Impact Assessment & Capacity Building

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Abstracts Volume
The Environmental Professional’s Forum

Bringing together environmental decision-makers,

industry and community leaders, and professional practitioners

Impact Assessment

& Capacity Building

Building Capacity for Impact Assessment

17-20 June 2003

Palmeraie Golf Palace & Resort

Marrakech, Morocco

23rd Annual Meeting of the

International Association for Impact Assessment
In collaboration with the

Francophone Secretariat

of the International Association for Impact Assessment

Ministry of Land Use Planning, Water and Environment

Kingdom of Morocco


This volume contains the abstracts of papers and posters presented at IAIA’03, the 23rd Annual Conference of the International Association for Impact Assessment.

Abstracts received by the International Headquarters and with the presenting author registered in full on or before 15 April 2003 are included.

Abstracts are arranged in the approximate order in which presenters confirmed their participation via registration and/or revised abstracts were received. Key words and author indices are included at the end of this volume.

Abstracts have been minimally edited for grammar, spelling, and mechanics, and formatted for style consistency. Length in excess of 300 words was subject to deletion. Abstracts, contact information, and key words are otherwise reprinted as provided by the author(s).


Gullón, Natalia

Confederación Hidrográfica del Júcar

Ministerio de Medio Ambiente

Avda. Blasco Ibáñez, 48

46010 Valencia, Spain

+34 96 3938800 Fax: +34 96 3938801
To what extent could GIS be a suitable tool for SEA? Strategic Environmental Assessments usually address a large geographical area and capture considerations from various disciplines, integrating ecological, economic and socio-cultural criteria. The data scale and level of detail are reduced. Sustainability indicators and broad concepts are used, such as energy consumption, spatial impacts, atmospheric and noise pollution, cultivable soils loss, etc. Could GIS be used to integrate all of them, providing a direct reference to the spatial context in which they occur?

Geographic Information Systems allow modelling, dynamic visualization, up-to-dates, etc., and offer a great capacity of data treatment. Could they be used to integrate the large amount of data of various natures (qualitative and quantitative, graphic and alpha-numeric) that have to be taken into consideration throughout the planning and decision-making process? Could GIS be a used as a spatial analysis tool to represent and analyse for example the evolution of complex systems such as cities (spatial development or urban decline) and the effects of human action on the natural environment?

This poster tries to give an answer to all these questions and presents some conclusions on the GISability of SEA.
Key words: decision-making, geographic information systems, GIS, strategic environmental assessment, SEA

Burdge, Rabel J.

Department of Sociology and Huxley College of the Environment

Western Washington University

PO Box 4056

Bellingham, WA 98227-4056 USA

+1 360 676 9892 Fax: +1 360 715 0985
This poster illustrates the use of social impact assessment to help planners, change agents, elected officials and concerned citizens understand future opportunities and consequences in their community as a result of project implementation or policy change.
After a definition of social impact assessment and a history of its use in the planning process, the basic Social Impact Assessment Model is laid out. I provide visual examples of how an SIA matrix can be used in a variety of project and policy settings. Next the SIA scoping process is outlined as a way to identify likely social impacts (issues) based on past research and social assessments of similar developments and policy changes.

The content of the social impact assessment is made up of 28 social impact assessment variables, which have been found to explain change in a variety of project and policy settings. My measures of social impacts have been extracted from completed environmental and social impact assessments (including my own) and ex-post facto social science research on the response of rural and urban communities to external change. Next is a definition and ways of measuring and analyzing selected SIA variables, followed by demonstrations of significance and procedures for reducing the number of SIA variables. The use of different data sources for social assessments is also illustrated.

I illustrate a ranking procedure for the selection of significant SIA variables. Once identified, these SIA variables become the basis for mitigation, enhancement and management of the change process. Examples of mitigation and enhancement alternatives are displayed for a representative project. The poster concludes with the SIA key citation index.

Sigurðardóttir, Hólmfríður; Gunnarsson, Jakob

Planning Agency

Laugavegur 166, 150 Reykjavík, Iceland
Geothermal resources in Iceland are closely associated with the country's volcanism and location on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. Geothermal energy plays an important role in the energy supply providing about 50% of the total primary energy supply while hydropower provides 18%, oil 30% and coal 2%.
The principal use of geothermal energy in Iceland is for space heating but expansion in the energy intensive industry has been partly met by increased geothermally produced electricity.
A state institution, the Planning Agency, oversees the EIA process in Iceland. The chief environmental factors under consideration in the process regarding developments in geothermal areas are water resources and disposal, geologic factors, landscape and visual effects, tourism and recreation, vegetation, hot spring microflora and fauna, noise pollution, and air quality. These factors are scale and location dependent but the geothermal regions in many cases enjoy some form of a protected status and are sensitive and pristine areas. A clear governmental policy on protection and utilisation of high enthalpy geothermal regions in Iceland is not available but clearly essential in light of the increasing interest in their exploration and possible utilisation.

There are advantages in geothermal energy in comparison to fossil fuels, nuclear energy and hydro-electric power. However, question marks regarding the renewability of geothermal reservoirs linger as well as a tendency to underestimate other environmental effects pertaining to geothermal energy utilisation.

The paper will address the following points in view of the EIA experience on geothermal energy plans in Iceland:

  • Geothermal energy utilisation, statutory environment in Iceland

  • Location dependent environmental factors: Small scale projects-irreversible effects

  • EIA as a basis for sound decisions: The importance of comprehensive assessment at an early stage

  • Case studies

Key words: geothermal energy utilisation, geothermal resource management, EIA, location dependent assessment

Earley, Robert J.

School of Planning, University of Waterloo

200 University Ave. W.

Waterloo, Ontario N2L 3G1 Canada

This research explores the relationship between social impact assessment (SIA) and social services planning and delivery in the oil sands mining city of Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada. These oil sands have been described as one of the world’s most valuable resource bodies. Indeed, over 177 billion barrels of oil make it one of the largest known proven oil reserves. The infrastructure required to harvest this resource, however, is both capital and labour intensive, and has tremendous impacts on both the environment and the human communities that are in the area. While development has occurred in a boom and bust cycle since 1964, the most recent wave of development has been the most intense. More than $60 billion in capital investment will occur over the next ten years. As a result, there have been significant cumulative social and economic impacts on Fort McMurray, and it is expected they will continue into the future. Studied here will be the continuous stream of SIA reports that have been produced since oil sands development started in the area, the data that has been collected, the mitigation measures recommended, and how these aspects of SIA have contributed to the social planning and delivery process in Fort McMurray. The input of representatives from the oil sands industry, local and provincial governments and NGOs, and SIA practitioners will be used to describe the current situation and to offer insight into the future roles of SIA in planning in both Fort McMurray, and other single-industry communities.

Key words: social impact assessment, cumulative social effects, Athabasca oil sands, social planning, social services delivery


Issa, Abdulrahman Salim

Eastern Africa Association for Impact Assessment

P. O. Box 68200

Nairobi 00200 Kenya

+254 20 890605-12 Fax: +254 20 890615
Since the high level meeting of the African Ministers Conference on Environment that deliberated on EIA capacity enhancement in Africa, further consultations and several initiatives on Environmental Assessment (EA) capacity building for Africa have been undertaken. They include Yamoussoukro meeting (1996), Nairobi stakeholders meeting (1998), programme development for capacity enhancement for EIA in Africa (1999), the Hague meeting of African representatives and donor community (2000), CLEIAA initiative (2001), Gobabeb consultations (2002) and several sub regional consultations.
In all the initiatives, strengthening of networks of EIA professionals is identified as important means for addressing African EIA capacity building needs. Professional networks are important means for capacity building through supporting exchange of information, knowledge, expertise, lessons, establishment and use of roster of vetted EIA experts, thus facilitating capacity building and enhancing effectiveness of EIA.

Eastern Africa Association for Impact Assessment was established in 2001 to support EIA capacity building and strengthening EIA practice in the sub-region. The poster will explain the purpose, activities and challenges in establishment of the network and strengthening its activities.

Key words: EIA capacity building, networking, exchange


Gazzola, Paola

Department of Civic Design

University of Liverpool

74 Bedford Street South

Liverpool L69 7ZQ UK

The poster aims to describe and represent a PhD research project currently being developed at the Department of Civic Design of the University of Liverpool, in the UK.
The research project aims at identifying the most appropriate form of integrating SEA in different planning systems. In this context the focus is on two main objectives of SEA: how to support decision-making for sustainable development and how to strengthen and streamline project EIA.
The project is based on the following two main assumptions:

  1. the way in which environmental assessments should be conducted within a planning system depends on the specific ingredients and rules of this system

  2. problems connected with introducing strategic environmental systems (SEA) are mainly due to a lack of effective integration of the “environmental component” within development processes

The core hypothesis is that the implementation of strategic environmental assessment (e.g., EU Directive 42/2001/EC) needs to be done in a flexible manner, adapting to the needs of existing planning and decision-making contexts.

Key words: SEA, EIA, sustainability, SEA directive, different planning systems


Chahó, Edmundo Ducoing

Universidad Autonoma Metropolitana

Av. San Rafael Atlixco 186

Col Vicentina, Del. Iztapalapa

CP 09340, D. F. México

+52 0155 5558044747 Fax +52 0155 5558044738

Ramírez Romero, Patricia

Universidad Autonoma Metropolitana

Av. San Rafael Atlixco 186

Col Vicentina , Del. Iztapalapa

CP 09340, D. F. México

+52 0155 5558046493 Fax: +52 0155 5558044738

Guizar, Josefina Cendejas

Universidad Michoacana de San Nicolas de Hidalgo


Camino a San Juanito Itzicuaro

Morelia, Michoacan, México

The Patzcuaro Watershed is located between 19º15'-20º00'N and 101º30'- 102º00'W, 350 km away from Mexico City. The lake is considered a mature lake and humans have inhabited this area since pre-Columbian times. Nowadays the lake is in a rapid process of desiccation caused by unplanned human activities. This study determines the changes in environmental quality through environmental Impact Assessment Methodologies. We developed an integrated environmental assessment using Simple Checklist, Pondered Criteria Matrix, Networks and Environmental Changes Simulation Model (KSIM). Loss of old forest coverage was calculated to be around 50% in 20 years, and erosion causes an average loss of soil of about 10 ton/acre per year. Hydrophilic vegetation has substantially increased (30% in 5 years) and the lake surface has decreased from 23,000 acres to 15,000 acres in 20 years and the volume of the lake has decreased dramatically from 500 Million m3 to 240 Million m3. Water quality indicators (nutrients, total solids, etc.) have increased up to one order of magnitude. Organic matter in sediments averages over 15%. Fisheries of endemic and introduced species have fallen dramatically since 1996. The causes of this loss: unplanned urban sprawl (has caused loss of soil and produces waste waters that are not treated and also solid wastes that are not disposed of properly), clandestine forest cutting (represents 50% of the total wood commercialized), and changes in cultural habits of peasants. It is obvious that to stop damage, mitigation measures have to be implemented: erosion has to be stopped, waste waters have to be treated, urban growth has to be planned, a regional landfill has to be constructed and a forest management program has to be developed, all of which has to be done simultaneously. However, this plan has to begin with an environmental education program.

Key words: water quality, water quality indicators, pondered criteria matrix, environmental changes simulation model


Oleson, Kirsten

World Bank

1818 H St, NW

Washington, DC 20433 USA

+1 202 483 7156

Sanchez-Triana, Ernesto

World Bank

1818 H St, NW

Washington, DC 20433 USA

+1 202 473 6952

The Latin America region of the World Bank has taken the lead in developing structural adjustment lending instruments targeted toward the environment. These loans focus on establishing the policy for main streaming environmental variables into economic sectors such as energy or tourism, and to ensure sustainability of resources such as water or forestry. The goals of the loans are to mainstream environment into the relevant ensuring that environmental issues are considered in their planning and implementation processes. The poster will present two case studies.
Key words: World Bank, lending, environment, structural adjustment loan, mainstreaming


Birgisson, Axel Valur

Honnun, Consulting Engineers

Grensásvegur 1, 108 Reykjavík, Iceland

+354 5104000 Fax: +354 5104001

The project is based on construction of water supply for Kopavogur, a town of 25.000 inhabitants in SW-Iceland. The construction consists of four approximately 100-meter-deep boreholes, building of a 800 m3 water reservoir and installation of up to a 10-km-long pipeline from the Heidmork nature reserve area. Honnun was the consultant for the EIA project and the designer for all the water supply facilities.

The water supply is located 6 km outside Kopavogur, in a nature reserve where postglacial lava landscape with scanty vegetation is dominating. The area is preserved due to special flora, fauna, archaeological remains, forestry and landscape diversity. The area also plays a crucial role in water management as a water protection area for up to 150.000 people, including Reykjavik, the capital of Iceland. Exploitation of potable water in the area has been ongoing from 1919.

The main catchment area is approximately 200 km2. There are strong orographic effects in the hills and mountains, resulting in ample precipitation or up to 3000 mm/year. The exploitation area is in a postglacial lava field where the last volcanic eruption occurred in the 14th century. Very porous lava fields along with fissure swarms makes the area very favourable for harnessing natural drinking water from the groundwater.
Because the proposed water supply is located in the preservation area, the constructor has to be extremely cautious to minimize risk of contamination. The main environmental impacts:

  • Impact on other water supply areas

  • Changes of water protection areas

  • Visual impact

  • Changes in vegetation cover

  • Risk of contamination

Several agencies were consulted during the EIA process along with the Planning Agency that makes the final decisions. The project is currently ongoing.

Key words: EIA, water supply, protection area
Larkin, Shane

Nicholas Pearson Associates

30 Brock Street

Bath BA1 2LN, England UK

+44 1225 445548 Fax: +44 1225 312387

Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is a process which identifies the environmental impacts of a project and proposes mitigation measures to reduce these impacts. At the initial design stage, EIA should be used to identify locations for siting a proposed development. These alternative locations must be led by reference to environmental criteria such as landscape and visual impact, ecological considerations, cultural heritage etc., and guided by practical considerations such as land availability and suitability, construction and operation of the proposed development.

When a preferred site has been selected using the criteria mentioned above it may still not be the site that is developed due to public opinion or landowner's consent. Thus, after undertaking a rigorous process, the chosen site which is the preferred site for environmental reasons may not be selected. This can lead to the viability of the EIA process being questioned.
When should the public be involved in the decision-making? The more informed the public are via exhibitions and liaison groups, theoretically the more positive the outcome will be. However, depending on the project type it is hard to overcome the Not In My Back Yard attitude (NIMBY). When people are in doubt or unsure of the proposal they will object and this is an inadequacy of the EIA process.
Public concerns need to be addressed at an early stage in the design process; however, a workable scheme with a number of alternatives needs to be produced before presenting it to the public. Whilst all issues can be addressed, if the proposed development evolves as a result of consultation and the proposed development presented to the public is acceptable, then surely this must be one of the main benefits of the EIA process.
This poster demonstrates this process by reference to a number of case studies in the UK.
Key words: public, consultation, alternatives

Nelson, Peter J.

Land Use Consultants

14, Great George Street

Bristol, BS6 6RJ, England UK

+44 1179 291 997 Fax: +44 1179 291 998

This poster will present a practical tool (the Sustainability Matrix) for appraising the sustainability of policies, plans and programmes within strategic environmental assessments. The author developed the technique for use in the United Kingdom (MOD Appraisal Handbook for Sustainability and the Environment). It was subsequently incorporated in the SEA of Water Use in Catchments (South Africa). It is now being used in the SEA of the Poverty Reduction Strategy (Ghana).

The technique can be used in all tiers of SEA. It examines policies against selected biophysical, social and economic criteria, and uses group discussion to determine appropriate performance scores. It is an interactive tool designed to improve policies through mitigation and enhancement. Indicators are included to assist with subsequent monitoring and evaluation.
Key words: SEA, sustainability appraisal, matrix, performance scores, indicators

Choi, Joon-Gyu; Park, Young-Jae; Park, Young-Min

Korea Environment Institute

613-2 Bulgwang-dong

Eunpyeong-gu, Seoul 122-706, Korea

+82 2 380 7698 Fax: +82 2 380 7744
Sunwoo, Young

Konkuk University

1 Hwayang-dong

Gwangjin-gu, Seoul 143-701, Korea

+82 2 450 3541 Fax: +82 2 456 5175,

The planners tend to prefer the most economic route in road constructions because the alternatives are usually compared by their quantitative values in terms of economy. However, the evaluation of environmental values cannot be easily quantified or indexed. In addition, it is highly difficult to evaluate the absolute values of diverse and proper ecosystems. To determine the optimal and environmentally friendly route, this study introduces a new approach to quantify environmental values. As significant influencing assessment categories in determining the optimal route, 6 assessment categories among 23 were defined as essential independent variables such as topography / geology, fauna / flora / vegetation, land use, noise, air quality, and water quality. Analytical hierarchy process (AHP) method is applied to quantify selected categories whose values were immanently qualitative as well as incomparable. The result indicated that weight-values of the categories were different from each other. The highest weight-value was 0.38 for fauna / flora followed by topography / geology (0.22), water quality (0.16), noise (0.09), air quality (0.09), and land use (0.05). In addition, the result showed a tendency of change in factor-dependent weight-value, in which the weight-values were higher for natural environmental factors than those for artificial factors. The logical structure for AHP consisted of alternative route plans, assessment categories and determination of optimal route. For the practical use of this result, a GUI-based computer program was developed, and the validation of the program was also conducted. The result of its application showed that the determination of the optimal route was highly acceptable and reasonable. The application of the program can be used as an efficient decision-making tool because of its fast and comprehensive evaluation process.

Key words: road construction, AHP, quantitative, environmentally friendly route


Gómez-Balandra, Ma. Antonieta;

Fabela Pilar, Saldaña

Instituto Mexicano de Tecnología del Agua (Water Technology Mexican Institute)

Paseo Cuauhnahuac 8532

Progreso, Jiutepec

62550 Morelos, Mexico

+52 (777) 329 3600 ext 401 and 410
Vázquez Hernández, Lidia;

Rodríguez López, Horacio

Comisión Federal de Electricidad

(Electricity Federal Commission)

Centro de Anteproyectos del Golfo

Calle Diego de Ordaz 593

C.P. 94925, Colonia Nueva Era

Boca del Río Veracruz, Mexico

RIAM (Rapid Impact Assessment Matrix DHI, 2000) and Conesa Matrix (2000) were used to assess a 360 ha water supply reservoir project, with a 138 km distribution pipeline, under planning stage in central Mexico in order to identify and describe its main environmental impacts. Using RIAM, impacts were scored in terms of its importance, magnitude, permanence, reversibility and cumulative effects. Final scores classified impacts from major positive to major negative in a scale from 72 to 108. Environmental components were classified as 15 physic - chemical, 21 biological - ecological, 27 social and cultural factors and 7 economic operational. When these components were reviewed against the 38 main project activities, 50 impacts resulted negative with just two in the higher score (landscape modification and biological corridor interruption). Twenty impacts were positive, with aquifer stabilization the main positive impact due to groundwater substitution by reservoir operation in terms of physic and economic parameters. On the other hand, Conesa classified impacts as non-significant <25, to critic >75, either negative or positive, according to criteria such as impact nature, intensity, persistence, importance, reversibility, mitigation, and cumulative condition. The final balance using this matrix resulted in 390 negative impacts, 281 of them in the moderated range (25 to 50 points) 103 non-significant and 6 severe. Positive impacts were related again to aquifer recovery, as well as local economy and employment. Both methods proved very useful in terms of screening impacts and updating scores, when more project or site information become available, since each score record can be reviewed, justified and changed. Nevertheless, it is still difficult to avoid uncertainty and subjective judges in scoring impacts, mostly in terms of environmental and cultural values, as well as impacts duplication, even when both matrixes were applied and reviewed under the same criteria.


Ro, Tae Ho; Choi, Joon-Gyu; Lee, Young-Joon

Korea Environment Institute

613-2 Bulgwang-dong

Eunpyong-gu, Seoul 122-706, Korea

+82 2 380 7671 Fax: +82 2 380 7744,
Korea is one of the countries whose rapid economic growth has been accomplished within a relatively short period during the late 20th century. The faster economic growth and urbanization progressed, the more negative environmental impacts resulted. As economic development was begun in earnest by strong leadership of a central government in the 1970s, environmental impact assessment (EIA) was also initiated. The Korean EIA system has been developed along with the growth of economic scale, and the process of its development can be divided into 4 stages such as Introduction, Intermediary, Settlement and Expansion stages. Related laws were enacted or amended as the assessment categories were also enlarged at each stage.

During Introduction stage (1977 to 1982), the Environment Preservation Act was enacted to initiate EIA and its statement review. A total number of assessment categories were changed from 3 to 10 subjects. However, EIA had been executed improperly because of insufficient enforcement decree at this stage. Basic Environmental Policy Act had been enacted and amended in the Intermediary stage (1983 to 1992). Subjects of EIA were subdivided in detail into 47 projects in 15 categories. This period was also the phase characterized by the introduction of public participation. The period of 1993 to 1998 is defined as the Settlement stage in the Korean EIA system. Environment Impact Assessment Act legislated in 1993 introduced the scope concept, the obligation of public hearing procedure and the inclusion of military works for the subjects of EIA. The subjects were expanded to a total of 63 projects within 17 categories. The Korean EIA system is now in the Expansion stage, distinguished from others by enactment of an integrated act, “EIA Act on Environment, Transportation and Natural Disaster,” in 1999. In this study, the evolution of the Korean EIA system as well as future developmental direction is discussed.

Key words: evolution history, developmental stage, Korean EIA


Zarzar, Alonso; Uquillas, Jorge

The World Bank

1818 H Street, NW

Washington, DC 20433, USA

+1 202 458 0150 Fax: +1 202 676 9373,


To enhance lowland Bolivia and Ecuador indigenous leaders’ knowledge and to improve their management in their interactions with the oil and gas industry working in fragile environments.


  1. Benefited 62 representatives of indigenous peoples; 14 were trained as instructors to disseminate lessons learned within their communities.

  2. Development of training materials.

  3. Specific recommendations to improve future training.


  • A critical outcome of the two phase training in Bolivia has been the creation of the UTHERs (Technical Hydrocarbon and Rural Electrification Units) within the regional organizations of CIDOB, to deal with matters concerning consultation, participation and impact-mitigation issues.

  • The training program has raised the need within the CONFENIAE in Ecuador to create a Technical Unit that will be in charge of preserving the knowledge acquired during this and future training programs.

  • The three stakeholders (government, industry and indigenous peoples) have requested that this training program be extended to all Amazonian countries where there is hydrocarbon development.

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