In this conclusion the report collates the most applicable actions, and assigns a suggested timeframe for the activities.
– Accessibility of existing guidelines to be improved
– Ensure officials (particularly in local government) are aware of the guidelines, how to use and interpret
– Ensure all identified Guidelines are available at a central repository
– Improve the quality of authorisations
– Authorisations must be drafted in a manner which allows the compliance and enforcement function to be effectively and efficiently executed
– Authorisations (including conditions) must be accessible to all registered I&APs, and changes to authorisations (at any time frame) must be communicated to I&APs within a tight time frame (days, not weeks)
– Compile Guideline documents
– For the application of the principles of NEMA
– For attaining the objectives in Chapter 5 of NEMA
– For tool selection within the management cycle, particularly where changes to the “default” tools (particularly EIA) are proposed
Short term Actions
The following immediate actions are proposed in order to move towards the Outcome based IEM model:
- Compile Guideline document on Outcome-based approach that will lead to a regulated Outcome-based Management System
- Establish and maintain indicators to measure outcomes linked to environmental priorities. The process of identifying these criteria should include a robust public participation component
- Compile Guideline documents
– For the new format of EIA reporting described below
– For the use of the new tool, Compliance Assessment Report
– For the use of any other new tools which may be identified
- Change the requirements for EIA reports
– EAPs should include three perspectives in the EIA reports –
a) the biophysical environment in compliance with the regulations BUT specifically focussing on the desired outcome for the environment and how it will be achieved or supported as indicated in 5.3,
b) the motivation as articulated by the proponent focussing on the outcome based approach as determined in 5.3 and
c) collation of any number of needs/desires of Interested and Affected Parties in order to determine the desired state of the environment in line with strategic targets.
Note: The change (c) is to address the perception of subjectivity, and to clarify the position/s of the I&APs into the final EIR. For (b) the proponent (or a consultant other than the EAP) as the most qualified party, should author the motivation for the development. These changes are to foster objectivity.
– Suitably qualified EAPs should indicate how the proposed development will contribute to achieving ecological sustainability. The EAP must stipulate how, when and which indicators will be used to quantifiably determine ecological sustainability. The measures should be integrated into the Environmental Management Programme (EMP), and reported using the format of the (newly described) Compliance Assessment Report.
- Change the requirements for EMPs
– The EMP must clearly demonstrate how and when specific indicators for ecological sustainability will be measured, captured and reported.
– The EMP must clearly indicate the actions to be taken if ecological sustainability measures indicate failure, and should also indicate the priority of the action required, including time frames and resource allocation.
– The EMP should indicate a chain of escalation within the organization and to officials, correlating the severity with seniority for the priorities identified above.
- Develop a system to collate monitoring information, provided by projects as described in EMPs (see above). The collated information should conform to the requirement that may be identified by Subtheme 2: Information and Knowledge, and should be available to inform strategic processes – such as EMF, SDF, SEA,.
- Develop baseline data, integrating with the requirement for data integrity and management as defined by Subtheme 2: Information and Knowledge. The baseline data will be used to validate the information provided in Compliance Assessment Report (see above), and should align with the current and future needs of SoE reporting.
- Compliance interventions (including site inspections and compliance notices) must be tracked and be transparent to stakeholders, including a complainant and I&APs. It is envisaged that the National Environmental Assessment System (NAES) could be adapted to fulfill this function.
Longer term Actions
- Eliminate duplication and inefficiency in permitting
- Availability of information, and integrity (quality) of data must be improved. There is a two-fold intention – one, to make information about the local environment available to stakeholders. Two, to make a level of “base data” for reports compulsory and also available. This will allow the EAP and specialists to focus resources on ground truthing and adding value to data already available. This intervention addresses the tendency to copy and paste report content, while also recognising that some geographic commonality infers a standard component to some of the content is possible without compromising validity or applicability.
- “Close the loop” indicates the need to feed information from one phase of the management cycle into the next – so for instance, to take valuable learning from Enforcement as Feedback into Planning.
- Draft guidelines for how to process, track and implement learning. This will require close collaboration with other subthemes, particularly ST2 and ST1
- Implement more regular auditing of tools to ascertain effectiveness and efficiency in measuring and attaining sustainable development and integrated impact management
- Amend as may be required the Regulations in terms of Chapter 5 of the National Environmental Management Act as required to reflect the elements introduced in the guidelines wrt a) outcome-based approach and b) the full management cycle of an integrated environmental impact management system