The following sections give an overview of a generic EIA process. In reality, this process will differ slightly from country to country, depending on national legislation.
Best practice guidelines
Best Practice Guidelines are available from the IAIA, which can be downloaded in from their website here (pdf 95 Kb). The document is also available in French and Spanish (pdf, ca.95Kb each). Guidelines on biodiversity-inclusive impact assessment from the CBD can also be downloaded in pdf form (111 Kb).
Guidelines for the production of an Ecological Impact Assessment (EcIA) may be of use in considering biodiversity in impact assessment: these can be downloaded here in Word format (471 Kb) or from the IEEM website.
There are four objectives of the EIA process, namely:
- To ensure that environmental considerations are explicitly addressed and incorporated into the development decision making process
- To anticipate and avoid, minimize or offset the adverse significant biophysical, social and other relevant effects of development proposals
- To protect the productivity and capacity of natural systems and the ecological processes which maintain their functions
- To promote development that is sustainable and optimises resource use and management opportunities
The following list gives a basic outline of the EIA process; links can be followed through to more detailed explanations of the process. Alternatively, the tabs at the top of this page lead to the same information.
- Does the project require an EIA?
- What issues and impacts should the EIA address? (public consultation?)
- Baseline studies
- Establish the environmental baseline
- Consider the different options
- Impact prediction
- Forecast the environmental impacts
- Impact Assessment
- Interpret the impacts
- What can be done to alleviate negative impacts?
- EIS preparation/review
- Document the EIA findings
- Public consultation
- Consult general public and NGOs
- Monitor impacts of project
Screening: Are there important ecological/ biodiversity-triggers for IA?
Scoping: Which ecological aspects should be addressed and how? (consider spatial and temporal coincidence of proposal activities and the features/resources affected)
Refine TORs on the basis of biodiversity values: consider importance of features and resources and people who might be affected.. Consider criteria which will be used in decision-making.
Impact Assessment: Obtain data to quantify effects (consider: type, location, timing, frequency of activities and their ecological effects in terms of magnitude, range, duration.
Impact significance: Are the predicted effects ecologically significant? Consider proportion of resource affected and reversibility. Will integrity or status be adversely affected?
Impact Mitigation: Measures to avoid, reduce or remedy adverse impacts. What kind of biodiversity mitigation is possible or acceptable?
Monitoring and follow-up: information, auditing of implementation, feed back
Key within this process is the inclusion of