III. MECHANISMS FOR INTEGRATING ENVIRONMENTAL CONSIDERATIONS INTO SECTOR POLICIES AND FOR MONITORING
A. Experience and current mechanism for, and future direction of, coordination among relevant ministries and agencies
4. Conducting the scoping process
Essentially, the scoping process involves a series of formal and informal meetings with people who may be affected by the proposed project, either directly or indirectly, or who may have special knowledge of the project area and its environment. Those attending such meetings may, for example, include government officials, local farmers, merchants, teachers, physicians, religious leaders and representatives of NGOs. The meetings provide PAA and affected people with an opportunity to assess the proposed project, and to identify the potential environmental issues and alternative strategies that they believe are important to defining IEE and EIA terms of reference. The scoping process also helps to enable realistic and measurable goals and objectives to be set for the IEE and EIA.
PAA has to determine all public and private agencies, groups or individuals that may be directly or indirectly affected by the proposed project activities, or have a role or interest in guiding, enforcing or monitoring the work that is to be carried out.
Affected parties could include any of the following:
Scoping identifies existing sources of data, key individual contacts and important areas of the field study. It increases local, regional and national awareness of the project and its environmental concerns, and facilitates rapid data collection and analysis. It also ensures an ongoing dialogue between the EIA team, PAA and all affected people, which is essential to forming a basis for evaluating and guiding any proposed follow-up activities.
In the process of defining the key environmental issues and the overall content of IEEs and EIAs, all participants become familiar with the environmental policies within which the project proposal must operate. That information enables the participants to recognize the IEE or EIA role in the final design and implementation of the proposed project. At the completion of the scoping process, the significant environmental issues which should be analysed become evident.
The immediate result of the scoping process is the preparation or modification of the EIA terms of reference. Thereafter, all the participants in the scoping process are kept informed through follow-up meetings and consultations on the progress of the EIA process and the final recommendations; that ensures the concerns and views of all concerned are addressed in a balanced manner, thus achieving the optimum benefits from the project. In that way, the scoping process examines and assesses in a meaningful manner any conflicts of interest among different interest groups, while also coordinating activities from the very outset of the EIA process.