Safeguard is a process by which an assessment of a project is conducted to evaluate the risks; impact involved in depth, breadth, and the type of analysis depends on the nature, scale and potential environmental and social impact of the proposed project.
It involves identification of ways of improving project selection, sitting, planning, design and implementation by preventing, mining, mitigating, or compensating for adverse environmental impacts and enhancing positive impacts – environmentally and socially
It also take into account, the natural environment (air, water and land); human health and safety; social aspects (Involuntary settlement, indigenous peoples and cultural property) trans-boundary and global environmental aspects.
The World Bank describes Safeguard policies as those, which provide a mechanism for integrating environmental and social concerns into development making. In addition to providing guidance on measures to improve and sustain operations in specific areas, most safeguard policies provide that :
- potentially adverse environmental impacts affecting the physical environment, ecosystem functions and human health, and physical cultural resources, as well as specific social impacts, should be identified and assessed early in the project cycle;
- unavoidable adverse impacts should be minimized or mitigated to the extent feasible; and
- timely information should be provided to stakeholders, who should have the opportunity to comment on both the nature and significance of impacts and the proposed mitigation measures.
Safeguard as a key strategy for Government’s Transportation policy
The State government’s aim at reducing adverse external impacts of intervention in the transport sector is through the provision of safeguards. These are manifested in the underlisted policy statements of the State government to the effect that:
- The principal concerns relating to the external impacts of transport are associated with personal safety, noise levels, vehicle emissions, and the disposal of waste product. Studies have shown that the level of environmental degradation from transport in Lagos exceeds international norms. The road accident rate is estimated to be amongst the highest in the world.
- Government takes as its priority the improvement of transport safety, particularly that of pedestrians. It will improve driving and vehicle standards through enhanced training, inspection and enforcement. At the same time, it will develop secure networks for non-motorized transport with grade separation from main road arteries wherever feasible.
- The State will work with the Federal Government in defining and raising standards for vehicle emissions, and will develop the testing capacity to ensure that these are adhered to. It will also act to control the dumping of waste oil and other transport products, and provide incentives for their recycling.
- In safeguarding citizens’ interests, Government also seeks to maximize access to transport services. In particular, it will work to raise the standards of accessibility provided for those with impaired mobility in both the vehicles and transport infrastructure.