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Public Participation in Enviromental Impact Assessment of Development Projects in Punjab, Pakistan

Nadeem, Obaidullah (2010) Public Participation in Enviromental Impact Assessment of Development Projects in Punjab, Pakistan. PhD thesis, University of Engineering & Technology, Lahore.

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Abstract

Evaluating the effectiveness of public participation in terms of its influence on EIA related decisions has been increasingly suggested in the literature. In Pakistan, public is involved during EIA of projects likely to cause adverse environmental and socioeconomic impacts. Empirical evidence to establish the extent to which it is achieving its objectives of making widely acceptable decisions and promoting sustainable development in the country is scant. This thesis evaluates the effectiveness of public participation in EIA in the Punjab province by adopting a pragmatic combination of qualitative and quantitative research strategy. The methodology involved reviewing the literature, developing an evaluation framework incorporating the country context, investigating four EIA cases of transport infrastructure and industrial development projects through content analysis of related documents, and in-depth interviews of the stakeholders. Several inadequacies and prospects are discovered. EIA and Public participation are not integrated into project planning cycle due to a legal lacuna of requiring EIA before start of construction rather than before procurement of site and detailed design. The case studies demonstrated a weak influence of public concerns on decisions, since consultations were held after taking irreversible decisions. Lack of information about participation opportunities, poor accessibility and quality of EIA reports, lack of communication and transparency in the decision making process were some of the other barriers, which also exist elsewhere even in well established EIA regimes. Provision of an egalitarian environment during public hearings, sufficient time for submitting concerns, and a high degree of willingness and availability of public to participate were some of the attributes in contrast with what the literature generally suggests. Furthermore, this study revealed that involving technical experts and NGOs can influence more positively on the public hearing outcome than the directly affected public. Thus, the theoretical connotations of public participation in EIA may not be generalized and there is a need to revisit the theory, particularly in the context of developing countries. Overall, it is concluded that despite certain impediments public participation in EIA is gradually gaining ground in Pakistan. Useful recommendations have been made to enhance the effectiveness of EIA. In particular, a new model for proactive but represented public participation has been suggested to take place before EIA and selection of site for a development project.

Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords:Public, Participation, Environmental, Impact, Assessment, Development, Projects, Punjab, Pakistan, Empirical, stakeholders, framework
Subjects:Engineering & Technology (e)
ID Code:4031
Deposited By:Mr. Javed Memon
Deposited On:26 Jul 2010 09:37
Last Modified:01 Mar 2011 10:15

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