Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) – also called safeguards - is an important approach to better design projects to minimize negative, and optimize positive, impacts. By focusing on the project level, EIA complements the Strategic Environment Assessment approach, which shapes national and sector plans and policies to be more environmentally sustainable and socially responsible.
A country safeguards system should have the following basic elements:
EIA has been widely adopted globally, but in the GMS this has been to varying success. Some countries, such as PRC and Thailand, have well advanced safeguards systems and capacity. Myanmar, on the other hand, has only begun to introduce the approach. A common thread in the GMS is that EIA application is often inconsistent across projects, and remedies or mitigation measures recommended by EIA reports are either not sufficiently effective or are simply not acted upon.
The Core Environment Program is assisting GMS countries to develop and improve their country safeguard systems. The objective is to strengthen the capacity of GMS countries to self-manage the environmental and social risks of development projects. Recognizing differences in the maturity of country EIA systems, CEP’s safeguards support responds to specific country needs, which may include improving EIA regulatory frameworks, training EIA practitioners, promoting participatory assessment processes, and securing funding for EIA mainstreaming. Knowledge exchange and learn-by-doing approaches are central to the CEP approach.
CEP’s safeguards work is closely coordinated with ADB efforts to enhance the effectiveness, sustainability, and development impact of the Bank’s projects, as well as to complement other ADB initiatives aiming to strengthen country safeguard systems.
Click here to find out more about these activities and other CEP work on safeguards.