Key objectives of EIA implementation and follow up are to:
- confirm that the conditions of project approval are implemented satisfactorily;
- verify that impacts are within predicted or permitted limits;
- take action to manage unanticipated impacts or other unforeseen changes;
- ensure that environmental benefits are maximised through good practice; and
- learn from experience in order to improve EIA process and practice.
The main components and tools of EIA implementation and follow up include:
- surveillance and supervision â€“ to oversee adherence to and implementation of the terms and conditions of project approval;
- effects or impact monitoring â€“ to measure the environmental changes that can be attributed to project construction and/or operation and check the effectiveness of mitigation measures;
- compliance monitoring â€“ to ensure that applicable regulatory standards and requirements are being met, e.g. for waste discharge and pollutant emissions;
- environmental auditing â€“ to verify the implementation of terms and conditions, the accuracy of the EIA predictions, the effectiveness of mitigation measures, and the compliance with regulatory requirements and standards;
- ex-post evaluation â€“ to review the effectiveness and performance of the EIA process as applied to a specific project; and
- post-project analysis â€“ to evaluate the overall results of project development and to draw lessons for the future.
These components are variously defined and delineated in the institutional arrangements and procedures established for this purpose by different countries. However, their generic functions are reasonably well understood. Key terms are described in the accompanying box, and reference is made to the different types of monitoring, auditing and evaluation that may be undertaken as part of EIA implementation and follow up. The usage of these tools will vary, depending on terms of project approval and circumstances (as discussed later).
A conceptual distinction can be drawn between the respective aims of impact management and review and feedback of experience. In practice, however, these control and learning functions are not clearly separable. Rather they form part of a continuum of implementation and follow up activities, which are concerned with optimising environmental protection through good practice at all stages of project development. This process, when integrated with other environmental management and review tools, can be extended over the whole life cycle of the project.
|Term||Description||Sources: Au and Sanvicens (1997) and Sadler (1988, 1998).|
|Surveillance and supervision||Surveillance of the implementation of EIA terms and conditions can be undertaken by regular or periodic site inspections to check on compliance, observe progress and discuss issues. Supervision implies a more intensive direction of the environmental performance of on-site activities, ensuring they are carried out in accordance with the environmental management plan and/or contract specifications.|
|Monitoring||Monitoring refers to the collection of data through a series of repetitive measurements of environmental parameters (or, more generally, to a process of systematic observation). The main types of EIA monitoring activities are:
|Auditing||Auditing is a term borrowed from accounting to describe a systematic process of examining, documenting and verifying that EIA procedures and outcomes correspond to objectives and requirements. This process can be undertaken during and/or after project construction, and draws upon surveillance reports and monitoring data. The main types of EIA related audits are:
|Evaluation||Ex-post evaluation involves a policy-oriented review of the effectiveness and performance of the EIA process. It is concerned with the overall â€˜balance sheetâ€™ of an EIA, looking at what it achieved, which aspects were influential, and how the process could be improved. The guiding concepts are:
|Post project analysis||Usually, a post-project analysis is undertaken once the project has been constructed and is about to enter the operational phase. The term implies a focus on project specific EIA experience, e.g. in relation to dams, highways, waste disposal sites or power generation. In this context, post-project analysis can include aspects of effectiveness and performance review, using impact and mitigation data from surveillance, monitoring and auditing.|
The role and contribution of EIA implementation and follow up are shown in figure above. It illustrates:
- the relationship of EIA implementation and follow up to other stages of the EIA process;
- the stages at which monitoring, auditing and evaluation are typically undertaken; and
- the results and benefits that can be gained from their use.
The figure also illustrates the importance of early identification of follow up requirements and measures, beginning at the stage of screening and scoping, and adding to them as new information becomes available. Increasingly, the preparation of an environmental management plan (EMP) provides the blueprint for carrying out EIA implementation and follow up (see Section 7 â€“ Mitigation and impact management). An EMP should include a schedule of actions for this purpose, identify protocols for impact management in the event of unforeseen events and specify the arrangements for the use of surveillance, monitoring, auditing and other procedures.