August 5, 2021, saw the virtual launch of an e-book entitled “A Handbook for EIA Practitioners in the OECS”, by George K. Sammy, Hema David, Debbie Reyes and Indrany Linda Sammy.
The purpose of this Handbook is to provide practical guidance in the preparation of Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs) so as to facilitate informed decision-making. The target readership includes Environmental Scientists and Engineers, Sociologists, Regulatory Agencies, Other Government Agencies and Non-Governmental and Community Based Organizations.
The countries and territories of OECS face a pressing requirement for development in order to meet the needs of growing populations.
Yet as small island developing states, we are particularly prone to environmental damage that could result from ill-considered and poorly planned development.
An EIA is one tool that may be used to identify the potential for adverse environmental impacts and to recommend measures to reduce (or, preferably, to eliminate) such impacts.
In the 1980s, the Governments of the OECS recognized the positive role that EIA can play in the planning process in their member states, and took positive steps to make the process functional.
This included the drafting of model legislation which was subsequently adapted and enacted in the individual member states and territories of the OECS, and arranging training for public servants who would be responsible for implementing the legislation.
The Caribbean Development Bank also played a key role in this effort, incorporating environmental considerations into their loan approval process fairly early and arranging training courses in EIA for all of their Borrowing Member Countries in 1994. Due to all these efforts, EIA became established in the OECS by the late 1990s, as a necessary tool for planning and approval of large and complex projects.
It is now apparent that laws and regulations in the OECS would be beneficially supplemented by a guidance document in which EIA Practitioners can obtain a broad explanation of the EIA Process and specific procedures. This Handbook addresses that need.
In it, the Authors share their significant experience with the EIA Process, so that other Practitioners may gain from their insights. Further information on the Handbook may be obtained at https://oecseiahandbook.wordpress.com.
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