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What is an EIA?

Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is a process of identifying, predicting, evaluating and mitigating the biophysical, social, and other relevant effects of development proposals prior to major decisions being taken and commitments made by goverments and by oil and gas companies.  These studies integrate the environmental concerns of developmental activities into the process of decision-making.

What an EIA objectives are:

  1. To ensure that the environmental considerations are explicitly addressed and incorporated into the development and decision-making process;
  2. To anticipate and avoid, minimize or offset the adverse significant biophysical, social and other relevant effects of development proposals;
  3. To protect the productivity and capacity of natural systems and the ecological processes which maintain their functions; and
  4. To promote development that is sustainable and optimizes resource use as well as management opportunities.


Here's a quick snapshot pf what an EIA should take into account.


Basic EIA Principles

By integrating the environmental impacts of the development activities and their mitigation in early stages of project planning, the benefits of EIA could be realized in all stages of a project, from exploration and planning, through construction, operations, decommissioning, and beyond site closure.

A properly conducted EIA also lessens conflicts by promoting community participation, informing decision-makers, and also helps in laying the base for environmentally sound projects.

An EIA should meet at least three core values:

  1. Integrity: The EIA process should be fair, objective, unbiased and balanced.
  2. Utility: The EIA process should provide balanced, credible information for decision-making.
  3. Sustainability: The EIA process should result in environmental safeguards.

Ideally an EIA process should be:

  1. Purposive - it should inform decision-makers and result in appropriate levels of environmental protection and community well-being.
  2. Rigorous - it should apply ‘best practicable’ science, employing methodologies and techniques appropriate to address the problems being investigated.
  3. Practical - it should result in providing information and acceptable and implementable solutions for problems faced by proponents.
  4. Relevant - it should provide sufficient, reliable and usable information for development planning and decision-making.
  5. Cost-effective - it should impose minimum cost burdens in terms of time and finance on proponents and participants consistent with meeting accepted requirements and objectives of the EIA.
  6. Efficient - it should achieve the objectives of EIA within the limits of available information, time, resources and methodology.
  7. Focused - it should concentrate on significant environmental effects and key issues; i.e., the matters that need to be considered while making decisions.
  8. Adaptive - it should be adjusted to the realities, issues and circumstances of the proposals under review without compromising the integrity of the process, and be iterative, incorporating lessons learnt throughout the project life cycle.
  9. Participative - it should provide appropriate opportunities to inform and involve the interested and affected public, and their inputs and concerns should be addressed explicitly in the documentation and decision-making.
  10. Inter-disciplinary - it should ensure that appropriate techniques and experts in relevant bio-physical and socio-economic disciplines are employed, including the use of traditional knowledge as relevant.
  11. Credible - it should be carried out with professionalism, rigor, fairness, objectivity, impartiality and balance, and be subject to independent checks and verification.
  12. Integrated - it should address the inter-relationships of social, economic and biophysical aspects.
  13. Transparent - it should have clear, easily understood requirements for EIA content; ensure public access to information; identify the factors that are to be taken into account in decision-making; and acknowledge limitations and difficulties.
  14. Systematic - it should result in full consideration of all relevant information on the affected environment, of proposed alternatives and their impacts, and of the measures necessary to monitor and investigate residual effects.

NOTE: For more information about EIA's, Exploration, the Oil and Gas Industry processes, etc ... pop in to the "Industry Related Information" that you will find in the Oil and Gas Campaign Menu section.

 

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