Investigating the role of Ezemvelo KZN-wildlife in environmental impact assessment.
Mthembu, Dumisani Emmanuel.
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Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is the systematic identification and evaluation of the potential impacts (effects) of proposed projects, plans, programmes, or legislative actions relative to the biophysical, cultural, and socioeconomic components ofthe natural environment (Canter 1996). The overall purpose ofEIA is to assist in shaping the development process, not to prevent development from taking place and to ensure that the environmental consequences of development proposals are systematically assessed and taken into account . Since the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, there has been a substantial increase in the adoption ofEIA worldwide (Sheate 1996). The main aim of this report is to investigate the role of Ezemvelo Kwazulu-Natal Wildlife (EKZN-Wildlife) with respect to EIAs inside and outside the protected areas in KwaZulu-Natal. It has four objectives. • To establish the role EKZN-Wildlife should play in the EIA process inside and outside protected areas • • • To establish which institutions should manage the EIA process for EKZNWildlife developments To ascertain ifEKZN-Wildlife can be designated as a relevant authority To establish if EKZN-Wildlife should consult professionally in IEM for income generation The research method used to achieve these objectives were qualitative, with respondents purposefully chosen from EKZN-Wildlife, DAEA and environmental consultants. A selfadministered questionnaire method was used to collect data, and both open-ended and closed questions were asked. Techniques such as Likert scale and semantic differential were used to allow respondents to express feelings by ratings with respect to opposing concepts. The data analysis was mainly through reduction and displays in the form of tables and graphs. This report, amongst its fmdings, found that apart from being an lAP, the role ofEKZNWildlife in EIA should be that of providing specialist input in particular to biodiversity related issues during the EIA process. It was also found that appointing EKZN-Wildlife as a relevant authority would be inappropriate and could .have negative consequences. Concerning the scheduled activities that EKZN-Wildlife undertakes, the report found that self-assessments could be considered for small projects but not for big projects. This report also found that an environmental consulting role for EKZN-Wildlife may not be a viable option to generate income. This report recognizes that EIAs incorporate much more than mere consideration of green issues and recommends that EKZN-Wildlife should adopt an interdisciplinary team approach when dealing with EIAs. EKZN-Wildlife should also engage the relevant authority in a constructive dialogue so that its role during the EIA process can be defined explicitly. This report also recommends that EKZN-Wildlife should investigate the nature and the possibility ofproviding the necessary specialist review during the EIA process.
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