The quality of environmental impact assessment (EIA) reports is fundamental to making good decisions and the low quality of EIA reports is a constraint in developed and developing countries. In developing countries, it appears to be very difficult to improve the quality of reports under present constraints such as limited funding, human resources, and information.
The purposes of this study are to identify determinants of the overall quality of EIA reports for development cooperation projects that Japan International Cooperation Agency has supported, and to propose benchmarks for satisfactory quality reports under the present situation in developing countries. The study reviewed the quality of 160 reports from 2001 to 2016 and examined factors influencing the overall quality of reports using statistical tests, cluster analysis, and decision tree analysis. The study clarified that the two processes of alternatives and public involvement were determinants and their linkage affected the quality of reports.
The study concludes that the just satisfactory grade of alternatives and public involvement at the scoping and draft reporting are the benchmarks for satisfactory EIA reports. Further verification through comparative studies and case studies, is needed to confirm how two processes have an effect on the quality of reports.
Keywords: EIA report quality; alternatives; public involvement; statistical tests; cluster analysis; decision tree analysis