SA assesses effectiveness of EIA

Thursday, April 19, 2018

A study that reviewed the efficiency and effectiveness of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) as a tool for environmental management in South Africa will be presented at a conference that will be held in Durban next month.

“The outcomes of the study will highlight the successes and shortcomings of the tool and identify measures for improvement thereof. This will be followed by a process to formulate a national environmental impact management strategy and action plan for South Africa,” the Department of Environmental Affairs said in a statement on Thursday.

South Africa, an affiliate of the International Association for Impact Assessment (IAIA) will host the 38th session of the IAIA conference at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre in Durban from the 16th to 19th May 2018.

“Despite the strides made towards an improved efficient and effective EIA system, there are criticism and perceptions of inadequacy about the success of the current EIA system as a tool for environmental impact management. This prompted the department to launch a study to review the efficiency and effectiveness of EIA’s as a tool for environmental management in South Africa,” the department said.

The results of the study will be presented and discussed at this conference. The outcomes of the study will highlight the successes and shortcomings of the tool and identify measures for improvement thereof.

This will be followed by a process to formulate a national environmental impact management strategy and action plan for South Africa.

IAIA is the leading global network on best practice in the use of impact assessment for informed decision making regarding policies, programs, plans and projects.

It was established in 1980 to bring together researchers, practitioners, and users of various types of impact assessment from all parts of the world.

The department said South Africa became an affiliate in 1983 when International Association for Impact Assessment South Africa (IAIASA) was formally established and is one of the 17 affiliates across the world.

“Affiliates operate separately and independently of IAIA and are responsible for their operating structures and activities, however they share the same interest in improving the Impact Assessment (IA) capacity within their own countries.

“All affiliates individually sign agreed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with IAIA to keep their affiliate status and rights in effect. South Africa’s MoU is renewed every three years,” the department.

The department will mark the 20 years of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) in South Africa at this conference.

“The EIA process is a crucial mechanism used to regulate the impact of development activities,” the department said.

The national department and Provincial Environmental departments are responsible for EIA processes and ensuring the timely and accurate execution of EIA’s. Environmental Impact Assessments have been compulsory in South Africa since 1997.

More information about the conference can be accessed through the following link:  http://conferences.iaia.org/2018/index.php. - SAnews.gov.za

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