Social Impact Assessment

Social Impact AssessmentUnderstanding and Managing Social Impacts

CCCS has extensive experience in assisting projects prepare the social documentation necessary to demonstrate compliance with national law and adherence with international best practice. All projects, regardless of what sector they operate in, are likely to generate some level of social impact—at least to the communities living close to where project activities take place. Additionally, major projects are very likely to induce indirect and cumulative social impacts that can reach far beyond the immediate area of project facilities, and spread in hard-to-predict manners. The Social Impact Assessment (SIA) is one of the most important tools available to project operators to anticipate and respond to potential social impacts. As such, the SIA makes up a very important part of a project’s social documentation.

CCCS offers strategic support services to help clients plan for and conduct SIAs and other social assessments that are needed to design effective measures for mitigating and avoiding negative social impacts, as well as enhancing and making the most of positive social impacts. We are especially adept with designing participatory stakeholder consultation and engagement strategies for project-affected Indigenous Peoples, ethnic minority populations, and other vulnerable groups (such as women, children, the elderly, people with disabilities, migrant workers, and the very poor). CCCS Associates also have strong capacity in addressing issues of resettlement, land use rights, and cultural heritage protection, and have worked across the spectrum of social development.

The tools and methods CCCS utilizes when assisting clients to ascertain potential social project impacts include:

  • Field study teams including local community members and local language/dialect speakers
  • International team members with extensive ethnographic experience in the country and region
  • Social and political risk analysis
  • Stakeholder mapping
  • Social baseline studies
  • Land acquisition surveys
  • Cultural heritage assessments
  • Focus group discussions and intensive interviews
  • Participatory rapid appraisals
Selected Project Experience
Integrated Pastoral Development Project (China)

Along with Dr. Guldin, CCCS’ Chinese associates figured prominently in this World Bank-financed Ministry of Agriculture project in Western China. Village-level SIAs, along with training for project staff, proved to be a hallmark of this successful project in herding innovations.

Program 135 (Vietnam)

CCCS provided critical assessment of ethnic minority issues for a consortium of international lenders (World Bank, DfID, AusAID, SIDA, et al.) regarding an initiative to support the government's program to upgrade poverty reduction efforts in minority and mountainous districts. Focus in social assessment studies was placed on exploring sensitive issues such as the government’s policy of encouraging people practicing shifting horticulture to settle in fixed villages.

India Railway Sector Investment (India)

In 2008, CCCS was contracted to provide specialized inputs related to integrated social and involuntary resettlement measures for India Ministry of Railways. In this capacity, we reviewed relevant policy documents of the Asian Development Bank and the Government of India (land acquisition laws, compensation and entitlement guidelines) at both the central and state levels. Working with a local Indian team of specialists, CCCS then formulated appropriate planning instruments in close consultation with, and ensuring the full disclosure of information to, project-affected rural and tribal populations. A critical element of CCCS work with the India Railway Sector Investment Project was to devise a Resettlement Framework which would guide resettlement planning for the current and future tranches of the sector loan. Similar work was done for the Indigenous Peoples Development Framework. CCCS suggested resettlement improvement mechanisms for several Railway Sector Investment sub-project areas—with special emphasis upon matters of project planning and implementation monitoring instruments. We were also the principal consultants tasked with finalizing the resettlement and Indigenous Peoples planning documents in consultation with the executing agency and project-affected peoples, and providing training in implementing the Resettlement Plans to local project implementation offices.

Thematic Review of Social Assessment (East and Southeast Asia)

To determine how effective the World Bank’s own social assessments have been in Asia, the Bank turned to CCCS to evaluate social assessments for projects in China, Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam. The report generated pointed to the need to craft culturally appropriate and operationally useful assessments.