Exploring the evolution of debates on environmental assessment in developing countries
Environmental Assessment (EA) has been around for nearly half a century and is applied in more than a 100 countries worldwide. The uptake of EA amongst developing countries has produced extensive EA practice. However, amidst this wealth of practice there is a limited understanding of the academic debates and state of knowledge on EA in developing countries. In order to improve the application of EA in developing countries it is essential to focus on the debates surrounding the evolution of EA in these countries. From this the main Research Question arises - "What are the main academic debates on EA in developing countries?" In order to address the research question a comprehensive literature review study was conducted. This entailed using search words and conducting a search across a selected group of journals. The articles were then summarised using a set criteria. From this summary, the information could be divided into the selected main themes. The research concluded that the main themes of debate covered by the literature relates to the identity of EA, the application of EA and the performance of EA. It was found that due to the diverse nature of the literature no common 'golden' thread (or threads) could be identified and that the different contributions could be considered isolated. This implies that the EA literature is disjointed and reflects within different themes and not in relation to particular evolutionary debates as such. Distinctive evolutionary debates on EA in developing countries are thus limited. Finally proposals are made for future research that could enhance our understanding of EA in developing countries.