PROJECTS AND PROGRAMMES MOST IN NEED OF ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT
1. Projects and programmes which are most in need of the environmental assessment can be identified on the basis of a number of criteria which aim at ascertaining whether the anticipated direct or indirect effects of a project or programme on the environment are likely to be significant.
2. When judging whether a specific project or programme may have a major effect on the environment, it is necessary to take into account, among other things, the ecological conditions in the area where it is planned to locate the project or programme. In-depth environmental assessment is always needed in certain very fragile environments (e.g. wetlands, mangrove swamps, coral reefs, tropical forests, semi-arid areas). When carrying out environmental assessment, issues which should be considered include effects on:
a) Soils and soil conservation (erosion, salination, etc.);
b) Areas subject to desertification;
c) Tropical forests and vegetation cover;
d) Water sources;
e) Habitats of value to protection and conservation and/or sustainable use of fish and wildlife resources;
f) Areas of unique interest (historical, archaeological, cultural, aesthetic, scientific);
g) Areas of concentrations of population or industrial activities where further industrial development or urban expansion could create significant environmental problems (especially regarding air and water quality);
h) Areas of particular social interest to specific vulnerable population groups (e.g. nomadic people or other people with traditional lifestyles).
3. Projects or programmes most in need of environmental assessment fall under the following headings:
a) Substantial changes in renewable resource use (e.g. conversion of land to agricultural production, to forestry or to pasture land, rural development, timber production);
b) Substantial changes in farming and fishing practices (e.g. introduction of new crops, large scale mechanization); use of chemicals in agriculture (e.g. pesticides, fertilizers);
c) Exploitation of hydraulic resources (e.g. dams, irrigation and drainage projects, water and basin management, water supply);
d) Infrastructure (e.g. roads, bridges, airports, harbours, transmission lines, pipelines, railways);
e) Industrial activities (e.g. metallurgical plants, wood processing plants, chemical plants, power plants, cement plants, refinery and petrochemical plants, agro-industries);
f) Extractive industries (e.g. mining, quarrying, extraction of peat, oil and gas);
g) Waste management and disposal (e.g. sewerage systems and treatment plants, waste landfills, treatment plants for household waste and for hazardous waste).
4. The above list of projects or programmes is not in any order of importance and is not meant to imply that any particular project or programme type is necessarily more in need of environmental assessment than another. In addition, the list is not meant to be exhaustive as there may be projects or programmes not mentioned above which may still have significant effects on the environment in certain areas. Although the presence of a project or programme on the above list does not imply that such a project or programme will necessarily have significant adverse effects on the environment and some indeed have positive environmental effects, experience has shown that there is often a need to take particular measures to eliminate or mitigate the adverse environmental consequences of such projects or programmes. Whether a project or programme should be subject to in-depth environmental assessment will therefore depend on an analysis of all the facts of the specific case.