Environmental Impact Assessment Principles and Process
Figure 1: EIA concept and eight guiding principles
The eight guiding principles...
There are eight guilding principles that govern the entire process of EIA and they are as follows:
Participation: An appropriate and timely access to the process for all interested parties.
Transparency: All assessment decisions and their basis should be open and accessible.
Certainty: The process and timing of the assessment should be agreed in advanced and followed by all participants.
Accountability: The decision-makers are responsible to all parties for their action and decisions under the assessment process.
Credibility: Assessment is undertaken with professionalism and objectivity.
Cost-effectiveness: The assessment process and its outcomes will ensure environmental protection at the least cost to the society.
Flexibility: The assessment process should be able to adapt to deal efficiently with any proposal and decision making situation.
Practicality: The information and outputs provided by the assessment process are readily usable in decision making and planning.
EIA is considered as a project management tool for collecting and analyzing information on the environmental effects of a project. As such, it is used to:
In EIA systems there are sequence of activities implemented in project in a logical sequence and are termed as EIA process. They are given in Figure 2.
Figure 2: The EIA processes in sequences of application.
EIA Benefits and Flaws
EIA generates huge benefits in selection of project location, process, design, development actions, and decision-making, however, in the current practice of EIA there are a number of flaws, shortcomings and deficiencies. The table below, summarizes apparent benefits and flaws of the EIA.
Table 1: EIA benefits and flaws
Education and training...
One significant factor that could help improve the EIA process is good education and training. Currently, very few educational and training courses exist in developing countries that properly consider various EIA methodologies available in depth. Information on the legal and regulatory frameworks and institutional arrangements are also necessary. Education and training process are important since the fundamental factors behind all EIA predictions are still the best professional judgment and/or experiences with similar projects implemented elsewhere.
Both short-term and long- term courses are necessary. These courses however, must be multidisciplinary, and the focus should be on the practical and operational aspects of EIA based on theoretical implications.
Copyright 1999- © United Nations, All rights reserved.