How can the quality of South African environmental management programmes be determined?
Van Schalkwyk, Ebenhaezer
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At the heart of Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) lies the focus of identification and assessment of predicted impacts, with the management actions (i.e. Environmental Management Programmes) (EMPr) often being described only in illustrative terms. In order to promote effective Environmental Management (EM) it is important that the management actions arising from EIAs are clearly defined and translated into a good quality EMPr. The thesis had three aims, (1) to determine what is regarded as high-quality criteria for EMPrs (i.e. develop an EMPr review package), (2) to determine the quality of a sample of 20 South African EMPrs by applying the EMPr review package and (3) to provide feedback on the utility of the review package. The EMPr review package was developed by converting high quality criteria for EMPrs into a review package. The EMPr review package has been structured around five (5) Review Areas each with between two and six review categories. Review categories contain between one and eight review sub-categories informing the criteria. The EMPrs were reviewed by applying the EMPr review package. Key shortfalls of EMPrs were found to be: •A lack of project detail and overview to place the EMPr in context; •Insufficient descriptions of the receiving environment and baseline environmental conditions; •Lack of maps, layouts and facility illustrations prescribing where activities must or must not take place; •In most cases no objectives and targets were set for management measures; •The stakeholder engagement process was not clearly defined (who, how, when); •The document and record keeping process was unclear; •The process of managing emergency situations and subsequent remediation were lacking; •No implementation time frames were set for the implementation of mitigation measures; and •The rehabilitation process was not described in detail. The use of, and overall utility of the EMPr review package is simple and straight forward. A shortfall of the EMPr review package, however, is that results are likely to differ from one reviewer to another based on the reviewer's experience with EMPrs. The application of the EMPr review package might improve the quality of EMPrs and over time contribute to improved environmental performance.