Contributing to sustainability as an environmental impact assessment practitioner
Impact Assessment and Project Appraisal
CSIR Natural Resources and the Environment, PO Box 320, Stellenbosch 7599, South Africa; Integral Sustainability, PO Box 79, South Fremantle, WA 6162, Australia; School of Enviromental Science, Murdoch University, South St., Murdoch, WA 6150, Australia
Environmental impact assessment (EIA) is the pre-eminent regulatory tool used worldwide in the name of sustainable development. Whilst it may not be perfect for this purpose, and recognising that project-based EIA has been soundly criticised for its perceived failings, it remains the preferred and most widely used tool for project-level assessment and the key (if not only) sustainable development-oriented tool in many countries. Drawing on examples and experience from Southern Africa and Australia, we urge practitioners to raise the bar on day-to-day EIA activities that will push the vectors of sustainability. We can all achieve positive gains for the environmental, social and economic parameters of development proposals through informed professionalism and the pursuit of best practice. Given that EIA is well enshrined in legislation worldwide, it is our responsibility as practitioners to use this important tool to maximise opportunities for sustainability. © IAIA 2008.
best management practice; environmental impact assessment; environmental legislation; project assessment; sustainability; sustainable development; Africa; Australasia; Australia; Southern Africa; Sub-Saharan Africa