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 Eswatini 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.”