Programme: Support for the Improvement of Environmental Management in Latin America and the Caribbean

Alegria, M. Programme: Support for the Improvement of Environmental Management in Latin America and the Caribbean. Technical Report.

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    In May 1999, the Environmental Non-Governmental Organizations in Belize held a national gathering to discuss, among other important issues, that of the EIA Process. This NGO initiative came only after 3 ½ years if implementing the EIA Process. It made some recommendations on the Environmental Screening (EIA) Process. A report emanated from this gathering, ( copy is enclosed for your information) wherein some “proposed actions” were recommended to government in order to improve on the Environmental Screening (EIA) Process. In the spirit of cooperation and to improve the effectiveness of the EIA Process, and to complement the NGO initiative, the National Environmental Appraisal Committee (NEAC) held a Planning Retreat on August 1999. The NEAC is the body legally responsible for implementing the Environmental Screening (EIA) process in Belize. At this retreat, Belize’s four years experience in implementing the Environmental Screening (EIA) Process was discussed, the proposed actions from the NGO gathering were reviewed, and recommendations were made on how to improve on this process. Some of the recommendations that came out from this retreat have been implemented, while others that require legislative changes are currently being worked on. Some examples where actions have been taken include: a. There is no more Environmental Impact Studies (EISs) requested, only EIAs. The depth of the environmental assessment required will be dictated by the Terms of Reference (TOR) during the “Scoping” stage of the EIA Process; b. All projects that develop an EIA report will automatically undergo at least one “Public Hearing,” that will be managed by the NEAC; c. There is improved coordination and cooperation between NEAC membership; d. Another NGO, the Association of National Developmental Agencies (ANDA) has been officially and legally invited to become a member of the NEAC. They have accepted; e. Expertise in the NEAC has been increased by now having the participation of the Social, Economic and Engineering sectors of Government; f. NGOs, CBOs, and the general public have all been encouraged to monitor environmental issues in Belize, and to assist the DOE by actively monitoring and advocating the application of the EIA Process; and g. It is now required that NEAC Membership visit the site for a project undergoing the EIA Process. Below are also some actions that are being worked on by the Department of the Environment (DOE), because they require legislative amendments or other prior steps before implementation. These include: a. Official membership of the NEAC is being reviewed to broaden the scope and increase efficiency of the EIA Process; b. The EIA Regulations supporting document entitled “Guideline s and Procedure for the Preparation of an EIA” is being revised to include clearer criteria for categorizing projects. The line agencies are developing these criteria and forwarding these to the DOE; c. The “Appeal” process is being strengthened to make it more effective and accountable; and d. The financial sustainability of the EIA Process is being developed to require fees, performance bonds and compensatory packages. It is important to mention here that the EIA Process is also influenced by enforcement of other pieces of legislation (#9 and #7). This is so because, in accordance with the Environmental Screening Process (diagram enclosed), the line agencies (permitting and licensing departments) are responsible for the "first tier" of assessment. During this first tier, the line agencies should determine if a "Project Proposal" requires further Environmental Assessment or if license/permit can be granted with environmental conditions included. Some of the legislation that are involved in this first tier include: "Mines & Minerals Act, Land Utilization Authority Act, Fisheries Act & Regulations, Wildlife Protection Act, Public Health Ordinances, Coastal Zone Management Act and Fiscal Incentives Act," among others.

    Item Type: Technical Reports (Technical Report)
    Related URLs:
      Keywords: management, environmental, improvement, support, Caribbean
      Subjects: (F) People and the Environment > (FB) Resource Use
      (I) Socio-Economic Information > (IB) Economic Valuation
      (Z) Other or Unspecified
      Publication Sources: (3) Other Source > (3A) Government Departments
      Date Deposited: 25 Nov 2010 10:36
      Last Modified: 20 Jan 2011 14:27

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