Environmental Impact Assessment – Why EIA’s?

In Eswatini the EIA process is mandatory and must be done before any project commences. This is also done under the auspices of the Eswatini Environment Authority (EEA). The primary objective of an EIA is to identify the impact of proposed activities and to formulate mitigation plans, making it relatively simple to incorporate environmental concerns into the designs of a project.

Every developer or manufacturer implementing a project is expected to commission an EIA before starting, and if identified impacts cannot be mitigated, the project may not proceed.

The EIA process is effectively a decision-making tool aimed at avoiding environmental problems and is a legal requirement under the Environment Management Act 2002.

The EIA process caters for people or organisations who will directly affected by a proposed project, as well as those who are interested, and the aim is to ensure that no one is adversely affected by it.

An EIA entails three key steps. The project proponent first submits a brief to the Swaziland Environment Authority for categorisation to determine the level of the project. Categorisation is determined by the type of project and the its location. The second step involves the assessment exercise which includes classifying the project under the 3 categories provided for by the “Environmental Audit, Assessment and Review Regulations 2000.”

Requirements for submission of proposed/new projects;
1. Proponent, submits a project brief for categorisation, detailing the development or Cover letter detailing project
2. Designs of the project and locational map
3. Application fee SZL200 -00/R200-00 or E 200-00/R200-00
4. EEA undertakes inspection of the site for development within 5 days and issues a categorisation letter. (Project may be classified as category 1, 2 or 3)
(NOTE: SZL 1 Eswatini equals ZAR 1 South African rand)
If the project is category 1, an environmental approval shall be issued to the proponent, with specific conditions relevant to the type of project. (Note that some category 1 projects may qualify for submission of an Environmental Management Plan report before an environmental approval can be issued).
If a project is category 2, the following steps will be undertaken by proponent;
1. Compile an IEE report and submit 3 copies of the report EEA for review and /or approval within 15 days
2. Attach a fee of SZL 1580-00/R1580-00 or E 1580-00/R1580-00
3. Authorisation/approval letter issued by EEA
(Note that some category 2 projects may be subjected to a public review process before an approval is issued)
If its category 3 project you will undergo the following steps in the assessment process;
1. Scoping phase
2. Submit scoping report for approval
3. Compile ESIA with specialist studies attached in the report
4. Submit ESIA report for review by EEA with fee of SZL 3160-00 (3 copies of report)
5. Report will be reviewed by EEA within 20 days.
6. Submit eight ESIA report copies for public review. ESIA reports will go for public review (20 calendar days) after an advert has been placed in newspaper for 14 consecutive days
7. After public review then an approval/authorisation will be issued (on condition there are no objections/comments from the public)
a) If there are some comments from the public, the proponent will have to address to comments and resubmit report to the EEA.
b) After review by the EEA an approval letter/ environmental approval will be issued to the proponent.

Environmental Audit, Assessment and Review Regulations

Environmental Audit, Assessment and Review Regulations 2000.

Environmental Impact Assessment Guidelines

The EIA Process

Besides the Regulations the SEA has developed comprehensive guidelines as to the EIA process. The guidelines include the following chapters:

1. The categories
2. Scoping
3. Initial Environmental Evaluation (IEE)
4. Environmental Impact Assessment (EIAs)
5. Comprehensive mitigation Plan (CMP)
6. Environmental Auditing (EA)
7. Consultation and Public Participation (CPP)

Environment Impact Assessment Reading Material

Project Categorization Framework for Strengthening Environmental Impact Assessment
Project Categorization