Welcome to the Department of Enviromental Affairs' interactive web forum, dedicated to the development of a National Environmental Impact Assessment Management Strategy for South Africa.
This strategy will aim to address key concerns and constraints within the current environmental impact management system and will shape the manner in which impacts are managed in the future.
Contributors within the management structure can log in to communicate and exchange ideas on themes within environmental impact management such as Governance, Administration & Public Involvement, Capacity, Skills & Transformation, as well Impacts & Instruments, while the DEA Project Management Team can monitor the results of discussion and control the drafting and publication of documents on this site.
Interested and/or affected members of the public can contribute as well. Please send us your details using the form on the Forum page and we will keep you updated of forthcoming events and progress.
Share your ideas by contributing to the public blog on the Forum page. Sign up. Once your password is emailed to you, you can start blogging.
PROGRESS TO DATE (2 OCTOBER 2012)
All Project Structures were established in May 2010, including the PSC, the Theme Coordinating Committees, Subtheme Task Teams, Advisory Group, Reference Group and DEA Project Management Team.
The Business Plan, Vision, Desired Future and Terms of Reference for each structure were finalised in July 2010.
The TORs for the compilation of 11 Subtheme reports were finalised in October 2010 and the Subtheme report service providers were appointed in January and February 2011, following the necessary procurement processes.
The first draft Subtheme reports were presented by the end of March 2011 and were available for comments by the represented sectors and Advisory Group at the end of April 2011. As a result of the length (more than 1000 pages) and technical nature/difficulty of the Subtheme reports, the PSC decided that the Subtheme reports will only be available to the wider Reference Group as part of the draft Theme reports which will be much more focussed on recommendations but will refer back to the Subtheme report as background documents. The draft Theme reports will also include a more understandable summary of the recommendations.
The Subtheme reports were finalised by the service providers in August 2011 after comments from the sectors and the Advisory Group were considered. However, the members of the PSC did not want to approve the reports in September as a result of major disagreements on certain issues within the reports as well as shortcomings within the reports.(The final Subtheme reports are available on the website for reference and background purposes)
The EIAMS PSC however minuted that the Final Subtheme reports were received, considered and common recommendation trends were identified. Agreements and disagreements on these trends were indicated and shortcomings were agreed on. It was also agreed that the shortcomings and disagreements will be interrogated as part of the Theme Reports.
The Theme Reports are now being finalised. As a result of various overlapping recommendations the PSC decided to integrate the existing Theme 1 and Theme 3. Only 2 Theme reports will therefore be provided for. The Theme reports include Governance & Administration and Impact & Instrument (Theme 1) and Capacity, Skills, Knowledge, Transformation and Public Participation (Theme 2).
The second draft Theme 2 report is now available to the represented sectors, Advisory Group as well as the wider Reference Group for comments by 13 November 2012.
It is foreseen that the second draft Theme 1 report will be avalailable for comments end of November.
Only after finalisation of the Theme reports, the draft Strategy will be compiled and made available for comment to all project structures.
The final Strategy will be published in the Government Gazette for comments from the general public.
The PSC members have started discussion on some of the main trends coming through in the Subtheme reports- on the http://eiams.environment.gov.za website. We urge you to register on the website and participate in these discussions, or start your own discussions.
(To view existing topics and comments you don't need to login - click on forum and on magnifying glass. If you want to access documents or create a new topic/comment please login first (top right hand corner). To create topic click on forum and create new topic. To add comments click on forum then topic magnifying glass and then add comments. To access document click on documents and then on the relevant magnifying glass)
ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT ASSESSMENT AND MANAGEMENT STRATEGY FOR SOUTH AFRICA
The Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996, for the first time placed people and not conservation at the centre of environmental management.
The White Paper on Environmental Management Policy (1997) includes an overarching framework policy developed through a comprehensive participatory process known as the Consultative National Environmental Policy Process (CONNEPP). The White Paper, amongst other things, defines the nature of sustainable development and introduces sustainable development as the accepted approach to resource management.
The Framework for sustainable development was compiled in order to articulate South Africa‘s national vision for sustainable development and indicate strategic interventions to re-orientate South Africa’s development path in a more sustainable direction.
Integrated Environmental Management (IEM) enforced by Chapter 5 of National Environmental Management Act, 1998 (Act No. 107 of 1998) (NEMA) is one of the policy directivestowards giving effect to Section 24 of the Constitution and the sustainable development imperatives of the Rio Earth Summit in 1992. The purpose of this Chapter is topromote the application of appropriate environmental management tools in order to ensure theintegrated environmental management of activities.
Regulations regulating environmental impact assessments were passed in 1997 in terms of the Environment Conservation Act, 1989. These Regulations were implemented by both the provincial and national spheres of government. The post-1994 evolution of law in SA and the problems with the implementation of the EIA Regulations necessitated the development of new EIA Regulations. NEMA (as amended) made provision for the development of the new EIA Regulations to replace the 1997 EIA Regulations, which came into effect in July 2006.
After the implementation of the 2006 NEMA Regulations the time was right to evaluate the efficiency and effectiveness of EIA in South Africa. DEAT therefore launched an extensive investigation and reviewed the efficiency and effectiveness (REE) of EIA practice as implemented over the period of 10 years. The REE culminated in the “Ten Years of EIA in South Africa Conference” and the findings of the issues were reported. It was agreed that the current system giving effect to the objectives of IEM as indicated in Section 23 of NEMA is inadequate. At the Conference it was agreed that an Environmental Impact Assessment and Management Strategy (EIAMS) should be formulated for SA. A desired future was sketched and it was agreed that the strategy should be developed and implemented to map the road in achieving such new system.
Since 1 May 2009, the EIA system also has to be implemented and administrated in adherence to amendments affected to NEMA through the National Environmental Management Amendment Act, 2008 (Act No. 62 of 2008). The process of amending the 2006 EIA Regulations is completed with replacement Regulations which were promulgated on 2 August 2010.
Although the White Paper and the objectives of Chapter 5 of NEMA envisaged tools for all elements defined in terms of NEMA, the system which was adopted and implemented only addressed command and control (through EIA) and was in its application very much limited to “projects” as opposed to the wide range included in the definition of ‘activities” in NEMA. “activities”, when used in Chapter 5, means, policies, programmes, processes, plans and projects.
2. Purpose, context and mandate of the Strategy
2.1 Purpose of EIAMS
The purpose of the EIAMS process is therefore to facilitate a participatory process in order to compile a strategy that gives effect to the objectives of integrated environmental management as contained in Section 23 of NEMA within the context of the principles of sustainable development (Section 2 of NEMA).
The strategy must look at the desired future state for the EIAM system and path the way to achieve it within the mandate provided by Chapter 5 of NEMA and within a strategic policy context.
The desired future includesan environmental impact assessment and management system, consisting of voluntary and regulated instruments in the next 5 years, where -
· the inefficiencies and ineffectiveness of the current system have been corrected and the efficiencies and effectiveness optimized;
· regulated EIA is used only when it is the most appropriate tool;
· IEMis given effect through a variety of other instruments that would, depending on the nature of activities and/or the receiving environment supplement, compliment or replace EIA;
· EIAM takes place within a strategic context of environmentally informed spatial instruments, sector strategies and policies;
· authoritiesare sufficiently capacitated with skilled and experienced officials;
· other stakeholders are capacitated and empoweredto ensure maximum impact on the effectiveness and efficiency of the strategy;
· government regulatory processeshave been as far as possible integrated, or at least aligned and
· all stakeholders are equally committed to make it work: Government, EAPs, developers, community etc.
The Strategy will be developed within the context of existing legislation, policies, NEMA, plans including National, Provincial, Local Integrated Development plans. The Strategy will need to respond to the current legislative context but should also influence it.
The Mandate of the Strategy stems from NEMA chapter 5 with specific reference to:
Section 23: General objectives:
The purpose of this Chapter is to promote the application of appropriate environmental management tools in order to ensure the integrated environmental management of activities. Activities in this instance mean policies, programmes, processes, plans and projects. Section 24 gives effect to the objectives contained in Section 23 of NEMA only through environmental authorizations. Environmental Authorizations include mainly 3 themes:
· Identification of activities which require authorization.
· Process/procedures for authorization (including instruments).
· Implementation of authorization.
Section 24 however fails to allow for usage of instruments such as norms and standards that do not fall within the scope of the definition of “norms and standards” as provided for in section 1 of the Act.
Figure 1: Context and Mandate
3. Progress to Date
The Conference in 2008 agreed on project structures for the EIAMS:
The project structures include:
· The Project Management Team (PMT)
· The Project Coordinator (PC)
· The Project Steering Committee (PSC)
· The Theme Coordinating Committees (TCC)
· The Subtheme Task Teams (STTT)
· The Advisory Group (AG)
Figure 2: Project Structures
Three Themes were identified for the Strategy namely:
· Governance and Administration
· Capacity, Skills & Transformation
· Impacts and Instruments
The Project Coordinator was appointed in February 2010 and the first PSC workshop was also held in February 2010. The three Theme Coordinating Committees were established in May 2010 and the 2nd PSC meeting was held on 28 July 2010. The Terms of References for the PSC and TCCs have been finalized as well as the Business Plan, Time Frames and Vision for the Strategy.
A Vision for the process has been compiled by the PSC namely:
“ To give effect to the framework for integrated environmental management by providing for a diverse range of regulatory and other mechanisms to ensure proactive assessment and management that are implemented through cooperative governance and accountable, transparent and participatory decision-making, to achieve sustainable development”.
5. Themes and Subthemes
At the PSC meeting in February 2010 the draft subthemes were developed and thereafter amalgamated and confirmed by the second PSC meeting in July 2010. The following subthemes under each theme have been agreed upon:
Theme 1: Governance and Administration:
Subtheme 1: Procedures and Organisational Structures
Subtheme 2: Knowledge and Information
Subtheme 3: Public Participation
Subtheme 4: Monitoring and Enforcement
Subtheme 5: Quality assurance and Independence of EAP’s
Theme 2: Capacity, Skills & Transformation
Subtheme 6: Representative demographics within service providers and civil society
Subtheme 7: Empowerment of marginalized communities
Subtheme 8: Skills of EAPS and Government Officials
Theme 3: Impacts and Instruments
Subtheme 9: Existing and new Environmental Impact Management Tools
Subtheme 10: Co-operative Governance: EIAM tools
Subtheme 11: Quality Management: EIAM Tools
6. Way forward
Subtheme specialist reports
The subtheme specialist reports will be compiled during the period August 2010 to March 2011. The Terms of Reference for eleven detailed subtheme specialist studies are in the process of compilation and approval. The Terms of Reference set out the specific tasks and deliverables per subtheme.
After the subtheme reports have been agreed upon by the project structures as part of a participatory process, the Theme reports will be compiled.
7. Website development
A website has been developed for dissemination of information, exchange of ideas and comments: www/ EIAMS.environment.gov.za. People are invited to register as part of the reference group on the website. Reports and documentation will be made available on the website for comments and discussion after the project structures have reached sufficient agreement on the documents.