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Capacity building in environmental impact assessment and promotion of public participation in West Asia

Background:

Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is a key instrument for analysing the effects on the environment development proposals, for integrating environmental concerns into the projects, mitigating any adverse impacts and providing a forum for public participation in the decision-making process.  Nearly all developing countries have some experience of EIA, either through domestic requirements or because its application to projects financed by international aid and lending agencies has become standard procedure. 

UNEP will, through the proposed project, deliver High-Level Briefings and Capacity Building Workshops at the national level (involving government agencies, national training institutions and other relevant organisations) outlining the stages of the EIA, alongside the law, policy and institutional arrangements, public involvement and screening and scoping activities. The project will provide decision makers and environment agency staff tasked with reviewing EIAs with the necessary skills to identify potential adverse impacts and to set appropriate environmental conditions for development projects in the West Asia Region to ensure their environmental sustainability.  The capacity building activities will equip those reviewing EIA reports with the relevant knowledge to provide knowledge-based recommendations to the ultimate decision-makers.  The briefings and workshops will also introduce the concepts of strategic environmental assessment (a topic included in the UNEP EIA Training Resource Manual) and integrated assessment as tools which can be used by national governments to move beyond the project level to assessing the impacts of policies, plans and programmes.

Objective:

The objective of the programme is to build capacity in West Asia in conducting and reviewing EIAs both by the regulatory agencies and Civil Society Organisations to ensure the environmental sustainability of development projects in the region as a contribution to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. 

Expected Accomplishments:

  • EA1 Increased understanding of the requirements and importance of EIA throughout West Asia.

  • EA2 Increased skills in implementation and review of EIAs amongst the relevant national authorities.

  • EA3 Enhanced public participation in EIAs in West Asia.

     

Implementation Status:

TheProject provided capacity building training to national environment agencies, presented high level briefings to decision-makers and developed mechanisms to improve public participation in the process through the work of Civil Society Organizations and support to environment agencies in development of website for dissemination of Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) reports.

Over 369 people (235 male and 134 female) have participated in the various aspects of the Project and the feedback received from them was positive.  The focus on the public participation aspects of EIA implementation has been particularly well received, and it is believed that progress will be made in this aspect of EIA implementation in the region over the coming years.