Guidance Document on Biodiversity, Impact Asessment & Decision Making in Southern Africa
This document provides guidance for decision-makers on a range of biodiversity principles and issues which confront decision-makers every day when they evaluate impact assessments. It is based on the findings of a Situation Assessment conducted as part of the Capacity Building in Biodiversity and Impact Assessment (CBBIA) Project during 2005. The Situation Assessment made use of the input received from authorities and conservation agencies from the southern African region in response to questionnaire surveys and structure workshops. It also drew heavily from 24 case studies on impact assessment and decision-making from four SADC countries.
CBBIA was a project of IAIA and funded by the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The document is structured as follows:
- An introduction
- Environment, development, biodiversity and human wellbeing - what is meant by these terms, and explaining the dependencies of humans on biodiversity and ecosystem services
- Biodiversity, ecosystem services and impact assessment - why we do impact assessment (IA), how human activities impact on biodiversity and ecosystem services, and good practice IA.
- Aims and objectives of decision-making - good governance and administrative justice, criteria and desired outcomes for sustainable development, deciding on the level of IA, co-operative governance, decision-making in a strategic vacuum, dealing with uncertainties, gaps and risks, and lack of capacity in regulatory authorities
- Strategic environmental assessment (SEA) - strengths, process, governmental cooperation, consultation and co-ordination, when to do SEA, what questions to ask, reviewing SEA, decision criteria
- Environmental impact assessment - what decisions are made, process and project life-cycle, screening, scoping, assessment, environmental management plans, authorizations and conditions, implementation and compliance.
- Sector guidelines - mining and quarrying, hydropower, thermal power generation, power transmission, offshore oil and gas, roads and bridges, agriculture and forestry, water resources development, water-based infrastructure and related activities, peri-urban and urban fringe development, and ecotourism.
- Useful guidelines and sources of information.