Regional Guidelines on Public Participation in Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)

Draft for Consultation and Comment
Version 22 August 2016

9.2 Level of public participation expected

  1. The public should have the opportunity to provide formal submissions on the EIA Report to be considered by the EIA Authority as a key factor in the decision-making process. Accordingly, the minimum levels of public participation expected at the EIA Review step are the Consult and Involve Levels on the participation spectrum.
  1. This requires ensuring that:
    • all information about the EIA is publicly available – both electronically on the internet and in hard copy form;
    • sufficient time is provided for members of the public to prepare and lodge submissions – generally one month after the disclosure of the EIA Report and invitation to comment; and
    • sufficient time is provided to read, consider and address all lodged submissions during the deliberations – the time required will vary depending on the resources available to the EIA Authority, but it should be noted that reading, considering and responding to potentially hundreds of submissions on an EIA can take one official many days of uninterrupted work.
  1. As part of ensuring that all information about the EIA is publicly available, the EIA Authority should organize consultation meetings at which:
    • the government explains overarching policy objectives and the EIA decision-making process;
    • the proponent and/or EIA consultant presents the findings of the EIA;
    • members of the public have the opportunity to express their views on the EIA; and
    • the EIA Authority records all comments made by attendees for consideration during the review of the EIA and preparation of a recommendation for the decision-maker.
  1. Depending on the nature, scale and location of the proposed project, there may need to be one or more consultation meetings ensuring the PAP and other stakeholders at the local, sub-national (i.e. provincial or state), and national levels are reached.
Table 12: EIA review step - meetings summary

Who should be Involved?

Who is responsible for arranging the meeting?

What are the desired outcomes?

Local level meeting and site inspection

PAP

Local CSOs

Local authorities

Relevant ministries

Project proponent and EIA consultant (to present the EIA and answer questions only)

Translator/s

EIA Authority in collaboration with the local authorities – costs paid for by the project proponent

To ensure the PAP understand that the final decision on the EIA will be made by the EIA Authority independently from the project proponent and EIA consultant.

To ensure that the PAP and other stakeholders understand the EIA Report, including the EMMP – explanation of the findings and analysis should be presented in non-technical terms that can be readily understood.

To provide an immediate opportunity for – and open requests for ongoing submissions from – the PAP and other stakeholders regarding the EIA to be considered in its review.

To give the EIA Authority and key decision-makers an opportunity to visit the proposed project site and gain an understanding of local issues.

Sub-national and/or national level meeting(s) (if necessary)

PAP

Local and national CSOs

Relevant ministries

Local authorities

International organizations (if relevant)


Translator/s

Media

EIA Authority in collaboration with other relevant Ministries – paid for by the project proponent

To ensure that all interest groups have an understanding of projects of regional and/or national significance, as well as an opportunity to contribute their perspectives.

Questions