First regional International Association for Impact Assessment (IAIAsa) conference

South Africa. Minister of Environmental Affairs and Tourism Marthinus van Schalkwyk, is to open the conference on Monday in Somerset West.

Minister van Schalkwyk will focus in his opening address on major improvements that are planned in the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) System for South Africa.

EIAs are carried out in when developers wish to make use of areas that may be considered environmentally or ecologically sensitive.

This can include the development of wetlands, breeding areas or the habitats of protected species for activities such as residential developments, mining and civil works.

This conference is particularly targeted at Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries and has also attracted delegates from countries such as Ghana and Kenya.

Several delegates from Australia, United Kingdom (UK), United States of America (USA), Nordic and other European Union (EU) countries have also registered for this important conference.

In an EIA process, the Applicant/Developer is considered as the person that wants to undertake a listed activity and therefore has to obtain Environmental Authorisation from the Competent Authority.

The Competent Authority, based on the outcome of an Environmental Impact Assessment will either grant or refuse the requested Environmental Authorisation.

Also involved in such a process is the Environmental Assessment Practitioner, who is an independent person appointed by the Applicant to manage the Environmental Impact Assessment process on behalf of the Applicant.

Further to this, interested and Affected Parties, including the Public, have the right to participate in the Environmental Impact Assessment process and comment on the Application.

Source: BuaNews

5 November 2007

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