The purpose of this study was to clarify the trends in the constraints on environmental impact assessment (EIA) systems and their recommendations in developing countries through a review of the past 30 years of relevant literature, and to propose solutions to improve these systems.
EIA was introduced in many developing countries from the early 1980s. They have implemented EIA over the past 30 years and donors played a catalytic role in the application of EIA systems in developing countries. But weak enforcement has been a major problem. After compiling the brief history of EIA system in developing countries, the study built a sample of 82 documents produced between 1985 and 2016 on the EIA systems in developing countries, and examined the revealed constraints on the EIA system and its recommendations using quantitative text analysis.
The constraints and recommendations changed before and after 2000 and, in particular, the ratio of constraints from report quality nearly doubled. The study focused on improving the quality of the environmental impact statement (EIS) in order to solve the constraints on EIA systems, because the EIS is a product of the EIA process, and its quality is the fundamental indicator of an effective EIA system. At the same time, the study proposed to analyze the quality of EIS using statistical methods, and identify the determination factors influencing its quality. These factors could be concrete recommendations with evidence. Further research is needed to review the quality of EIS in developing countries, and analyze the quality of the data to propose concrete recommendations.
Keywords: environmental impact assessment, developing countries, constraints, quantitative text analysis, environmental impact statement