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A review of environmental, social and health impact assessment (Eshia) practice in Nigeria: a panacea for sustainable development and decision making


MOJ Public Health
Omidiji Adedoyin O,1 Raimi Morufu Olalekan,2,3 Sawyerr Henry Olawale,3 Odipe Oluwaseun Emmanuel3

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Abstract

Local participation is always beneficial for sustainable action and environmental problems resulting from urban implementation due to the failure of social and institutional change necessary for a successful transformation of rural life to urban life ahead of the rapid movement of the population. Despite good legal practice and comprehensive guidelines, evidence suggests that Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) or more broadly Environmental, Social and Health Impact Assessment (ESHIA) have not yet been found satisfactory in Nigeria, as the current system amounts to duplication of efforts and cost. However, ESHIA has been developed and integrated to help manage project activities, facilities, and operations sustainably, so that both economic and ecological profits are accrued (sustainable development) or ensure that any development project does not result in excessive deterioration of and/or the irreversible adverse effect on any component of the environment – a recite for sustainable development. A literature review was done by using a variety of search engines including Research Gate, Google Scholar, Academia, Mendeley, SSRN search strategy to retrieve research publications, “grey literature” and expert working group reports. The thrust of this study is to evaluate the potential benefits of ESHIA as a tool for sustainable environmental development. The evaluation and implementation of EIA are one of the strengths of these tools. Indeed, EIA is the first and foremost management tool employed to help mitigate adverse, potential, and associated impacts of proposed major developments in our environment. EIA is a regulatory requirement that is efficiently used to improve performance, project design, enhancing decision-making, and facilitating policy programs in a sustainable environment. An evaluation of the EIA systems reveals several weaknesses of the EIA system. These include the inadequate capacity of EIA approval authorities, deficiencies in screening and scoping, poor EIA quality, insufficient public participation, and weak monitoring and erratic government policies. Overall, most EIA study rarely meets the objectives of being a project planning tool to contribute to achieving sustainable development and mitigate the impact of the development project. The study recommends some directions for the future to ensure that entire content of the EIA are religiously implemented, review the existing EIA act, increase the expertise of EIA consultants, create a liaison office with an international organisation and with sister agency, ESHIA must enjoy Improved budgetary provision, time latitude, spatial contexts and methodological improvements for outcome measures to achieve results that are relevant to sustainable development by improving project design, enhancing decision making and facilitating policy programs.

Keywords

environmental, social and health impact assessment, local participation, sustainable environmental development, proposed major developments, policy programs, approval authorities, Nigeria, provision, liaison, enhancing, design, project, development, expertise

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