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Environmental Impact Assessment in Sri Lanka:
State of Knowledge and New Directions
Joshua C. Gellers,
PhD
Verité Research
27 July 2017
Roadmap
• Research Motivation
• Environmental Impact
Assessment
• State of Knowledge
• EIAs in Sri Lanka:
– Background, Extant
Research
• EIA Project:
– Research Design,
Process Efficiency,
Weaknesses
• Tentative Conclusions
Verité Research 2
Research Motivation
Emerging
Donors
Environmenta
l Management
Sri Lanka
Verité Research 3
Environmental Impact Assessment
• “The process of
identifying, predicting,
evaluating and
mitigating the
biophysical, social,
and other relevant
effects of development
proposals prior to
major decisions being
taken and
commitments made”
(IAIA 1999).
Verité Research 4
State of Knowledge
• Factors affecting the quality of an
EIA:
– Type of project (Lee & Dancey
1993)
– EIA experience (Lee & Dancey
1993)
– EIA length (Lee & Dancey 1993)
– Size and cost of project (Barker &
Wood 1999)
– Public pressure (Morrison-Saunders
et al. 2001)
– EIA regulations (Sandham &
Pretorius 2008)
– Availability of data, resources,
skilled professionals (Mounir 2015)
Internal
External
Verité Research 5
EIAs in Sri Lanka: Background
• Governed by Part IV C of the National
Environmental (Amd) Act of 1988 and the
Government Extraordinary Gazette No
772/22 of 1993
Prescribed
Project
IEE EIA
Verité Research 6
EIAs in Sri Lanka: Extant Research
• Weerakkody (2000): Assesses public participation in
Sri Lanka’s EIA process
• Zubair (2001): Identifies weaknesses in EIA process
• Vidyaratne (2006): Analyzes performance of EIA cell
of the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources
• Samarakoon & Rowan (2008): Evaluates the quality
of the ecological investigations within IEEs and EIAs
• Gamalath et al. (2010): Examines quality and
effectiveness of EIAs in transportation sector
• Gamage (2012): Compares effectiveness of EIA
process in Sri Lanka and UK
Verité Research 7
EIA Project: Research Design
• Research Question: To what extent, if any, does
the source of funding affect the quality of an EIA?
• Hypothesis: EIAs for projects funded by emerging
donors are likely to be lower quality than those
funded by traditional donors
• Data: 42 EIAs from 2010-2017
• Method: Lee & Colley (1999) package
• IVs: Source of funding (emerging donor, traditional
donor, or home country), sector, PAA,
public/private
• DV: Quality (overall grade A-F)
Verité Research 8
EIA Project: Process Efficiency
Approved Rejected In Process In Process:App/Rej Monitored
Year EIAs IEEs Total EIAs IEEs
EIA Reject
Rate EIAs IEEs Total EIA EIA/IEE
2010 3 6 9 0 0 0.00% 23 9 32 7.67 18
2011 6 2 8 1 0 14.29% 31 14 45 4.43 14
2012 4 6 10 1 0 20.00% 29 21 50 5.80 20
2013 6 7 13 0 0 0.00% 33 26 59 5.50 24
2014 8 12 20 0 0 0.00% 38 19 57 4.75 15
2015 2 6 8 1 0 33.33% 46 14 60 15.33 19
2016 9 9 18 1 2 10.00% 38 13 51 3.80 32
Totals 38 48 86 4 2 12.94% 238 116 354 6.75 20.29
Source: CEA Annual Reports, 2010-16
Verité Research 9
EIA Project: Weaknesses
Alternative
Scenarios
Temporal and
Spatial Impacts
Verité Research 10
Tentative Conclusions
• Large projects funded by emerging donors
will continue to draw controversy, a function
of project size and type, and government
willingness to push through major projects
• EIA process in Sri Lanka is slow, and public
participation is limited due to structural
weakness in current regulatory framework
• EIAs are long and not readily accessible to
public, which hampers stakeholder buy-in
• Sustainability and climate change only given
passing mention, not mainstreamed
Verité Research 11
Thank you!
Questions?
Email: josh.gellers@gmail.com
Twitter: @JoshGellers
Website: www.joshgellers.comVerité Research 12

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Environmental Impact Assessment in Sri Lanka: State of Knowledge and New Directions

  • 1. Environmental Impact Assessment in Sri Lanka: State of Knowledge and New Directions Joshua C. Gellers, PhD Verité Research 27 July 2017
  • 2. Roadmap • Research Motivation • Environmental Impact Assessment • State of Knowledge • EIAs in Sri Lanka: – Background, Extant Research • EIA Project: – Research Design, Process Efficiency, Weaknesses • Tentative Conclusions Verité Research 2
  • 4. Environmental Impact Assessment • “The process of identifying, predicting, evaluating and mitigating the biophysical, social, and other relevant effects of development proposals prior to major decisions being taken and commitments made” (IAIA 1999). Verité Research 4
  • 5. State of Knowledge • Factors affecting the quality of an EIA: – Type of project (Lee & Dancey 1993) – EIA experience (Lee & Dancey 1993) – EIA length (Lee & Dancey 1993) – Size and cost of project (Barker & Wood 1999) – Public pressure (Morrison-Saunders et al. 2001) – EIA regulations (Sandham & Pretorius 2008) – Availability of data, resources, skilled professionals (Mounir 2015) Internal External Verité Research 5
  • 6. EIAs in Sri Lanka: Background • Governed by Part IV C of the National Environmental (Amd) Act of 1988 and the Government Extraordinary Gazette No 772/22 of 1993 Prescribed Project IEE EIA Verité Research 6
  • 7. EIAs in Sri Lanka: Extant Research • Weerakkody (2000): Assesses public participation in Sri Lanka’s EIA process • Zubair (2001): Identifies weaknesses in EIA process • Vidyaratne (2006): Analyzes performance of EIA cell of the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources • Samarakoon & Rowan (2008): Evaluates the quality of the ecological investigations within IEEs and EIAs • Gamalath et al. (2010): Examines quality and effectiveness of EIAs in transportation sector • Gamage (2012): Compares effectiveness of EIA process in Sri Lanka and UK Verité Research 7
  • 8. EIA Project: Research Design • Research Question: To what extent, if any, does the source of funding affect the quality of an EIA? • Hypothesis: EIAs for projects funded by emerging donors are likely to be lower quality than those funded by traditional donors • Data: 42 EIAs from 2010-2017 • Method: Lee & Colley (1999) package • IVs: Source of funding (emerging donor, traditional donor, or home country), sector, PAA, public/private • DV: Quality (overall grade A-F) Verité Research 8
  • 9. EIA Project: Process Efficiency Approved Rejected In Process In Process:App/Rej Monitored Year EIAs IEEs Total EIAs IEEs EIA Reject Rate EIAs IEEs Total EIA EIA/IEE 2010 3 6 9 0 0 0.00% 23 9 32 7.67 18 2011 6 2 8 1 0 14.29% 31 14 45 4.43 14 2012 4 6 10 1 0 20.00% 29 21 50 5.80 20 2013 6 7 13 0 0 0.00% 33 26 59 5.50 24 2014 8 12 20 0 0 0.00% 38 19 57 4.75 15 2015 2 6 8 1 0 33.33% 46 14 60 15.33 19 2016 9 9 18 1 2 10.00% 38 13 51 3.80 32 Totals 38 48 86 4 2 12.94% 238 116 354 6.75 20.29 Source: CEA Annual Reports, 2010-16 Verité Research 9
  • 10. EIA Project: Weaknesses Alternative Scenarios Temporal and Spatial Impacts Verité Research 10
  • 11. Tentative Conclusions • Large projects funded by emerging donors will continue to draw controversy, a function of project size and type, and government willingness to push through major projects • EIA process in Sri Lanka is slow, and public participation is limited due to structural weakness in current regulatory framework • EIAs are long and not readily accessible to public, which hampers stakeholder buy-in • Sustainability and climate change only given passing mention, not mainstreamed Verité Research 11
  • 12. Thank you! Questions? Email: josh.gellers@gmail.com Twitter: @JoshGellers Website: www.joshgellers.comVerité Research 12