Who makes the final decision on EIAs?

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Suggestion 1: Final decision by State[edit | edit source]

The final decision on whether a proposed activity, plan or programme should proceed will be made by the State under whose jurisdiction or control it takes place. In making this decision, it will take into account the EIS, comments by States Parties, recommendations of competent regional or international organizations, including institutions set up by the agreement, and comments by the public or interested stakeholders. It will give reasons why its decision has been taken. It will publish reports of the final decision, pursuant to UNCLOS Art 205.

References: Espoo Convention Art 6(1) and (2); Aarhus Convention Art 9 (access to justice), UNCLOS Art 205 (publication of reports), UNCLOS Art 206 (assessments), Kiev Protocol Art 11

Suggestion 2: Final decision by international organization[edit | edit source]

The final decision on whether a proposed activity, plan or programme should proceed will be made by a competent subregional, regional or international organization, or a decision-making body set up by the agreement. The competent body will consider the EIS, recommendations of the State within whose jurisdiction/control it takes place, comments by other States Parties, comments by the public or interested stakeholders, and possibly recommendations of a scientific or technical committee under the agreement.


Note: Responsibility for reviewing EIAs and authorizing activities is connected with responsibility, and potentially liability, for damage. Allocating this responsibility only to States under whose jurisdiction or control the activity takes place is a potentially reactive approach, that could disproportionately burden those States with less capacity for conducting and managing EIAs and less capacity for rehabilitation of damage. International consultation, review, and scrutiny of the EIA can provide States with an added layer of security to ensure that they have incorporated the best available information including scientific and traditional knowledge into the EIA.

References: UNCLOS Art 162 (Power to disapprove areas for exploitation where risk of serious harm to environment)

Suggestion 3: Review procedure[edit | edit source]

In conjunction with one of the above suggestions, the decision should be subject to review by a competent international organization or institution set up under the agreement (such as a compliance committee) at the request of a State Party or other stakeholder.

References: Espoo Convention Art 6(1) and (2); Art 15 (dispute resolution), Aarhus Convention Art 9 (access to justice)

Also see[edit | edit source]