Public Consultation and Participation in EIA in Pakistan and Lessons Learnt from International Practices

Obaidullah Nadeem, Rizwan Hameed, Sajjad Haydar

Abstract


Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) of development projects is considered incomplete without involvement of potentially affected and interested public. Primarily, public participation in decision making is a concept imported from western democracies. It is heartening to note that public consultation and participation are taking place in EIA in Pakistan and many developing countries, despite undergoing prolonged dictatorship and political instability. The techniques and practices of public participation in EIA in selected developed and developing countries as well as in Pakistan have been critically reviewed to have a comparative idea. Analysis of the Pakistani practice is based on participation in public hearings, EIA workshops and interviews with concerned officials and EIA experts. Public participation in EIA in developed countries is moderately effective, transparent, initiated at initial stages of EIA process and reviewed by independent experts. On the other hand, delayed public involvement and lack of transparency in the EIA decision making process are major impediments to its effectiveness in the developing countries including Pakistan. Recommendations have been formulated to enhance its effectiveness in Pakistan on the basis of lessons learnt from other countries.

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References


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