Environmental Impact Assessment for Wetlands: Stakeholders and Public Participation
Public participation is a prerequisite for Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and can consist of informing, consulting or full participation of stakeholders in the EIA process (shared analysis and assessment). Public participation is considered essential for the scoping and review phases of EIA, but also highly desirable for enhancing the quality of the whole assessment process. Relevant stakeholders include the project target groups, other people affected by the project, formal and informal organizations involved, and people who may rely on the wetland in the future. Benefits of participation include learning and empowerment of stakeholders, improved data collection, increased chances of success of the project, and in general good governance and sustainable development. The article concludes with a discussion of operating principles of participation (e.g. planning and facilitation). Some constraints are also presented, such as incomplete representation of stakeholders, communication barriers and legal limitations to participation.
KeywordsEnvironmental impact assessment Public participation Decision-making Environmental policy Good governance Joint learning
- André P, Enserink B, Connor D, Croal P. Public participation international best practice principles, Special publication, vol. 4. International Association for Impact Assessment: Fargo; 2006.Google Scholar
- Convention R. Impact assessment: guidelines on biodiversity-inclusive environmental impact assessment and strategic environmental assessment. Ramsar Handbooks for the wise use of wetlands, vol. 16. 4th ed. Ramsar Convention Secretariat: Gland; 2010a.Google Scholar
- Convention R. Participatory skills: Establishing and strengthening local communities’ and indigenous people’s participation in the management of wetlands. Ramsar handbooks for the wise use of wetlands, vol. 7. 4th ed. Ramsar Convention Secretariat: Gland; 2010b.Google Scholar
- Slootweg R, Kolhoff A, Verheem R, Höft R. Biodiversity in EIA and SEA. Background Document to CBD Decision VIII/28: Voluntary Guidelines on Biodiversity-Inclusive Impact Assessment. Utrecht : Netherlands Commission for Environmental Assessment; 2006. (English, Spanish and French version published as Technical Paper No. 26 by the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity.)Google Scholar