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ICZM / EIA
Evaluation and Assessment Techniques
These techniques are an aid in analysing the effect proposed
measures (alternative developments) have on aspects of
the coastal system. Well established techniques exist
for the following aspects:
- quality of the natural environment
- risk for natural disasters
- economical efficiency
quality of the natural environment
Techniques analysing effects with the focus on the quality
of the natural environment are usually called: "environmental
impact assessment" (EIA) techniques. Currently, the use
of EIA is legislated
in the EU since 1985. In that year, the EU enforced
the EIA Directive on Environmental Impact Assessment for
projects. In 2000 a similar Directive (Strategic Environmental
Assessment, SIA) was adopted for plans, policies and programmes.
These assessments ensure that significant environmental
impacts are identified and assessed and taken into account
in the decision making process to which the public can
participate. The EU published three guidelines, corresponding
to three stages of environmental assessments:
- Screening: The process by which a decision is taken
on whether or not EIA is required for a particular
- Scoping: The process of identifying the content
and extent of the environmental information to be
submitted to the EIA authority.
- Review: The process of establishing whether an
EIS is adequate for the EIA authority to use it to
inform the decision makers.
The UNEP published a useful report about how to do an EIA
in marine and coastal zones (Figure SCHEME, UNEP90).
EA techniques exist for specific themes: the Carrying
Capacity Assessment (CCA), Climate Impact Studies (CIS),
Rapid Assessment of Coastal Communities (RACE).
Example: simplified flow chart for the EIA procedure
The flow chart shows how an EIA procedure could be implemented
It is based on a set of 13 guiding principles which define
what an EIA should include which were endorsed by the
General Assembly of the United Nations in 1987 (click
for a larger version):
risk for natural disasters
Increasing developments in coastal zones lead to the fact
that people, their properties, and the flora and fauna
are exposed to increasing risks and vulnerability for
natural disasters like flooding, landslides and tanker
accidents. In the Mediterranean Basin, earthquakes are
a major coastal risk. In many tropical regions, flooding
caused by rivers or the sea is a major problem.
To reduce the risk for and impact of natural disasters,
these risks must be assessed and managed. The standard
Environmental Risk Management strategy will:
Identify what can go wrong and prioritize the most serious
Consider how likely such events are to happen, how tolerable
it will be if each does and how each might be avoided,
reduced or controlled
Implement the most appropriate policy option
Evaluate the effectiveness of the chosen risk mitigation
A risk assessment should be standard part of the evaluation
of ICZM projects. Read more on Environmental Risk Assessment
(ERA) in the CoastLearn module.
Many decisions are taken if the benefits are proven.
Thus, it is logical to include studies in the evaluation
of ICZM programmes who determine the economical efficiency
of a proposal. A common difficulty in applying economical
techniques to evaluate investments with nature values
involved, is that the latter are difficult to express
in terms of money. In addition, the relevant aspects of
the coastal system are not always understood completely,
and one easily neglects negative or positive effects
(costs or benefits) one activity has on another.
Examples of techniques are:
- cost/benefit analysis (CBA): An analysis in which
the discounted benefits and costs are compared. The
benefits of a development should exceed the costs
before a go-ahead is given.
- least cost analysis: A least cost analysis does
not consider the benefits, either because they can
not be determined, or when there are no significant
different benefits among the alternatives. In this
case, the decision is based on the discounted costs
which should be as low as possible, of course.