188.8.131.52. Consistency with International and National Environmental Impacts
Standards and Guidelines
For site-specific climate mitigation projects, including those in the LULUCF
sector, one means of assessing and strengthening their contributions to sustainable
development is through the application of environmental impact assessments (EIAs)
prior to project approval. An EIA is a broad process that informs decisionmakers
about a project's potential environmental and societal risks and impacts, as
well as examining alternatives and identifying mitigative measures (Krawetz,
1991; Glasson et al., 1994; Munn, 1994). Running in parallel with the
process of identifying, designing, and implementing projects, effective application
of an EIA to climate mitigation projects might help ensure that potential positive
and negative environmental and societal impacts (Section 5.5)
are effectively addressed in all phases of project development.
Currently, more than 100 countries have a national EIA system (Canter, 1996).
One factor that affects their applicability to LULUCF climate mitigation projects
is that EIA guidelines and their degree of rigor in application vary widely.
For projects between countries, this factor could create an incentive for project
investors to support carbon-offset projects in areas with the least rigorous
One option for the Parties to address this concern would be to adopt internationally
recognized EIA standards and guidelines for carbon-offset projects. For example,
the World Bank has published its three volume Environmental Assessment Sourcebook
(World Bank, 1991). The Sourcebook contains sectoral guidelines for natural
forest, livestock, rangeland, and agricultural production management; plantation
development/reforestation; and watershed development. For each of these sectors,
the Sourcebook identifies several potential environmental and social
impacts, as well as mitigating measures for negative impacts. Potential social
impacts identified in the Sourcebook include impacts on the labor market
and labor availability; a shift to more cash-based economy; alteration of daily
living patterns and the political power structure; changes in access to resources,
perhaps through changes in land tenure; changes in infrastructure and social
services; and changes in population demography, such as increases in internal
migration as a result of project activities. The Asian Development Bank (ADB)
has a similar manual titled Environmental Guidelines for Selected Agricultural
and Natural Resources Development Projects (ADB, 1990).
For projects between countries, this concern also could be addressed by ensuring
that the national environmental standards and guidelines of donor and host countries
be satisfied. The effectiveness of EIAs can be further strengthened by ensuring
that they are carried out by independent, third-party experts; that they clearly
integrate socioeconomic and environmental aspects of project assessment; and
that recommendations be demonstrably incorporated into project activities.
A decision by the Parties to adopt requirements that climate mitigation projects
undergo EIAs prior to project approval may affect project costs and the rate
of project implementation. This Special Report does not analyze the potential
cost and time implications of adopting national and/or international EIA standards
and guidelines for LULUCF projects.