant to determining whether you or your community has suffered a violation of your right to property as a result of the Kribi operation:
- Have you and your community had an opportunity to input on resettlement plans and provide suggestions about alternatives to relocation to the company?
- Has the land and/or housing provided following relocation been adequate and of an equal or better quality than the land and/or housing previously occupied?
- If you were resettled, do you feel that you received adequate compensation for your land, housing, or crops?
- What options do you have (legal or otherwise) at your disposal in the event that you feel that your right to property or adequate housing has been compromised?
RIGHT TO CULTURE
MIGA project documentation states that "cultural heritage features of local importance may be present in the project area, including gravesites, and areas of Sacred Forest that exist between Eda and Kribi." The Environmental and Social Impact Assessment further stated that around 55 graves would be affected during construction, either at the plant site, or along the way leave.
Additionally, during consultation, affected communities expressly voiced their concerns regarding damage to medicinal and sacred trees existing on the plant site and along transmission lines. MIGA documentation further affirmed that the construction of the plant site and clearance of the wayleave involves the potential loss of some species of medicinal trees.
The following questions may be relevant to determining whether you or your community's right to culture has been violated as a result of the Kribi operation:
- Were you informed and asked to provide input prior to the destruction of any valuable cultural heritage sites or relics for construction of the project?
- Has your access to cultural institutions been affected since the beginning of the investment project?
- Has your ability to maintain and use your traditional customs been affected since the beginning of the investment project?
- What opportunities (legal or other) are available if you feel that your right to take part in cultural life has been restricted or denied?
- Has your community has been discriminated against because of its culture?
RIGHTS OF INDIGENOUS PEOPLES
MIGA documentation states that the Bakola people (also known as "Pygmies") reside in the area of the Kribi-associated transmission line. MIGA notes that "the ongoing denial of the rights of the Baka, Bagy'li, Bakola and Bedzang to own, control and peacefully enjoy their traditionally owned lands, territories and resources by the Cameroon state has been well documented, as has Cameroon's failure to protect these highly vulnerable indigenous peoples and to recognise the rights that attach to that status under international law. The World Bank Group has recognized Bakola as an Indigenous People because of their attachment to and traditional dependence on forest resources that is distinct from the farming- and fishing-based activities of their neighbors." The Kribi Project's transmission line's right of way affects 30 Bakola families through a loss of medicinal herbs, which are important to Bakola livelihood, and also results in loss of rattan, which is important to the construction of indigenous dwellings. Two Bakola families also have crop land within the right of way that were directly affected by the implementation of the project.
MIGA states that the Kribi Power Development Company prepared and implemented a Community Indigenous Peoples Plan (CIPP) in order to mitigate the impacts described above. However, a supervision mission undertaken in 2013 indicated that, as currently designed, the plan did not appear to be working. As a result, project lenders, including the IFC requested that a reassessment of the plan be undertaken and mandated that a revised plan be prepared. MIGA states that the Kribi Power Development Company is currently revising the plan with the support of lenders social advisors. It is imperative to ensure that Kribi Power Development Company complies with this directive in order to ensure the rights of the Bakola indigenous peoples.
The following questions may be relevant to determining if your indigenous rights are being violated as a result of Kribi Power Development Company's Operations:
- Have you been discriminated against as an indigenous community?
- Has the project interfered with your ability to maintain your political, economic and social structures in accordance with your cultures, spiritual traditions, histories and philosophies?
- Have you been able to participate in decision making regarding the the development and sustainable management of your environment?
- If relocated, was this after you had given your free, prior, and informed consent to be resettled?
- Were you given adequate compensation as part of the resettlement action plan for the project?
- If your indigenous rights were violated, do you have clear information on ways (legal and otherwise) of seeking justice, remedy, or compensation?"
RIGHTS OF MARGINALIZED AND DISCRIMINATED AGAINST GROUPS
MIGA notes that the project area is characterized by moderate to severe poverty. Furthermore, according to the initial environmental and social impact assessment, physical and mental disabilities were found in 39% of the households. Project documentation states that these population characteristics indicate that a large number of the affected population could be vulnerable and require additional assistance in the event of resettlement and land acquisition. Although these impacts were primarily associated with initial construction, any additional impacts described above may disproportionately affect these groups. Additionally, studies have found many gaps and limitations in systemic provisions available to support the rights of persons with disabilities in Cameroon. Any disabled persons experiencing a violation of their rights may lack requisite access to appropriate remedies under Cameroonian law.
Additionally, local residents expressed concern during the consultations that they would not be receiving electricity from the project. Project documentation notes that "when taking into account the Region's total population and the proximity of electricity plants, the number of electricity subscribers is low." Notably, the village of Dehane has no electricity capacity at all. According to a household survey, poverty, and some local level inefficiencies and poor access to services are largely to blame. MIGA states however that the project involves the installation of a power plant and a 225 kV line only and does not cover local power distribution. Project documentation states that "transmission from this high voltage line to villages within the project area is not practical and is outside of the scope of this assessment" although provision of electricity is a key concern of the local communities.
The following questions may be relevant to determining if the rights of marginalized or discriminated against groups have been violated as a result of the Kribi operation:
- Have you been discriminated against in during the planning or operational stage of the Kribi project?
- Are you at a disadvantage or have you been disproportionately affected by the project due to your sex, race, religion, or socioeconomic class?
- Have you received appropriate information and were you allowed the opportunity to provide input regarding your special needs in the planning or operational stages of the project?
- What options (legal or otherwise) do you have if you feel that you have been discriminated against or marginalized in the project decision making process?