It is mandatory for any development project, in Eswatini, to be subjected to the EA process prior to implementation. The Environment Management Act, 2002, identifies Eswatini Environment Authority as the administrator of the EA process. EA is a process design to ensure that the environmental consequences of development are identified and environmental management measures are established to mitigate against adverse impacts. This is to ensure that environmental management measures are incorporated into the design of projects.
The associated stages of the EA process include submission of a project brief to the Eswatini Environment Authority. This brief is subjected to a screening process which leads to the categorization. Categorization determines the level of assessment required for the respective development before the issuance of an authorization letter. Assessment levels are prescribed as category 1, EMP, 2, or 3 in the Environment Assessment Regulation, 2022. Under each of these categories, documentation is submitted to the Eswatini Environment Authority, leading to authorization.
The following factors influence the category assigned to project briefs;
Nature of the project
The scale of the project
Location in relation to environmentally sensitive areas,
Anticipated impacts that will be suffered by the environment due to the project,
Policies and legislation pertaining to the environment.
Environment Assessment Regulations, 2022, contain a schedule of submission fees (see Tariffs) relevant to the respective stages of the EA process. These regulations further stipulate the time it is take the Eswatini Environment Authority to attend and issue a correspondence regarding all submissions made. There are submission fees relevant to each stage of the EA process, which are also indicated in the regulations.
The following are relevant EA submission timeline as per the provisions of the Environmental Assessment Regulations, 2022;
Project Brief Within Five (5) days
Environmental Management Plan Within Five (5) days
Category 2 Submissions
Initial Environmental Evaluation Within Ten (10) days
Category 3 Submissions
Scoping Report (Terms of Reference) Within Five (5) days
Environmental Impact Assessment Within Fifteen (15) days
Public Review Not less than Fifteen (15) days
All developers are expected to commission an Environmental Assessment Practitioner to undertake EA and facilitate the acquisition of an environmental authorization before the inception of a project. The EA process affords interested and affected parties engagement opportunities allowing them to be informed about the development project and further inform the decision making stage.