|Review of environmental assessment & management|
|The 2006 Study|
|A more effective EIA Process|
|A more efficient EIA Process|
|Effectiveness, Efficiency and Cost|
- The average time it took to complete an EIA process from start to finish was 284 days.
- The average time it took to compile an EIA document and application was 147 days.
- On average authorities took 158 days to evaluate the EIA documents and to reach a decision.
- The longest a process took was 2744 days and the longest it took to compile an EIA document and application was 2401 days, while the longest it took to evaluate and decide on an application was 1128 days.
- The trends are heavily influenced by a minority of applications that take much longer than the rest.
The prominent views from various sources are collated and included in the report.
The themes are:
- The importance of adequate resources and capacity in government to improve effectiveness and ensure efficiency in the EIA system
- Concerns regarding political interference with EIA administration and the perceived lack of political will and commitment in terms of environmental management
- Making the EIA system more effective, including views and suggestions around:
- Governance and co-operative government
- Utilisation of other instruments in combination with or in stead of EIA
- Utilisation of strategic instruments and spatial planning to establish the context for EIA
- Appropriateness of the current system for a developing country
- The bureaucracy of EIA
- Scope of EIA and mandates of environmental authorities
- Cumulative impacts
- Sustainable development, biodiversity considerations and the NEMA principles
- Making the EIA system more efficient
- The cost implications of EIA; and
- Conditions of authorisation, compliance monitoring and enforcement.
The following trends are perceived to be prevalent:
- EIA processes generally serve to motivate activities rather than assess whether or not activities should be permitted;
- EIA processes tend to generate mitigation measures rather than assess whether or not activities should be permitted;
- Competent authorities are relatively consistent in making decisions.
The following serious concerns have been expressed:
- Corruption within certain ompetent authorities;
- Undue influence of politicians by applicants/proponents
- Undue influence of junior to middle management officials by NGO’s
The biggest single issue that affects the effectiveness of EIA negatively in
Contribution of EIA to sustainable development
There is general ignorance amongst both officials and practitioners in respect to the sustainable development purpose of EIA. Sustainable development is seldom reflected deliberately and comprehensively in EIA documents.
The biodiversity conservation imperative that is set by NEMA as a cornerstone of sustainable development is also usually not adequately reflected in EIA processes, specially in how the local site specific issues impact on the broader biodiversity context.
Consideration of case law
Case law is rarely considered in making decisions.