Conducting an Effective Environmental Assessment
Tips for Preparing an Environmental Assessment Report
- Be as concise as possible.
- Avoid jargon, especially in summary or executive statements. Technical information should be expressed in plain language which clarifies its relevance to the project.
- Report on all relevant matters. No information should be held back. This is especially true where opinions differ as to the extent of potential environmental impact or the merits of the project. However, it is not necessary to include all the information collected.
- Analyze significant details in greater depth.
- Provide a rationale for excluding topics from further consideration. For example, if a decision was made not to consult the local community, explain why.
- Ensure that the report contains a comprehensive evaluation of how project activities affect both the depletion of local resources and the production of waste material.
- Account for all community and project-related activities
- Provide a community profile that describes and analyses the key social, cultural, economic, political and physical characteristics of the community.
- Describe any impact on neighbouring communities.
- Don't forget to mention opportunities for environmental enhancement. A report does not have to be limited to negative aspects. Many community projects will have environmentally beneficial aspects as well.
- Describe the impact of the project on the local population. Outline the role of the target community in the assessment process.
- Provide an assessment of basic alternatives, if necessary. This should include the cost of abandoning the project as well as the cost of various alternatives.
- Explain any gaps or uncertainties in the information gathered.
- Outline a plan of action for all mitigation measures. Specify the institutional arrangements and responsibility for implementing these measures. Mitigation measures must be precisely worded. Use terms like "will" and "must" instead of "may" or "should."
- Include relevant material whether in written, oral or visual form. This might include baseline studies, interviews or records of public meetings.
- Try to propose conclusions that can be defended by the environmental assessment team. The techniques and ideas presented here should help achieve this aim.
- Distinguish between opinions held by the community and those held by the environmental assessment team.
- Mention the consequences and impacts of the project for different social groups.
- Lastly, make sure that communities are furnished with copies of the final environmental assessment report.