On 13 November LCN held an Introduction to Environmental
Impact Assessment (EIA) workshop. This was the first of a series
of workshops developed and presented by Ms Frances Howe, LCN's
Natural Resource Management Advisor working with LCN through
Australian Volunteers International (AVI). Frances has managed
EIA projects in the Asia-Pacific region, Middle East and Africa.
The workshops will form part of a programme of capacity
building in environmental and project management for LCN staff
and member organisations, which will continue until March 2015.
A group of ten delegates, with varying degrees of knowledge
and experience of EIA gathered in the LCN boardroom for the three hour session.
Mr Thato Konstabole welcomes delegages to the event
Ms Frances Howe delivering the EIA presentation
Frances, with input from Mr Thato Konstabole, LCN's
Agriculture, Environment and Natural Resources Coordinator,
began by discussing the purpose and context of EIA. The
workshop briefed delegates about both Lesotho's environmental
legislation about international guidelines for environmental
and social performance. Participants felt that this was essential
information, but the discussion really got underway when the
topic moved towards identifying the essential elements of an
EIA and the methods and frameworks that can be used to complete a robust study.
Delegates were able to relate the information to local
projects where an EIA had not been effectively carried out,
and described the resulting environmental and social consequences.
Frances used these examples to stress the need for thorough
stakeholder engagement throughout the project, and for a
clear project description that gives sufficient information
to assess the potential project impacts. The workshop
emphasised the importance of rigorously assessing both
positive and negative impacts, and the need for the EIA
report to remain transparent and objective at all times.
At the end of the workshop, all agreed that the session
was extremely beneficial and thanked LCN for hosting the
workshop. A participant commented that if civil society
organisations were to become a meaningful voice of the
people and engage effectively with the public and governments
they needed to become more knowledgeable and improve
their environmental and project management skills. She
welcomed the continuation of the workshops, which will be held every two weeks at LCN.
Frances said 'I'm delighted to combine my international
experience of EIA with the local knowledge of passionate
people working to improve environmental performance in
Lesotho. In sharing my skills through these ongoing workshops
I hope to help build the capacity of our civil society
organisations in holding developers and the government
accountable to their environmental and social commitments'.