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close this bookInitial Environmental Assessment: Urban Development - Series no 12 (NORAD, 1996)
close this folderPart II: Documentation requirements for initial environmental assessment
View the document1 Project description
View the document2 Description of the environment
View the document3 Checklist

1 Project description

As a basis for initial environmental assessment, a description of the project or activities must be available. In most cases it will be relevant to present several alternative technical solutions and localities. Activities in both the constructional phase and the operational phase of the project must be included.

This description will to a certain extent be based on the regular technical and economic description of the project, possibly after consultations with project planners or other relevant institutions in the country in question. The following questions aim to elicit information that is relevant with regard to environmental impacts. Relatively detailed information may be required with regard to production processes, use of inputs, localisation etc.. The information resulting from the initial assessment can be included in the regular project document being presented for approval. In the case of more comprehensive projects, the information may be collected in an appendix to this document.

The following specifies essential background information for an initial assessment:

a. The need for the project. Give a brief description of how the need for the project has arisen. What are the purposes of the project and who will benefit from it? Will the project cover local or regional needs? Which other activities are expected as a consequence of the project?

b. Alternatives considered. Give a brief presentation of the most important technology and localisation alternatives which have been considered in connection with the project. If possible, give a brief account of any differences in technology, building materials, need for water and energy, labour requirements, infrastructure requirements etc.. The 0-alternative (the consequences of not implementing the project) may also be relevant to consider.

c. Description of the project and potential main alternatives. Give a relatively comprehensive description of the alternative(s) that are viewed as relevant. The description should include choice of technology, operation systems, transport requirements, labour requirements, building materials, the need for water, energy and other natural resources, map reference to buildings and facilities and the areas utilised, and what types of areas these are and impacts on existing or planned activities in the area. The information should cover both the constructional and operational phase.

d. Conditions for project implementation. Give an account of the public and private physical initiatives (infrastructure, etc.) and any other external prerequisites for the implementation of the project, e.g. participation of the local population, training opportunities, maintenance, local institutional and administrative conditions, including their environmental competence. In addition all parties should be familiar with and adhere to local, national and any applicable international environmental requirements.