What is EIA?
Environmental Impact Assessment, EIA, is the process for identifying and managing the impacts of a project on the natural, social and custom environment.
EIA is a proactive planning and decision-making tool that has an important role to play in identifying impacts, assessing risks, and evaluating the costs and benefits of development projects before they are implemented.
The number of steps in EIA varies based on the potential impacts of the project. This results in a process that tailors the level of assessment to the potential level of environmental, social and custom impact. While the number of steps in the process will vary, the process will always start with the project proponent submitting an application for an Environmental Permit and will always end with the Director’s decision to grant or refuse an Environmental Permit.
Where developments have gone ahead without an Environmental Permit, departmental officers can issue notices under the Environmental Protection and Conservation Act [CAP 283] ordering work to stop or ordering the developer to restore the environment. Officers can also issue fines.
What is an Environmental Permit?
An Environmental Permit is a formal approval:
- required from the Government of Vanuatu before construction on a project starts
- issued by the Department of Environmental Protection and Conservation (DEPC) under the Environmental Protection and Conservation Act [CAP 283]
- authorising the construction and operation of clearly defined development projects
- including conditions that apply across the life of a project. This could be from the initial clearing of vegetation and site preparation through to project operation, closure and site rehabilitation.
Environmental Permits are a tool for sustainable development; designed to enable development to go ahead while helping to ensure that the environmental, social and custom impacts of projects are considered and managed.
Knowing your project
To apply for an Environmental Permit you need to be able to describe your project in detail. For example:
- What type of project is it? Are you proposing to build a tourism resort? Construct a new road? Build a wharf? Mine sand or coral? Excavate?
- What is the size of your project? For example, how many rooms will be in your tourism resort? What facilities will it have? How long and how wide will your road or wharf be? What volume of sand or coral will you mine or excavate?
It is also vital that you have a thorough understanding of the environment in which your project is situated. For example, are you building a tourism resort in a conservation area? Are you constructing a road in town or through dark bush? Are you mining or excavating on the coast, near a river or close to other mines? Our application form is designed to guide you through these questions.