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FAO/UNEP/UN-Energy Bioenergy Decision Support Tool -
MODULE 6: People and Processes
A project level grievance mechanism, ideally established from
the earliest stages of project preparation, can assist ongoing
mitigation of risks and provide a cheaper and faster way to
resolve grievances than formal external mechanisms (e.g.
courts). Grievance mechanisms offer a systematic method for
recording, negotiating and resolving disputes between project
proponents and local communities (WRI, 2009). Formal grievance
mechanisms, as opposed to ad hoc informal conversations with
community members, are more inclusive; they assure greater
access to diverse members or groups in the community, provide
greater consistency, are more resistant to staff turnover, and
can detect systemic problems more easily. Compared to formal
external mechanisms, grievance mechanisms can achieve early
resolution by delegating decisions on grievance resolution to lower
levels in the company. For a grievance mechanism to function
effectively, the project proponent must:
1. clarify possible remedies to identifed grievances;
2. set aside adequate budget and staff resources for the
mechanism; and
3. undertake regular joint reviews with the community on
outcomes and effectiveness of the grievance mechanism.
Local third parties such as civil society, legal experts or local
intellectual leaders can support communities in the dialogue with
the project proponent through the grievance mechanism.
Engagement is only effective if it is informed. Without transparent
information on project compliance there are risks that communi-
ties may turn against the project even if agreements are adhered
to. “Participatory monitoring is a process through which local
communities systematically track the impacts of a project, and
work jointly with proponents to resolve any concerns that are
detected (IFC, 2007).” In most projects, independent experts are
hired to verify the proponent’s compliance with obligations in the
social and environmental management plan. Findings may not be
publicly available. Participatory monitoring instead can build trust.
Communities may need capacity support through training and
independent technical advice, or by setting up multi-stakeholder
monitoring schemes in which communities participate alongside
technical experts.
A participatory approach can also be valuable when monitoring
is undertaken at other levels or contexts than the project level.
Although the type of monitoring may be quite different, it will
nevertheless be relevant and applicable in some manner at the
level of programmes or policies and even for a national or regional
bioenergy strategy. Monitoring of larger projects or programmes
or of the entire bioenergy strategy will generally need to be
embedded in broader reporting processes, as discussed further
<Monitoring, Measurement, Reporting and Evaluation>.
Monitoring, Measurement, Reporting
and Evaluation
Monitoring, Measurement, Reporting and Evaluation can help
ensure that national policies are meeting national objectives and
that they are able to improve the effective delivery of public poli-
cies; it provides a tool to help ensure that governments can track
the progress of policies and that promises are being delivered
to stakeholders. MMRE systems provide feedback mechanisms
that are particularly important for bioenergy strategy and policy
objectives, due to the dynamic and evolving nature of bioenergy
deployment options. MMRE offers a systematic process that
governments can also use to measure their achievements and
feed information back onto ongoing processes.
Monitoring and evaluation assessments are conducted at
different points during the program or policy cycle. Although
both processes complement each other, monitoring systems
can provide an indication and feedback on where a program/
policy is relative to its expected accomplishments and objectives;
whereas evaluation systems provides information on why or how
a program/policy has not met expected outcomes, or why or how
it has been successful.
There are a variety of policy analysis models that can evaluate the
progress and interventions of various policies for decision-makers,
but they differ depending on the intended outcome or indicator.
For example, if an overall national strategy is to harness bioen-
ergy for the purposes of rural development, different evaluation
methods can assess new job creation and economic develop-
ment impacts. Whereas, if a national policy centres around the
use of bioenergy to contribute to national GHG targets, then a
M&E system might continually measure GHG emissions from
that intervention. Monitoring and evaluation processes should be
undertaken by the appropriate government oversight bodies if it is
through a formal evaluation process, or in some cases third party
auditors if requested.
Box 3: Key Elements of an Impact Beneft Agreement
• Management of Impacts, as described in the environmental and social management plan, through a matrix, budget, and
timeline of the proponent’s mitigation obligations.
• Benefts and Compensation that the community will receive, including fnancial mechanisms for distributing revenue to the
• Community Consent for the proponent to conduct specifc activities for a certain period of time.
• Participatory Monitoring of proponent’s commitments.
• Grievance Mechanism to resolve community concerns with day-to-day project impacts.
• Dispute Resolution clauses can resolve disputes over interpretation of the agreement through arbitration.
• Flexibility Mechanisms to review and revise agreement as project conditions change over time, including a process for seeking
community consent for any subsequent expansions or modifcations to the project.
Source: WRI, 2009