The Environmental Impacts Assessment Regulations 1996 (EIA Regulations 1996) governs the procedures for Environmental Impact Assessment in Seychelles prior to the commencement of any project or activity as prescribed in the Schedules of the Environmental Impact Assessment Regulations 1996. This law is administered by the Environmental Assessment and Permits Section of the Environment Department.
The EAPS is responsible for the collection and assess data on the state of the environment and physical nature resources. It also supervises and provide assessment for projects or development that are likely to have an impact. It also undertakes appraisal of ad-hoc Environmental Impact Assessments and recommendations for the Town and Country Planning Authority, the Project Appraisal Committee and other government organizations.
- Advising and assisting the Department of Environment, other ministries and organizations and developers on sustainable development and pre-planning issues.
- Coordinate the EIA process for Class 1 developments,
- Assess planning applications, provide pre-planning advise and input on project proposals,
- Contribute to the Department’s public information programme,
- Conduct/organize investigations of environmental malpractice by developers, contractors, etc with appropriate follow up action.
For any development, the Environment Department has developed a set of thirteen (13) guidelines that sets out preliminary environment assessment to be undertaken as assistance in project implementation that respects minimum environmental guidelines to ensure its environmental sustainability.
The guidelines were designed with the following objectives in mind:
- The guidelines reader is the person that matters most; it was assumed that the reader will be working in a public or private organization in charge of designing, implementing, supervising and/or monitoring sectoral activities in Seychelles.
- He/She will use the guidelines as a working tool, by itself or in association with other documents.
The scientific paradigm behind the set of guidelines can be summarized as follows:
- Environmental management is expected not only from environmental specialists, but also from all practitioners and decision makers in their respective assignments.
- Environmental management is neither confined to nature conservation nor to environmental protection: environmental management is a complex approach involving nature conservation and environmental protection, but also nature management and environmental improvement. For instance, species conservation has to be achieved at once by direct protection, in situ protection and ex situ protection as well.
- Given the status of environmental knowledge in Seychelles, many environmental evolutions are difficult to predict, and possible environmental degradations can be compared with road accidents: statistically predictable, but not specifically so. In that sense, environmental policy can be compared with car insurances. As the car insurer motto goes – insurance is expensive only before accidents occur. Similarly, it may be said that environmental policies are expensive only before environmental degradation occurs. This is especially true in a country that basically relies on natural sources (e.g. fisheries and tourism) for its long term development.
Three main categories of uses will be made of the guidelines:
1. EIA supervision for projects requiring such procedures
2. Recommendations to projects’ owners or operators for project that do not require EIA
3. Policy making and program design and preparation in the relevant sector
The guidelines should serve as a self standing educational tool for professionals outside the environmental community.
The guidelines are structured as follows:
Sample of relevant information on Seychelles that relate directly to the purpose of that particular guideline.
Possible environmental impacts
An analytical review of all positive and negative impacts associated with the activities of the sector on a national basis in Seychelles.
Often there are Environmental impacts that are not covered by the national guidelines and may be site specific. In Seychelles, the contrast is very strong between the three major inhabited islands of Mahe, Praslin and La Digue, and the other smaller islands. The latter is very special and fragile and some activities that might run harmless in other parts of the world would become very hazardous on such territories. Also some parts of the three major islands may have specific problems (e.g. landscape of outstanding beauty or wetlands for instance)
A summary of key environmental impacts of the activities of the sector is supplied in tabular format.
In as much as possible wherever severe environmental impacts are bound to show, project alternatives are proposed here, that have a lesser environmental impact with as good economic performance as can be. The so called Best Practice Environmental Options may range from new designs to new ways to conduct work.
Management and Training
This section deals with the implications of the introduction of environmental concerns in the sector considered in terms of policy/programs and project management, as well as training capacities to be enhanced.
Here, the parameters that should be monitored as well as the methods to be used for that purpose are dealt with at this stage.
In view of the likely detrimental impacts of some of the activities, mitigating measures are recommended in order to minimize the impacts or compensate for them if the impacts cannot be avoided.
Practical hints and tips
This is a series of checklists prepared by a practitioner that asks a project promoter or project officer all the good questions about the site conditions, construction characteristics and predicted operation of the investment to be screened during the Environment Impact Assessment process.
Examples of good practice
These are practical examples of policy, programs and project alternatives implemented or tried in other parts of the world, yet adapted to the insular context of the country. Some projects may even be under implementation in Seychelles but have not received adequate publicity. The address and names of relevant persons are given as much as possible to facilitate contacts and possibly professional visits by Seychellois concerned.
Sources of additional information
Here are listed names and addresses of relevant persons, groups and organizations, as well as basic books and documents that will provide useful details for the most advanced and interested readers. The interested reader will have the possibility to consult these reports and books at the Documentation Centre at the Ministry of Environment in the Botanical Gardens.
Dynamic nature of the guidelines
It is worth noting that Seychelles have experienced fast and huge developments in the past decades, and that all indicators show that more economic development is to come. The implication on the present guidelines is that sectoral and environmental decision makers have to cope with a changing situation. In other words, there is no such thing in Seychelles as a static situation, and present concerns may well become either much more or much less important in the future. The present guidelines have been designed with that flexibility and adaptability in mind.
The complexity of environmental problems and management is such that the present guidelines have many interconnections, e.g. construction activities in tourism development is best dealt with the Constructions guideline rather than repeating the same recommendations again and again.
The interconnections amongst guidelines are as described in the following table. This table should be read as follows:
Guideline 6 (Industry and Power Generation) for instance, has a strong interconnection with Guidelines:
1-Agriculture and Livestock
2- Coastal Zone Management
4- Fisheries and Aqua culture
8- Oil Resource Management
10- Waste Management
13- Hull cleaning
The EIA Guidelines can be consulted at the Environment Department’s main office at the Botanical Gardens.