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UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education, Delft (2018)

An integrated approach to evaluating the effectiveness of EIA system in Kenya

Irungu Francis

Titre : An integrated approach to evaluating the effectiveness of EIA system in Kenya

Auteur : Irungu Francis

Université de soutenance : UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education, Delft

Grade : Master of Science (MS) 2018

Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) has beenadopted world-wide as a mechanism for ensuring that development projects are sustainable. However, there are questions about the EIA systems effectiveness in achieving environmental protection in Kenya. The objective of this research was to analyze whether the EIA system, as currently implemented in Kenya, is effective as a management tool for controlling the impacts of development activities to the environment with the aim of improving the effectiveness of the system. To achieve this, an integrated framework, along with concepts and methods available to evaluate overall and operational performance of EIA system was adopted. The framework for evaluating effectiveness devised for this study was based on four categories of effectiveness : Substantive ; Procedural ; Transactive andNormativeeffectiveness. This approach enabled assessment of the factors that limit the effectiveness of the EIA system at full scale including : institutional arrangements for EIA ; adequacy of EIA legislation ; quality of EIA reports ; implementation and follow-up and the broader contextual factors. This research demonstrates the frameworks application by making use of data and empirical evidence from sector-specific cases in Naivasha Sub-County, Kenya. The methodology involved literature review, document review of Kenyas environmental laws and international EIA Best Practiceprovisions. Other methods used while conducting the study include in-depth and semi-structured interviews, site visits and a quality review of selected Environmental Impact Assessment Statements (EIS) within the study area. The study participants involved key EIA actors including : EIA Authority ; project proponents ; Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) ; EIA consultants and sector authorities amongst other relevant stakeholders. This study found that Kenyan EIA system must evolve further to achieve overall effectiveness. The EIA system was found to be satisfactorily effective with respect to procedural aspects but was not effective onsubstantive effectiveness which is the ultimate goal of EIA. The study findings further reveal an array of serious issues with the Kenyan EIA system as evidenced by the wide disparity in the approach and application of EIA as a tool for enhancing environmental protection. The most significant weaknesses noticed include ;poor quality of EIS, inadequate capacities of actors, weak inter-agency coordination, inadequate public participation and inadequate follow-up. Existing strengths observed included existence of legal basis for EIA system,autonomy of EIA Authority andconstitutional support. This research made suggestions to significantly improve the EIA system incorporating aspects such as : broadening the scope of EIA process to include Cumulative Effects Assessment (CEA) ; development of sector-specific EIA guidelines ; accreditation of the EIA consultants ; and investment in resource, technical, scientific, human and organizational capacities.

Sujets  : environmental impact assessment ; environmental sustainability ; Kenya


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