Environmental Impact Assessment in the Arctic
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Environmental Impact Assessment in the Arctic

A Guide to Best Practice

Timo Koivurova, Pamela Lesser, Sonja Bickford, Paula Kankaanpää and Marina Nenasheva

Significant growth in economic activity in the Arctic has added weight to the argument that projects must be developed responsibly and sustainably. Addressing growing concerns regarding the exploitation of the Arctic’s natural resources, this timely book presents and evaluates examples of best practice in Arctic environmental impact assessment.
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Chapter 13: Synthesis

Timo Koivurova, Pamela Lesser, Sonja Bickford, Paula Kankaanpää and Marina Nenasheva


While studying best practices in and of themselves is interesting and clearly provides value to others, even if it is just inspiration, there is also a broader context in which the usefulness, or success, of these practices should be measured. If the primary goal of EIA is to ensure the least possible harm to society and the environment, then the true value in gathering these practices is to see whether or not the Arctic states measure up in terms of realizing these ideal criteria for conducting an Arctic EIA. As mentioned in Chapter 4 (‘Approach and methodology’), we have considered the 1997 Arctic EIA Guidelines to offer a useful reference when evaluating the implementation of EIA and studying best practices, because they provide normative guidance on how to undertake EIAs in Arctic conditions, given the absence of this focus in the EIA systems of the countries themselves. (Please see Appendix A for the criteria.) We broke these practices down into four categories: practices that exceed the Guidelines; practices consistent with the Guidelines; practices that do not meet the expectations of the Guidelines and therefore are not considered to be good practices; and ‘new’ practices in EIA, defined as practices or approaches brought up in our interviews that were not discussed in the 1997 Guidelines.

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