Sondu-Miriu Hydroepower Project
Question No. 151-133.
JULY 31, 2001.
The SONDU MIRIU HYDROPOWER PLANT PROJECT
IN THE REPUBLIC OF KENYA.
Mr. Koizumi, Junichirou, the Prime Minister of Japan.
Mr. Watanuki, Tamisuke, the Speaker of the House of Representatives.
Initial Sender of the Question:
Mr. Sutou, Nobuhiko, the House of Representative.
Although it has been agreed to reconsider the Sondu-Miriu Hydroelectric Project has been agreed to reconsider by both the Japanese government and international organization, the Japanese foreign minister showed her concern against the reconsideration. What does the Japanese government think about it?
We believe that our foreign minister did not disagree with the reconsideration of the Project. What she stated was to explain a local inspection done by a section chief of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and to consider additional money to be lent for the Project.
According to the press and Japanese living in the local area in Kenya, Ambassador Aoki to Kenya, made local people confused, saying that the Project was cancelled because of some NGOs or politicians. Did Ambassador Aoki follow the instructions by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Japan?
We are not sure about the source what you are talking about. Ambassador Aoki introduced arguments having been made in Japan about the Project and showed related documents including the Diet minutes. He also explains details of what the Japanese embassy in Kenya request to Kenya regarding environmental and social problems. Ambassador Aoki is persuading Kenya to do something appropriates on these issues, which is based on the Japanese governmentfs policy.
Where did a section chief of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs carry out the site inspection? What involved the site inspection?
The site inspection was carried out in the area or its suburb where the Project will be enforced. The site inspection included a local site inspection, hearings from local residents and members of Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers and interviews with NGO members. Additionally, in Nairobi, the exchanging opinions with the Kenyan
Government officials concerned and also interviews with NGO members and the press were held.
What kind of local residents did they do hearings with?
How were hearings carried out? What were the criteria for choosing these local residents?
As many local residents as possible living near the area of the Project were gathered together including the ones who opposed the Project.
Hearings were carried out at 10 places in the area of the Project where a questionnaire including a question how the Technical Committee should be was handed out. People who attended the hearings were asked to fill in the questionnaire. The result of hearings is as follows:
-None out of 260 people wants the Project to be cancelled.
-Two thirds want the Project to be continued under conditions where environmental and social problems are going to be dealt with.
-One third wants the Project to be continued without any conditions.
Give us details of hearings from NGO members. Hand in a list of which NGOs participated in the interview.
Interviews with NGO members were done in Nairobi twice (16.06.2001, 17.06.2001) and in the area of the Project once (18.06.2001).
Participants in the interviews are members of NGOs such as Africa Water Network (AWN), Climate Network Africa (CAN) and Eco News, and also members of the Committee of Development of Nyakach Region and the Committee of Monitoring Sondu-Miriu Region.
At the interviews, NGO members showed their support on the Project, where the achievement of the Project would create more jobs and also reduce a great deal of poverty. They would also like to receive more funds in order for the Technical Committee to continue its activity.
As far as members of Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers who you did hearings from are concerned, whereabouts do they work and what field of job they were doing in Kenya?
In Kisumu city we did the hearing of one member of NGOs who have been to the area of the Project. As the hearing was not under the precondition to make public, we donft want to answer this question.
Hand in the minutes of exchanging opinions with Kenyan Government officials concerned.
No official minutes were taken.
What did the Japanese Government appeal to the Kenyan Government based on a series of the site inspection?
We explained the result of the site inspection that there were a great number of local residents who agreed with the Project and supported carrying out the Project. We also pointed out NGO membersf support for the Project and concern about environmental and social problems. We also asked the Kenyan Government to maintain the Technical committee effectively and neutrally to deal with such problems.
Responding the above, Raila Odinga, Energy Minister and Odoyo, Vice Foreign Minister, insisted that the Kenyan Government was determined to succeed in carrying out the Project, setting up the Technical Committee to solve problems under the Project. Odinga Energy Minister and Odoyo Vice Foreign Minister also pointed out that the Project was not only for one area but also for the whole country where most of the nations are in favor of the Project.
How did you deal with requests handed in by local NGOs to the party of the site inspection?
We received a document from NGOs at the interview with them on 16th June 2001.
Although NGO members approved the Project in the document they handed in, they also requested the following:
1. Regional Development Projects mentioned in a related inspection to the Project that was carried out in advance should be also enforced.
2. An operation of the Technical committee should be improved.
3. A third party should inspect how the funds of the Project should be used.
What we responded to the above was as follows:
1.All Regional Development Projects should be considered apart from the Sondu-Miriu Hydropower Plant Project.
2.NGO members should also attend committees and propose concrete plans to improve the operation of the Technical Committee.
3.In the case of the Project run by the ODA, a contract company is going to demand payment and the organs concerned are going to investigate the amount of the payment. After that, Japan Bank for International Cooperation will confirm the result of the investigation. Finally, the payment will be made to the Contract Company by the organs concerned. Therefore, there will be no need for the third party to inspect how the funds of the Project have been used.
Make a report written by the Socio-Environmental Examination Mission from Japan Bank for International Cooperation public.
According to the local inspection on the Project, the following 3 points are confirmed in the report.
1.Although some measures how to deal with dust appeared to need improving, as a whole, there would be no serious effect on the environment and society.
2.An extra inspection regarding maintaining the necessary flow of water in the Sondu River is going to be carried out to assure the latest situation.
3.As far as compensation for the relocation of local residents is concerned, the organs concerned explained what would happen to the local residents, and nearly paid appropriate compensation.
How did the Japan Bank for International Cooperation react based on the result of the report?
1.As far as measures against dust are concerned, the Japan Bank for International Cooperation will shorten intervals to water, and take measures such as paving roads if necessary.
2.They will monitor the situation of life styles of local residents who had to relocate new places, considering arguments made at the Technical Committee.
Answers to the questionnaire we handed in came out as a report by the Technical Committee on 7.6.2001. Make the report public.
We heard that the report distributed was withdrawn in Kenya. Why was it?
A report distributed on 7th June was a draft. Its new version including corrections of the draft which were discussed, was handed in and made public as a final report on 6th July at the meeting after reconfirming its content.
This report is a summary of the result of the inspection and recommendations about Compensation and Relocation, Recruitment and Equality of Economic Opportunity, Environment, Health and Security
Has the system, which will be enforced to solve problems, based on the report, been prepared? If so, show how to deal with the budget for that?
The organs concerned are going to summarize problems pointed out in the report and deal with them.
Regarding a meeting with local residents:
The organs concerned are going to do monitoring to The Technical Committee about how recommendations on the report are enforced, and authorize the Technical Committee to give some advice if necessary.
They came up with the resolution that meetings with local residents and the committees of the Technical Committee would be held regularly.
Regarding how to deal with the budget:
It is not clear what you mean by the budget. However, the necessary expenses are going to be paid by the organs concerned. The concrete measures of how to solve problems are going to be discussed by the Kenyan Government, considering discussion by the Technical Committee.
Show the problems on the Report of the Impact on the Environment in 1993, referring to environmental and social effects from the Project.
The Report of the Impact on the Environment in 1993 is based on the Assessment of the Impact on the Environment in 1991, adding some inspections on the social aspect. The report indicates problems as follows:
1)Relocation of local residents
2)Effects on ways of local residentsf living due to compulsory purchase of some parts of land
3)Effects on the ferry operation in the Sondu River
4)Relocation of two junior high schools near the area of the Project
5)Water pollution of a drainage system that will arise under the construction of the Project.
As far as 1, 2 and 3 are concerned, discussions about contents and methods of compensation have already been made. They have already almost finished compensation. Regarding 4, two schools have already been relocated. The traders concerned have already dealt with the problems of the water pollution.
The Sondu-Miriu hydropower plant Project causes the huge reduction of water in the lower reaches than a dam in the Sondu River. What is the current situation on the Water Supply Project in those areas?
Upon completion of the power plant, when water of the Sondu River is to be diverted, especially during the dry season, maintenance of the necessary flow of water is required to avoid reducing the flow of the River, which may give a negative impact on biodiversity.
Japan doesnft support the Water Supply Project that has failed to provide the amount of water supply as it was initially planned. The Technical Committee is going to discuss to improve the situation. Japan would like to do something appropriate about it.
Did the tradersf concerned and local residents make a contract on the plan to control the amount of water in order to keep its necessary amount regarding any situation of the Sondu River?
No contract has been made between the organs concerned and local residents. The Project is supposed to be carried out under a precondition of maintaining the amount of water in a river. Japan has made a request to the Kenyan Government that it is important to prepare for a structure in Kenya where decisions the Technical committee made can be carried out properly.
According to Nation on 20.6.2001, Raila Odinga, Energy Minister, stated that the Japanese Government was planning to construct schools or health institutions after the completion of the Project. Is this true?
Ambassador Aoki stated that Japan would like to give support to the continuing development of the area of the Project when Japanese Socio-Environmental Examination Committee had a meeting with Odinga Energy Minister. However, Ambassador Aoki or other government officials concerned didnft mention the concrete plans for support such as constructing schools or health institutions at all.
The source of the Sondu River is the Mau River located in the south-east area of Victoria Lake. What kinds of measures have been carried out to protect the Mau forest.
The Forest Bureau of the Ministry of Resources takes good care of the Mau forest under the Kenyan Nation law for the protection of nature.
We believe that the third party such as NGOs and men with learning and experience, apart from the government and Japan Bank for International Cooperation, should take part in assessing Kenyan ability to repay debts obligations again. If you carry out the debt sustainability analysis, how would you do that?
Although we are not sure about what you mean by the debt sustainability analysis, we should carefully continue to examine the following as references to predict the ability of debt sustainability of Kenya for the future:
1.Movements of micro economy
2.Trades of the borrower country, the world economy, and various indefinite factors
3.Analysis done by International Currency Fund or World Bank which are independent from the Government or Japan Bank for International Cooperation.
Additionally, we are particularly considering the facts that Kenya has agreed to exercise a measure to decrease poverty in attempt to stabilize its economy with coorporation of the International Currency Fun. The creditor countries that participated in the conference held in Paris in November 2000 agreed on a postponement of repayment by Kenya provided that the debt will not be cut down, and that Kenya has been showing its policy not to seek a cut down of its debts.
If you have done the debt sustainability analysis before, hand it in.
There is no report, which summarizes Kenyan debt sustainability analysis so far.
Are you planning to examine the practical effectiveness of the Project by a third party?
We are not sure what you mean by gexamining the practical effectiveness of the Projecth. However, it is important to assess the ODA impartially and objectively. Therefore, we have already done some research on the assessment of the ODA by men who are well informed, consultants, international experts and NGOs. The ratio of research by third parties has increased every year. We are determined to continue impartial and objective assessments by third parties.
Regarding the ODA for the Phase II of the Project, we have already asked a question in the last questionnaire how to use the ODA of 10.554 billion yen for the Phase II of the Project and how much to spend according to each item. Yet, answers we have received on 16th June didnft include the answer for that. Let us know how much money is going to be paid and who is going to receive the payment for each item.
We havenft decided the details. The situation is that we are thinking of adding more ODA for the remaining engineering works for the Phase I of the Project as the Phase II of the Project. However, concrete scales of the ODA are not decided yet.
We have already handed in applications to Japan Bank for International Cooperation for an agreement of a bid result on 16th June from the companies who want to undertake the construction, assuming that the ODA for the Phase of the Project actually will proceed. The Government has been still considering providing the ODA for the Phase II of the Project. Japan Bank for International Cooperation is going to decide what to do after the Government decides whether or not to provide the ODA.
Why can the special environmental interest be applied to the Project despite the fact that the Project cannot avoid providing a bad influence on the environment?
That the special environmental interest can be applied straight away because the ODA Project is one of hydropower is not the case. Rather, it is applied to the Project, which contributes measures against global environmental and pollution problems.
The project uses water as the recyclable energy, so that the consumption of fossil fuels created by operating the hydropower plant can be reduced and the generation and output of greenhouse gases can be controlled. Additionally, the damage to the environment by carrying out the Project where a hydroelectric power generation through the diversion of natural waterways is operated would be quite a small amount.
Because of all these aspects above on the Project, we have concluded that the Project can contribute measures against global environmental problems.
Therefore, the Project is considered suitable to get the special environmental interest.
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