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Pacific Islands

Pacific Islands assess environmental impacts of development

Apia, Samoa

Stronger guidelines to assess the impact of development on the environment in the Pacific have just been released by the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP).

Increasing development in the Pacific in the form of tourism, land mining, energy, deep-sea mining and transport has led to Pacific Island countries calling for stronger Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) systems.

Mr Clark Peteru, Acting Director of the Environmental Monitoring and Governance Division of SPREP, said that the new guidelines will support its long-running EIA programme in Pacific Island countries.

The guideline, titled ‘Strengthening environmental impact assessment: guidelines for Pacific island countries and territories’ has been developed as a user-friendly manual. “The manual includes a tool kit with step-by-step instructions and checklists for key stages of the EIA process such as screening new developments, developing terms of reference for EIA reports, and reviewing EIA reports,” said Mr Peteru.

The EIA tool identifies and manages the impacts of development on the environment. It also minimized the negative impacts on the environment and maximized the positive impacts. In addition, the EIA can be used for climate change by making developments more resilient.

SPREP member countries were consulted during the development of the guideline sharing challenges and insights at EIA training workshops.

The EIA Guidelines can be viewed at www.sprep.org/attachments/Publications/EMG/regional-eia-guidelines.pdf