Walking the sustainability assessment talk - Progressing the practice of environmental impact assessment (EIA)
Environmental Impact Assessment Review
School of Environmental Sciences and Development, North West University, South Africa; School of Environmental Science, Murdoch University, Australia
Internationally there is a growing demand for environmental impact assessment (EIA) to move away from its traditional focus towards delivering more sustainable outcomes. South Africa is an example of a country where the EIA system seems to have embraced the concept of sustainability. In this paper we test the existing objectives for EIA in South Africa against sustainability principles and then critique the effectiveness of EIA practice in delivering these objectives. The outcome of the research suggests that notwithstanding a strong and explicit sustainability mandate through policy and legislation, the effectiveness of EIA practice falls far short of what is mandated. This shows that further legislative reform is not required to improve effectiveness but rather a focus on changing the behaviour of individual professionals. We conclude by inviting further debate on what exactly practitioners can do to give effect to sustainability in EIA practice. © 2012 Elsevier Inc.
Effectiveness; Growing demand; Legislative reforms; South Africa; Sustainability assessment; Sustainability principles; Sustainable outcomes; Environmental impact assessments; Sustainable development; Laws and legislation; environmental impact assessment; environmental legislation; environmental policy; sustainability; sustainable development; South Africa