1. General Background of Project / Assignment
Trans Hindukush road connectivity is very crucial for not only economic development of Afghanistan but also its national integration. Salang Highway, built almost half a century before carries almost all the traffic from North to South and vice-versa. It connects the Baghlan-Kunduz region to Jalalabad-Kabul region with almost ten thousand vehicles transporting goods and passengers every day, the Salang highway is one of the highest motor-able roads and gets frequently affected by heavy snowfall and landslides etc. The traffic disruptions cause huge economic costs and losses. Only alternative route to Salang highway is the unpaved Bamyan to Baghlan highway, which due to its limitations only is used by smaller vehicles. The Government of Islamic Republic of Afghanistan (GoIRA) has identified the Bamyan to Baghlan Corridor also called the Bamyan-Dushi Road, located within the Provinces of Bamyan and Baghlan, as a national highway requiring significant construction maintenance because of its strategic importance in providing an alternate route for Salang highway. The Ministry of Public Works with the financial support of World Bank committed to upgrade the B&B highway road and rehabilitate the Salang road corridor. Therefore, in accordance with WB Safeguards policies and Afghanistan EIA regulations and policies, considering the scale of the project activities, a detailed Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) was carried out for the Trans-Hindukush road connectivity project. In addition, the Resettlement Policy Framework and Environmental and Social Management Framework have been prepared and accordingly the Resettlement Action Plans and ESMPs need to be prepared for each segments of the road. The Project is expected to prepare the women consultation and Gender Inclusion guideline.