|Conducting Environmental Impact Assessment in Developing Countries (United Nations University, 1999, 375 p.)|
|2. Introduction to EIA|
EIA is generally the responsibility of the project proponent and is often prepared with the help of external consultants or institutions, i.e., the EIA practitioners. In some cases, an independent commission is responsible for ensuring quality control throughout the implementation of the impact assessment, for setting appropriate terms of reference, and/or for the external review. The EIA study should be carried out by a multidisciplinary team comprising civil engineers, water supply and sanitation engineers, planners, chemists, life scientists, and socio-economists.
The agency responsible for receiving the impact assessment report and taking any subsequent action, i.e., the implementing agency, will usually indicate how the study is to be carried out and how the results should be used in the decision-making process. The institutional structures and agencies responsible for the management and implementation of EIA vary amongst countries, reflecting different political, economic, and social priorities. Mostly, they include local government agencies, NGOs, research institutions, and affected groups feeding into a specialist environmental unit within the implementing agency.
Apart from all these agencies, the general public is also involved in the process of EIA. Ideally public opinion should be solicited through public hearings arranged for the purpose of discussing the impacts of the project. Public participation as a component of EIA is practiced as a requirement in only a few countries, such as Canada. However, this trend is increasingly evident in EIA practice in a number of other countries.