GRID Screening Checklist - a useful resource to assess GRID-compatibility
By Shambhavi Basnet
Green, Resilient and Inclusive Development (GRID) plays a crucial role in poverty reduction and sustainable growth. The process of green economic growth is to environmental and climate change concerns, so a multidimensional approach is required to incorporate green, resilient, and inclusive principles. In Nepal, local governments have the opportunity to design and implement GRID-aligned infrastructure as a uniquely placed solution to the problems arising from rapid population growth and unplanned urbanisation. To best support GRID-aligned infrastructure development, these principles must be considered from the start when potential projects are screened and identified.
The GRID screening checklist is one such tool to support this process by identifying key risks for proposed projects around resilience and inclusion, ultimately helping to develop measures that mitigate these risks and build inclusion/resilience. The checklist will ensure that the implementation of a project has minimal disaster and climate-related risks while also promoting benefits for the most vulnerable and marginalised populations.
The intention of the screening checklist is not to discourage or restrict the implementation of a plan or a project, but to maximise the effectiveness by establishing linkages with green and resilient principles as well as the needs of marginalised communities. The GRID screening checklist will also ensure that the proposed project does not heighten disaster and climate vulnerability by exacerbating the already stressed environment.
To illustrate this process, the checklist screens for potential project–related water, food, energy, ecosystems, land, air, inclusion, physical, and social impacts as well as for relevant organisations, networks/linkages, and legal provisions. The variables assessed for each of these components are presented as questions which are then ranked as low (L), medium (M) or high (H) risk based on available facts and expert judgement. Not all questions are always applicable to every project, but the comprehensive list ensures as many potential impacts as possible are considered. If a component is labelled as high (H) risk, a suitable intervention then must be identified and implemented simultaneously with the development activity so that all risks are sufficiently mitigated. If the risk is assessed as medium (M), any measures for risk reduction can be implemented at a later stage in the plan or program/project, ultimately minimising impact. Likewise, for components that are low (L) risk, adaptative measures – if they are needed at all – can be developed after a more in-depth understanding of the risk as the project is implemented. The screening checklist is intended for use by municipal staff from Environment Engineers with at 5 years of experience to Senior Civil Engineers with more than 10 years of experience working in municipal project planning and implementation.
The GRID screening checklist has been included in the Brief Environment Study (BES) and Initial Environmental Examination (IEE) Guidelines developed in Pokhara Metropolitan City and Sub-Metropolitan City with support from NURP. In Pokhara, the guidelines have already been approved after incorporating feedback from municipal officials, and the team is continuing to work with JSMC officials for approval.
In Pokhara Metropolitan City, the NURP team held a training program in February 2023 on BES, IEE and Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) guidelines and the GRID checklist. Participants were divided into groups to apply the GRID checklist to assess planned projects. Through the exercise, municipal officials had the chance to engage with the checklist tangibly and provide feedback on the process. Through the BES, IEE, and EIA guidelines as well as the GRID screening checklist, staff will have the ability and a system in place to facilitate and ensure environment–friendly and inclusive development at the local level, increasing local governments’ accountability to citizens and building resilience in urban communities.
NURP conducted a similar orientation session for the Local Infrastructure Support Programme (LISP) pilot project team including engineers and governance experts from fifteen rural and urban municipalities. These local governments, including Pokhara and , as well as others across Nepal will have an opportunity to use the checklist as a supporting resource to assess whether infrastructure projects are aligned with GRID and to address any potential risks. The GRID checklist will help enhance overarching sustainability, inclusion and resilience across potential infrastructure projects.
The GRID screening checklist can be downloaded here.