Environmental and Social Management System

The Environmental and Social Management System (ESMS) provides a systematic procedure to check IUCN projects for potential adverse environmental and social impacts to assure that negative impacts are avoided or minimised to the extent possible while positive impacts are stimulated.

ESMS System Documents

Relevant system documents are organized in four categories:

 (1) the ESMS Manual that describes the ESMS Policy Framework (including ESMS principles), the institutional and operational arrangements for the ESMS and the ESMS review procedures along the project cycle,

 (2) the four ESMS standards,

 (3) guidance notes for providing more in-depth instruction on selected topics and

 (4) templates for forms and checklists. 


ESMS Manual


PDF icon IUCN ESMS Manual

ESMS standards


PDF iconIUCN ESMS Standard Indigenous People


PDF iconIUCN ESMS Standard Biodiversity


PDF iconIUCN ESMS Standard Cultural Heritage


PDF iconIUCN ESMS Standard Inv Resettlement Access Restrictions

ESMS Guidance Notes


PDF iconESMS - Social Impact Assessment (SIA) - guidance note


PDF iconESMS - Environmental and Social Management Plan (ESMP) - guidance and template


PDF iconESMS - Pest Management Planning - guidance note

ESMS templates


Should you wish to obtain a copy of older versions of IUCN ESMS documents, please contact linda.klare.

ESMS Grievance Mechanism

IUCN has put in place an ESMS grievance mechanism to provide people or communities fearing or suffering adverse impacts from a project with an opportunity to raise their concerns. The mechanism covers complaints related to issues where IUCN projects have failed to respect ESMS principles, standards and procedures. The mechanism and complaint procedure are described in the guidance note contained in this folder. A template for submitting complaints is also available below.

For the grievance mechanism to be effective and accessible, the executing entity must inform all relevant project stakeholders of its existence and about the relevant provisions of the ESMS at the start of the project. For GEF projects, a sign must be erected at each project site displaying information about how to contact IUCN if concerns or complaints arise. Guidance for this signage can be found below:


PDF iconIUCN ESMS grievance mechanism guidance note


File IUCN ESMS Complaint Form Template


FileIUCN ESMS Guidance on signage template

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