Before any project or activity that may have significant impacts on environment as well as on social conditionsis can be carried out, it must undergo an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA). The EIA needs to identify the potential environmental and social impacts of that particular activity and to provide mechanism to minimize those impacts.
Who undertakes an EIA in Zanzibar?
According to the Zanzibar Environmental Management Act No 3 of 2015, an EIA must be carried out by a recognized experts or firms, authorised to conduct an EIA in Zanzibar. The firm or an expert is required to fill in registration to apply for recognition by the Zanzibar Environmental Management Authority (ZEMA).
Procedures in conducting an EIA
- Registration: A proponent must register his or her project with ZEMA by filling in the registration forms and submitting them, together with a bank pay-in-slip for the registration fee. The payment shall be determined by ZEMA, taking into consideration the nature and scale of the project. After submission of registration forms, the proponent shall also submit the projects’ feasibility study or concept note.
- Screening: Once the feasibility study or concept note is submitted, it is then reviewed in order to determine the magnitude of the project. ZEMA can then decide if an assessment is required or not; and if required, in what level of an assessment.
- Selecting an expert or firm to conduct EIA study: The ZEMA submits to the proponent the list of recognized experts/firm eligible to conduct EIA in Zanzibar. From that list, the proponent is supposed to select and make an agreement with one firm to conduct the assessment. Next, the proponent is required to provide written notification to ZEMA of the name of the expert/firm he/she has selected to prepare the EIA for the project.
- Scoping: If the screening indicates that an EIA is required, scoping will be undertaken by the selected expert or firm. This step is crucial because it determines how the EIA study will be carried out. It also identifies and takes into consideration major concerns of stakeholders and identifies likely impacts of the project. The scoping exercise establishes the ToR and boundary of the EIA Study, which are submitted to ZEMA for approval.
- Preparation of the EIA Report: Once the ToR are approved, then the EIA study follows. It describes the nature of the project as well as analysing the possible environmental and social impacts of the project or activity together with mitigation measures to minimize the negative impact and enhance the positive ones. Public consultation should take place during this assessment
- Submission of EIA Report to ZEMA: Once the EIA study is completed, The proponent, through his/her selected expert or firm, submits 18 hard copies and one soft copy of the report to ZEMA for review.
- Circulating the Report to other stakeholders: ZEMA will circulate the EIA report to the relevant stakeholders to get their views and comments. These stakeholders will submit their views to ZEMA in writing before the review meeting is held.
- Site verification: This takes place before the review meeting is held. The objective is to become familiar with the project by physically observing the project area, and to confirm what is written in the report. The project proponent will have to pay the fees for site verification, as well as for reviewing the document.
- Review of the EIA Report: This is conducted to gain the stakeholder’s evaluation of the strengths and weakness of the EIA report, based on the review criteria set by ZEMA.
- Decision-making: The outcome of the review could be EIA approval, EIA rejection or a request for further information.
- Issuing of ESIA Certificate: In case the ESIA report is accepted, the EIA certificate will be issued, with conditions attached. The certificate will be valid for five years.
- Monitoring the project by ZEMA: This is conducted by ZEMA in order to ensure compliance and adherence to the approved environmental and social management plan, and to make sure the conditions attached with EIA certificate are fully complied with.