Richflood International Ltd., an Environmental Consultancy firm, on Thursday trained 119 assessment practitioners on Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) so as to ensure a sustainable environment.
Speaking during the training in Lagos, the Chief Consultant, Richflood International, Dr Comfort Asokoro-Ogali, said that there was room for such training on EIA, due to local and global pollution.
Environmental assessment is the assessment of the environmental consequences of a plan, policy, programme or actual projects prior to the decision to move forward with the proposed action.
It is a legal procedure in which a project developer is required to provide environmental information to a consenting body, so as to guarantee better informed decision making.
Asokoro-Ogali said that the training was necessary because the issue of climate change had become a global challenge.
She said that the training was necessary to ensure a clean and safe Nigeria and the need to understand the concept, principles, procedures and benefits of conducting Environmental Social Impact Assessment (ESIA).
According to her, ESIA promotes sustainable development by identifying environmentally-sound practice and mitigation measures for developments.
“EIA will ensure that environmental consequences are taken into account during planning, designing and decision making process.
“It is to influence how it is subsequently managed during its implementation to ensure adverse impacts could be avoided or reduced.
“EIA identifies, predicts and evaluates the economic, environmental and social impact of development activities,’’ she said.
The consultant said that Nigeria had taken serious steps to develop effective environmental strategies by the promulgation of the ESIA Decree and all the procedural guidelines.
She, however, said that some problems such as subjectivity during scoping process, insufficient consideration of alternatives of ESIA process and speed in ESIA execution needed to be addressed.
Asokoro-Ogali said that financial burden for small businesses and low competence of authorities and practitioners needed to be addressed urgently.
She said that ESIA practitioners needed to have a thorough knowledge on ESIA procedures and legal requirements but forecasting the effects and evaluation of the results should be reserved for the recognised experts.
“There is a growing concern in Nigeria over the scarcity of personnel with appropriate Environment and Social (E&S) skills, knowledge and institutional mandate to anchor and drive environmental and social standards’ functions in a coherent and coordinated manner,’’ Asokoro-Ogali said.
The Founder, African Environmental Action Network, Dr Victor Fodeke, said that a sustainable urban development, as Lagos megacity, required the integration of environmental interests in urban planning programmes and policy framework.
Fodeke said that balancing local socio-economic, political and ecological priorities was particularly challenging and critical for EIA to effectively contribute to sustainable development in Lagos State.
He said that it had been shown that EIA could contribute to poverty alleviation, employment creation and improved economic enhancement and development.
Edited by Adeleye Ajayi
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