7188. Review of the ESIA deep Sea Port Seme Podji - Benin

Following a previous scoping advice, the Beninese ESIA Agency ABE requested the NCEA to review the resulting ESIA report.

Advisory reports and other documents

28 Feb 2016: Advisory review

Significant details

The Pétrolin Group was developer of this new deepwater port at Sèmè-Kpodji, Benin. The Benin Environment Agency (ABE) is responsible for overseeing that procedure and for the project’s environmental certification. It asked the NCEA to review the resulting ESIA report. The review was done by the same working group that also did the earlier scoping advice. The NCEA found that the report had been compiled in accordance with international standards and, as far as it could tell, the Beninese requirements. The ESIA provided the majority of the information considered necessary for the competent authority to decide whether to issue an environmental and social compliance certificate. The project’s impact was described in broad terms, with mitigating and compensatory measures taken into account. That impact was within the bounds acceptable under international standards and practices, and can be further limited by the authorities should they so require. Nonetheless, the NCEA has also identified a number of significant shortcomings. First, the port’s impact had been described at an annual throughput of 80,000 TEU, whereas the actual figure would probably be much higher. As a result, some of the effects may have been underestimated. Second, the Environmental and Social Management Plan contained no measures to be taken by the project’s public-sector co-developer. This means that the competent authority could not assess the likely impact of such measures. Finally, the co-developers had not properly described one significant option in respect of coastal protection, namely that they themselves assume legal responsibility for it (despite the fact that this variant might actually substantially reduce the risk of coastal erosion). Whatever the case, the NCEA believed it to be preferable, when considering the necessity for a project on this scale, to develop a comprehensive vision for the development of the entire coastal zone, at the very least covering its ports, coastal erosion and nature conservation. Linked to a strategic environmental assessment (SEA), this procedure should precede the ESIA phase.

Parties involved

Members of the working group

George (Gregorius) Cornelus de Gooijer
Fulco Jongsma
Dano Roelvink
Wim Vlemmix

Chair: Rudy Rabbinge
Technical secretary: Sibout Nooteboom

Further details

Country: Benin

Last modified: 21 Dec 2023