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Volume 7, 1-13, November 2003
ISSN 1438-7890
African Journal of Environmental Assessment and Management
Revue africaine de gestion et d’évaluation environnementales



Alex Weaver,  Ebenizario Chonguica, Hesphina Rukato,  and Peter Tarr


New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) provides the vision for sustainable development on the African continent. A key to its successful implementation is that initiatives (projects, programmes, plans and policies) that flow out from the implementation of NEPAD are aligned with the principles of sustainable development.  Positive social, economic and environmental impacts need to be maximised and negative impacts minimised.  Good governance is an essential enabling mechanism for sustainable development. 

Environmental Impact Assessment is recognised internationally as a key tool to be used in guiding us on the path to sustainable development.  Most countries in Africa have progressed significantly over the past decade in the introduction of formal systems for the implementation of EIA.  Many NEPAD initiatives, however, will be multi-project and transboundary whilst others will be programmatic and of a policy nature.  EIA is not entirely suitable for these broader, regional-scale types of decision making.  It is important that frameworks for sustainable development such as those provided by Strategic Environmental Assessment be applied in the execution of these types of initiatives. 

It is essential that in the application of Environmental Assessment, practitioners, developers and decision makers ensure that the important social and economic issues facing Africa are addressed alongside the traditional biophysical issues.  It is also important that the use of strategic forms of Environmental Assessment and sustainable development strategies is encouraged.  These tools provide logical frameworks into which local, project-based issues typically addressed by EIAs can find context.  African experts and knowledge organisations should lead the development and implementation of these tools.


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