Conceptual and Methodological Advances
Edited by Henk A. Becker and Frank Vanclay
Chapter 5: Integrating Environmental and Social Impact Assessment
Roel Slootweg, Frank Vanclay and Marlies van Schooten Introduction There is a growing concern about the environmental and social consequences of development eﬀorts. The developed world potentially faces enormous costs due to the need to restore and protect the environment in order to safeguard natural resources for future generations. Developing countries must consider how their social and economic development can be combined with protection of the environment and preservation of their natural resources. This should be regarded, not as a luxury, but as a necessity for sustainable development. When applied in the earliest stages of the decision-making process, environmental impact assessment (EIA) and social impact assessment (SIA) can become important project planning instruments. They provide information on the consequences of speciﬁc development activities in such a way that these consequences can be taken into account and used in the process leading to a ﬁnal decision and in designing mitigation measures. Proper application of EIA and SIA can signiﬁcantly improve the quality of project proposals and will eventually lead to important savings on project implementation because of reduced negative impacts and better acceptance of the project objectives. Since the publication of the Brundtland Report (WCED, 1987) and the United Nations Conference on Evironment and Development (UNCED), or Earth Summit, in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, the concept of sustainable development has gained wide acceptance. The idea that environment and development are strongly interrelated is now recognized by many. Further, poverty and gender assessments are likely to become widely...
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