Activities for which EIA is required

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From the procedural report of the BBNJ Preparatory Committee, 31/07/17 :

The text would address the thresholds and criteria for undertaking environmental impact assessments in respect of areas beyond national jurisdiction.

From Chair's indicative suggestions document 31/05/17:

The text would set out the threshold and criteria for undertaking environmental impact assessments, including how to operationalize article 206 of UNCLOS in respect of areas beyond national jurisdiction.

From President's aid to discussion 25/06/18:

(a) The thresholds and criteria for environmental impact assessments that would be included in the instrument and how these would be reflected.

(b) Would a list of activities that require or do not require an environmental impact assessment complement those thresholds and criteria?

(c) Would cumulative impacts be taken into account? If so, how would the instrument provide for such impacts being taken into account?

(d) Would the instrument include a specific provision for environmental impact assessments in areas identified as ecologically or biologically significant or vulnerable?


Suggestion 1: Significant adverse effects[edit | edit source]

Activities, plans and programmes are subject to a prior EIA/SEA where they may have/are likely to have significant adverse effects on the marine environment or marine biodiversity of ABNJ.

References: IUCN Policy Brief VIII, CBD Art 14 (1)(a) (Impact Assessment), Espoo Convention Art 2(3), Kiev Protocol Art 4; CBD Art 7, CBD Art 14

Suggestion 2: Substantial pollution or significant harmful changes[edit | edit source]

Activities, plans and programmes are subject to a prior EIA/SEA where they may cause substantial pollution of or significant and harmful changes to the marine environment or marine biodiversity of ABNJ.

References: UNCLOS Art 206 (assessment of potential effects of activities), Espoo Convention Art 2(3)

Suggestion 3: Minor or transitory effect[edit | edit source]

Activities, plans and programmes that are likely to have more than a minor or transitory effect on the marine environment or marine biodiversity of ABNJ are subject to a prior EIA/SEA.

References: Madrid Protocol, Art 8 (EIA), Kiev Protocol Art 4

Suggestion 3: Establish a lower threshold for EIAs to be conducted in ABNJ MPAs[edit | edit source]

Activities, plans and programmes that are likely to have more than a minor or transitory effect on the marine environment or marine biodiversity within the MPA are subject to a prior EIA/SEA.

References: Madrid Protocol, Art 8 (EIA), Kiev Protocol Art 4 (field of application concerning plans and programmes)

Suggestion 4: Lower threshold for areas designated by sectoral bodies[edit | edit source]

The threshold for EIA/SEA for areas identified as ecologically or biologically significant or vulnerable (as part of a process for recognition of the work of other bodies) should be lower to reflect the special nature of these internationally recognised areas. Any activity that takes place in an EBSA or VME should receive special scrutiny, similar to the process for an MPA.

References:

Suggestion 5: List activities that are always subject to EIA[edit | edit source]

Specify activities, plans or programmes that are always subject to mandatory prior EIA, or subject to a lower threshold in determining whether an EIA is required. These could include, inter alia:

  • Aquaculture
  • Dumping of waste
  • Geo-engineering
  • Offshore hydrocarbon production
  • Marine scientific research
  • Laying of submarine cables and pipelines
  • Ocean energy operations

There must be a sufficiently flexible, participatory and science-based process for developing and managing the list. Such a list should be non-exhaustive and subject to updating.

Note: Specifying a list of activities can make it clear for States, operators and other stakeholders undertaking those activities and make it easier to monitor and ensure compliance.

References: Espoo Convention, Art 2(3) (general provisions); Appendix I (List of activities) Kiev Protocol Art 4 and Annexes I (list of projects) and II, Kiev Protocol Art 5 (screening), EU Directive on EIA 2011/92/EU; Annexes I and II as amended by EU Directive 2014/52/EU, IUCN Policy Brief VIII

Suggestion 6: Decision-making body to develop/maintain list of activities subject to EIA[edit | edit source]

Provide for the decision making body to develop a list of activities, plans or programmes that are always subject to mandatory prior EIA/SEA, or subject to a lower threshold in determining whether an EIA/SEA is required. Provide criteria for listing activities, based on whether the activity, plan or programme has the potential to adversely affect marine biodiversity, alone or in combination with other existing activities.

References: Espoo Convention, Art 2(3) (general provisions); Appendix I (List of activities) Kiev Protocol Art 4 and Annexes I (list of projects) and II, Kiev Protocol Art 5 (screening), EU Directive on EIA 2011/92/EU; Annexes I and II as amended by EU Directive 2014/52/EU, IUCN Policy Brief VIII

Suggestion 7: Cumulative impacts[edit | edit source]

Screening for EIAs and SEAs should consider cumulative impacts. The instrument specifies the types of cumulative impacts taken into account, including impacts of climate change such as warming, de-oxygenation and acidification.

References:

Suggestion 8: EIAs for activities related to MGR[edit | edit source]

MGRs could be subject to EIAs on the basis of a screening process, that would be triggered under certain conditions, for example, collection of MGRs in MPAs or in vulnerable marine ecosystems such as hydrothermal vents or when destructive devices will be used.

References:

Also see[edit | edit source]