EIA process

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

The text would address the procedural steps of an environmental impact assessment process, such as:

  • screening;
  • scoping;
  • impact prediction and evaluation, using the best available scientific information, including traditional knowledge;
  • public notification and consultation;
  • publication of reports and public availability of reports;
  • consideration of reports;
  • publication of decision-making documents;
  • access to information; and
  • monitoring and review.

The text would address decision-making following the environmental impact assessment, including on whether an activity would proceed or not and under which conditions.

The text would address the question of involvement of adjacent coastal States.

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

Environmental impact assessment process

(a) Taking into account the procedural steps of the environmental impact assessment process set out in section III of the report of the Preparatory Committee, which procedural steps would be included in the instrument? Are there any other steps that could be included?

(b) How much detail regarding procedural steps for environmental impact assessment would be included in the instrument?

(c) To what degree would the environmental impact assessment process, including the decision on whether an activity would proceed or not, be conducted by States or be “internationalized”? If the process were to be “internationalized”, which aspects of the process should be “internationalized”?

(d) How would the instrument reflect the involvement of adjacent coastal States, for example, and when and how would such involvement take place?

Suggestion 1: Screening[edit | edit source]

Screening to determine if an EIA is needed should include a preliminary risk assessment.

References: IUCN Policy Brief VIII

Suggestion 2: Scoping[edit | edit source]

EIA and SEA scoping mechanisms identify issues arising from the proposed activity that are likely to have a significant impact on the marine environment and/or marine biodiversity and identify alternative measures that avoid or prevent adverse impacts on the environment, including the alternative of not taking any action.

References: IUCN Policy Brief VIII

Suggestion 3: Decision by responsible state on EIA requirements[edit | edit source]

Responsible state decides whether full EIA is required.

Potential review and/or appeal by treaty body and/or stakeholders and peer review.


Suggestion 4: Assessment includes alternatives[edit | edit source]

The EIA includes assessment of realistic alternatives to the proposed activity, including an assessment of the environmental impact if the project were not undertaken.

References: IUCN Policy Brief VIII

Suggestion 5: Scientific and Technical expert body to review Assessment[edit | edit source]

A scientific or competent expert body could be useful to review the adequacy of EIAs, provide recommendations and guidelines, and aid in development of EIAs for States with capacity limitations.

References: IUCN Policy Brief VIII

Suggestion 6: Notification and consultation with all Parties[edit | edit source]

Require States to notify all Parties, through mechanisms set up by the Convention, of proposed activities within their jurisdiction or control that meet the specified threshold.

Other Parties may respond within a specified time indicating whether they intend to participate in the EIA/SEA procedure. The comments of these Parties must be taken into account

References: Espoo Convention Art 3, UNCLOS Art 205 (publication of reports), Kiev Protocol Art 10; SDG 14 (all states have shared interest in ABNJ)

Suggestion 7: Special weight to adjacent/affected Parties[edit | edit source]

Require States to notify all Parties of proposed activities, but give special weight to Parties adjacent to the areas to be affected, or likely to be affected by the proposed activities. Such Parties could be allowed a greater role in participating in the EIA/SEA procedure, or more say in final decision-making.

References: Espoo Convention Art 3, UNCLOS Art 205 (publication of reports), Kiev Protocol Art 10; ICJ Case Pulp Mills on the River Uruguay (EIA for activities with transboundary effect).

Suggestion 8: Public Opportunity to comment[edit | edit source]

Require States to permit the public and interested stakeholders to provide comments during the EIA process and on such EIA/SEA documentation and take the comments into account in making a decision.

References: Espoo Convention Espoo Convention, Art 2(6); Art 3(8), Aarhus Convention Art 6, 7 (public participation), Kiev Protocol Art 8 (public participation)

Suggestion 9: Final decision[edit | edit source]

Where the EIA process has indicated that there will likely be impacts on the marine environment or biodiversity of ABNJ meeting the specified threshold, the State or other decision-making authority will either impose conditions on the proposed activity or prevent the activity from proceeding.

References: Espoo Convention Art 6(1) and (2), UNGA Res. 61/105 para 83 (a) (activities managed to prevent significant adverse impacts or not authorized), FAO Deep Sea Fishing Guidelines section 5.2, Kiev Protocol Art 11; SDG 14 (avoid significant adverse impact to marine and coastal ecosystems)

Also see[edit | edit source]