An evaluation of environmental impact assessment in Eritrea.
Zeremariam, Tedros Kubrom.
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This paper reviews environmental impact assessment (EIA) policy and practice in Eritrea against a set of evaluation criteria. These include: institutional aspects of the EIA system (policy development, legal basis for EIA, institutional strength and responsibilities for EIA administration, and resources adequacy); the EIA process (screening, scoping, EIA study, documentation, review, decision-making, and monitoring and auditing); and other features of the EIA system (coverage, consideration of alternatives, public consultation and participation, system monitoring, the cost and benefit of EIA system and strategic environmental assessment (SEA)). To assess the extent of EIA practice, the EIA report review criteria developed by the Impact Assessment Unit (IAD) of Oxford Brookes University were used to review case studies of two sectoral EIA reports: the Massawa International Airport Project and the Keren Water Supply Project. Additionally, a literature review was undertaken and interviews with different stakeholders were conducted to collect the required information. The review indicated that, in principle and at a policy level, the current EIA system in Eritrea meets ten of the 17 evaluation criteria, partially meets three and fails to meet four. The major weakness relates to the legal provisions for EIA;. adequacy of resources (human and environmental data/information); centrality of EIA findings in decision making; and the formal provision for SEA for programmes, plans and policies. In practice, however, the overall EIA system in the country is weakly established. Thus, to strengthen the current EIA system in the country increased environmental awareness, continuous training in EIA for government officials, consultants, and research and educational institutions is required. Most importantly, revision and subsequent proclamation of the draft legislation is required to provide a sound legal basis for EIA in Eritrea.
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