EIA in Small Islands

I have recently started working as an intern on the DLIST project with a particular interest in Environmental Impact Assessment(EIA).Through my research into EIA practices and legislation in countries on the east and west coast of Southern Africa I have come across various interesting articles,papers and reports pertaining EIA developments in coastal areas.

I found that lack of EIA legal requirements in Tanzania has led to frustration on the part of environmental impact assessors,Governmental advisors and the public.A Tanzania prawn farm EIA project in 1997 was rejected by the review team and approved for implementation by the government.The prawn farms project covering about 6,000ha of surface water,with grow out ponds on 10 000ha of land.The location of the prawn farm is within the Rufiji delta and the down stream end of the flood plain.The EIA did not adress efficient assessment of impacts,mitigation measures,alternatives as well as monitoring plans to minimise environmental impacts.Concerns from interested and affected parties were not considered,EIA mainly focused on socioeconomic benefits of the projects however the government approved the project without consulting the National Environmental Council.

These issues are not isolated to Tanzania alone in my research I also found that Mauritius as well had inadequate assessment of broader environmental issues.The question is what should be done to effectively improve EIA implementation in Small Islands of Southern Africa?

Re: DLIST ASCLME: EIA in Small Islands

Hi Kashiefa - interesting post.   The bracketed bit [next few paragraphs] is a typical response and I am sure you're aware of it.      Maybe the last bit is more relevant to the challenges that face EIA in southern Africa.    [small islands, big islands, coastal states, landlocked nations....    It's all the same.      The only way EIA can achieve effective, balanced, objective and transparent outcomes is when there is a reasonably open (if not fully democratic) national government that feels strong enough, politically secure enough and adequately funded enough to: (1) draft and implement an Environment Protection (EP) Act that (2) establishes an independent EP Council (e.g.  5-6 respected members of the nation's community who bring a mix of professional experience, training or research in sustainable development / natural resource management / environmental protection / pollution prevention / etc,), which (3) is technically/administratively supported by a technical EIA unit of the Ministry responsible for environment protection / natural resource management.  The EP Council has the responsibility of assessing the EIA's prepared by project proponents.  Each EIA needs to be a publically available document that addresses all relevant aspects of the particular proposed development/activity.     If the Council finds the EIA does not address all key issues, it asks the proponent to provide supplementary input (a second report) that addresses the gaps / issues identified by Council.      The Council then examines all the evidence (a range of mechanisms can be used depending on the nature of the country / small island state happen), and provides a publicly-released, objective appraisal report to the Minister for Environment.   This report contains the Council's conclusions and recommendations to the Minister, and its reasons for same.   The EP Act requires the Minister to make a public response to the Council's appraisal report, outlining his decision and reasons  - within a reasonable period of time (e.g. 2 or 3 months). If the Minister decides to modify or reject the Council's recommendations , the public can see this in the Minister's response,  and can determine what political aspect/s (if any) has influenced the decision. (based on whatever reasons the Minister chooses to give in the response document). To be effective and meaningful, the process of EIA requires a reasonably stable government that is responsible and responsive to the national, regional and local community needs, an effective/working legislative process and independent judiciary, plus a reasonably independent public media that is allowed to communicate on national, regional and local affairs without overly heavy censorship....] ********  [buzzz...] ********* The above is a very 'western' response that assumes (a) a nation is working according to a rather 'mono' multi-culture, (b) enough of its people have time to reflect, understand and care about the environment (not just mostly occupied by day-to-day socio-economic / survival / health issues etc), and (c) enough of its people want the government to minimise unsustainable / out-of-control developments. It seems a big challenge for many southern African states would be to somehow modify / customise the EIA process so that important tribal and family-clan interests and aspects can be incorporated fairly,  objectively and transparently.....       I suppose this sounds too idealistic, but maybe it provides a starting point for thought. Good luck! Rob (Perth, WA and J'burg, ZA) _________________________ namespaceuri="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" name="stockticker"> namespaceuri="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" name="State"> namespaceuri="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" name="address"> namespaceuri="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" name="Street"> namespaceuri="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" name="place" downloadurl="http://www.5iantlavalamp.com/"> Imco Imco 9 97 2009-01-18T10:01:00Z 2010-02-26T11:41:00Z 1 256 1464 HOME 12 3 1717 11.5606 Imco Imco 9 97 2009-01-18T10:01:00Z 2010-02-26T11:41:00Z 1 256 1464 HOME 12 3 1717 11.5606 75 Clean false false false MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 75 Clean false false false MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 st1\:*{behavior:url(#ieooui) } st1\:*{behavior:url(#ieooui) } /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0cm 5.4pt 0cm 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0cm; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-ansi-language:#0400; mso-fareast-language:#0400; mso-bidi-language:#0400;} /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0cm 5.4pt 0cm 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0cm; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-ansi-language:#0400; mso-fareast-language:#0400; mso-bidi-language:#0400;} kashiefa wrote: >cite="mid:84.325.0.1268386309.9b09c14203b9c40bfe3aacd43b863728@dlist-asclme.org" >type="cite">

Re: DLIST ASCLME: EIA in Small Islands

The post below was from our intern Nolusizo. She poses a good question... countries like South Africa and Tanzania have certain guidelines and legal requirements on EIAs but developers and authorities still find loop holes around them. What about small island states like those in the western Indian ocean region, whose EIA laws are not yet fully developed?
Frida Lanshammar's picture

Glenn Ashton, a member of DLIST BCLME, posted the below reply

This is an extremely relevant topic. I have recently seen advertisments for marinas and golf course developments in estuarine areas in Mauritius that state in the advertisments that they fulful all environmental laws and have been subject to envrionmental assessments. If such assessments are voluntary and are not subject to any meangingful standards then any such assessments must surely be rejected as being worthless as there is no baseline from which to assess them.

I know there are assessment practitioners associations in the region and that work is being done on making transparent practitioners standards applicable. Perhaps this needs to be extended beyond national boundaries and to the region as a whole as well as to be brought up at SADEC meetings so that there is an agreed upon baselne standard we can all refer to throughout the region?

This would seem to be a useful starting point. Quite who is going to champion it is anybodys guess! Will it be developers or will civil society or practitioners be the first to jump in on it?

I am watching with interest!

best
Glenn

Dawn Phillip's picture

EIA in small islands

Hello everyone. We have had experience with conducting EIAs in Trinidad & Tobago since the early 1980s, even before there was legislation to support this step in the right direction. After the Rio meeting in 1992, we introduced environmental management legislation that mandated EIAs for certain types of development activities (spelt out in a designated activities order), mandated the formation of an environmental management authority, and an environmental commission. According to the legislation, development projects require a certificate of environmental clearance as part of planning approval. An EIA may be required as part of this process. Also, public participation is a legal requirement of the EIA process. The public has been able to stall and even stop government-approved development projects through this process. The most recent events of this sort surround plans to develop aluminum smelting by Alcoa and Alutrint. You can Google these for Trinidad & Tobago. We still have problems, but we have made significant progress. The website address for the authority is included below. You can find the pieces of legislation there. http://www.ema.co.tt/cms/ Dawn
Nolusizo's picture

EIA in small Islands

Developments have good and bad effects in our environment,how about using tools like EIA effectively to minimize bad effects and have sustainable environment for the benefit of us and future generations.Various points were raised in the EIA discussion.The main points are:limitations of EIAs even in countries that have fairly good systems,production of transparent EIA standards across national and regional boundaries,more engagement with developers and demand provision of alternative livehoods(i.e.jobs) for local communities,open national government that feels strong enough,politically secure and adequately funded enough.We need to know more about EIAs and what they can or cannot do .Let us get more information on DLIST on this burning issues,let us clarify the EIA process and ask DLIST community to share any information concerning strong points and weak points of EIA process.Please share your information.