Cover Image
close this bookConducting Environmental Impact Assessment in Developing Countries (United Nations University, 1999, 375 p.)
close this folder3. EIA process
View the document3.1 Introduction
Open this folder and view contents3.2 Principles in managing EIA
View the document3.3 Framework of environmental impacts
Open this folder and view contents3.4 EIA process in tiers
View the document3.5 Resources needed for an EIA
Open this folder and view contents3.6 Some illustrations of EIA processes in various countries
View the documentFURTHER READING

3.5 Resources needed for an EIA

Because of the EIA's acknowledged importance in planning a country's sustainable economic growth, EIAs are now undertaken throughout the world, even in places with very few resources. There are, however, certain minimum resources needed to perform EIAs that can successfully shape major projects.

• Qualified multidisciplinary staff. This includes a skilled manager (to coordinate the activities, communicate with decision makers, and motivate the study team), trained specialists (in fields such as environmental science, rural and urban planning, economics, waste and pollution control, process engineering, landscape design, sociology, and cultural anthropology) and a communications expert.

• Technical guidelines, agreed with the competent authority, for carrying out the various phases of the EIA process, especially screening, scoping, prediction, evaluation, and mitigation.

• Information about the environment (especially relating to the impacts being considered after "scoping'') which can be sorted and evaluated.

• Analytical capabilities for doing field work, laboratory testing, library research, data processing, photomontage, surveys, and predictive modelling.

• Institutional arrangements, including a formal procedure for consultation with the decision makers and other interested groups, the authority to obtain the necessary information about the proposed project, and a formal process for integrating the EIA into the decision-making process about projects.

• Review monitoring and enforcement powers, to ensure that accepted mitigation measures are included in the development.

Among the resources needed to perform an EIA are money and time. Regarding time, the following are averages for a sampling of recent EIAs; IEEs take between 2 to 10 weeks to complete; detailed EIAs may last between 3 months and 2 years. Regarding costs, officials often balk at some of the figures they hear, but developers and investors will realize that they represent only a very small percentage of the costs of any major development project - nearly always less than 1%. Indeed, it is a relatively small price to pay to prevent costly unforeseen problems, to promote development that can be sustained, to help prevent potentially ruinous environmental catastrophes, and to obtain approval and acceptance.