The International Association for Impact Assessment (IAIA) recently concluded a six-day international Conference and training on Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA). The conference was held in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada for over 80 member states’ ESIA practitioners from across the world. The EPA Liberia, through its Assistant Manager for Environmental and Social Impacts Assessment, Mr. Daoda Socrates Carlon represented the EPA and earned a professional certificate in ESIA Leadership, after successfully completing a 3-day intensive training course.
The event, which ran from 02 May-07 May 2022 was intended to strengthen policies, partnerships, and participation in ESIA regimes/legislation around the world.
The forum highlighted the significance of relevant stakeholders’ inclusion in Environmental Impact Assessment, case studies from other countries’ ESIA regimes, challenges, and progress made towards impact assessment, networking sessions with major international organizations, including the World Bank’s session on its environmental policy and expectations. The Forum also highlighted technical presentations of research works, field visits, presentation of awards, and training course sessions on different areas of concentration in ESIA, mentorship sessions for undergraduate university students, and many more.
According to Mr. Carlon, the training enhanced his understanding on the complex issues of environmental impact assessment and the EPA is on the right trajectory on its ESIA regime for the fact the EPA was able to develop and publish the ESIA 2021 revised fees regime, 2022 ESIA procedural Guidelines and Schedule, and the completion of the two (02) weeks intensive training and certification of ESIA Practitioners in Liberia before attending the IAIA’s 41st Conference in Canada. Besides, the EPA has also developed six other regulations to enhance the sustainable management of the environment and the natural resources therein.
Besides his participation, Mr. alluded that EPA was far ahead of many Sub-Saharan African countries in its ESIA regime and this was also alluded to by the Netherlands Commission on Environmental Impact Assessment’s delegate. The training was more of a knowledge sharing for me, based on my expertise, experience, and the numerous game we made over the years at the EPA, Mr. Carlon stressed. As a result, many delegates pledged to nominate the EPA Liberia for the Corporate Initiative Award meant for private or public sector companies for a specific activity or project that has made a notable contribution to responsible development practice through the application of impact assessment in next year’s IAIA’s convention.
The training also provided a platform for sharing knowledge and information on ESIA activities at the national, sub-national, regional, and trans-boundary levels; thus contributing to national capacities to conform to the good practices of ESIA administration, by ensuring all IAIA’s practitioners or members adhere to the IAIA’s Code of Ethics.
Speaking at the start of the training, the IAIA’s President, Marla Orenstein reminded participants of the role in the administration of ESIA and promised that the organization is always available as a resource center for all members. The head of the British Columbia Environmental Assessment Office in Canada also welcomed participants and appreciated the IAIA for choosing Canada as a venture and pledged his office support to host participants on their beautiful lands to promote the exchange of ideas, while ensuring the successful completion of the conference.
He commended IAIA for monstering the courage to host the conference in person after three years of delay due to COVID-19 and expressed his hope that the workshop will further provide considerable insight on how ESIA can be used as a practical tool for the sustainable management of the environment and its related natural resources.
At the end of the training conference, field visits were made to different historical sites in Canada, while participants also received certificates in different areas of concentration.