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close this bookConducting Environmental Impact Assessment in Developing Countries (UNU, 1999, 375 pages)
close this folder8. Writing and reviewing an EIA report
close this folder8.2 Review of an EIA report
close this folder8.2.4 Approach
View the document(introduction...)
View the document8.2.4.1 Independent analysis
View the document8.2.4.2 Predetermined evaluation criteria
View the document8.2.4.3 Ad hoc review Ad hoc review

A third form of review will be discussed for those who may find themselves in the position of wanting to review an EIS but not wishing to employ the detailed, structured approaches suggested above. For those reviewers, the following sequence of activities is suggested.

1 Familiarize yourself with the prescribed outline and content of the respective agency implementing the EIA. This will provide you with an idea of the general sequences and format to be expected as you examine the body of the EIA.

2 Read the summary. This will provide an overview of the project, its alternatives, and the anticipated environmental consequences.

3 Examine the table of contents to determine the location of the various parts of the EIA. Depending on your familiarity with the project and/or the affected environment, you may wish to go directly to a specific section of the document.

4 Study the content of the EIA, looking for those items specifically identified in Table 8.2.

5 Focus on issues and concerns regarding administrative, general document, and technical review concerns previously identified.

6 Evaluate the EIA on the basis of your review.

Table 8.2 General document review criteria

Area of concern


A Readability

· Write clearly
· Removal all ambiguities
· Avoid use of technical jargon; all technical terms should be clearly explained

B Consideration and focus

· Do not slant or misinterpret findings
· Avoid use of value-imparting adjectives or phrases
· Avoid confusion or mix-up among economic, environmental, and ecological impacts and productivity
· Avoid unsubstantiated generalities
· Avoid conflicting statements

C Presentation

· Use well-defined, acceptable qualitative terms
· Quantify factors, effects, uses, and activities that are readily amenable to quantification

D Data

· Identify all sources
· Use up-to-date data
· Use field data collection programmes as necessary
· Use technically approved data collection procedures
· Give reasons for use of unofficial data

E Methods and procedures

· Use quantitative estimation procedures, techniques, and models for arrival at the best estimates
· Identify and describe all procedures and models used
· Identify sources of all judgements
· Use procedures and models acceptable by professional standards

F Interpretation of findings

· Consider and discuss all impact areas before any are dismissed as not applicable
· Analyse controversial issues, and discuss the implications of all results
· Consider the implications for each area of a range of outcomes having significant uncertainty
· Analyse each alternative in detail and give reasons for not selecting it
· Scrutinize and justify all interpretations, procedures, and findings that must stand up under expert professional scrutiny

The kinds of questions that may be asked by decision makers while reviewing an EIA report are given below.

1 To what extent are both the beneficial and adverse environmental effects clearly explained?

2 How are the risks of adverse consequences evaluated and what are they?

3 What is the scope of the EIA in terms of external factors and time-lag effects?

4 What (if any) are the impacts on environmentally sensitive areas, endangered species and their habitats, and recreational/aesthetic areas?

5 What alternatives are considered: no project? other sites? other technologies?

6 What lessons from previous similar projects are incorporated?

7 How do the environmental effects change the costs and benefits of the project?

8 What adverse effects are unavoidable?

9 What public participation and review of project plans or the EIA have occurred?

10 What mitigation measures are proposed, and who is responsible for implementing them?

11 What are the parameters to be monitored so that the state of the environment can be studied throughout the project?