Meta Study of ESIAs for Port Development

In 2014 a multi-stakeholder dialogue was initiated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to determine how to effectively contribute to the improvement of land governance in emerging and developing countries. The dialogue was initiated since land rights of indigenous peoples are often violated during the implementation phase of large-scale agricultural, infrastructural or residential projects. The MSD LG aims to identify and share lessons learned and best practices supporting pro-poor land governance.

The MSD LG primarily focused on land governance in the context of building of infrastructure, starting with a pilot on port infrastructure as this kind of projects may affect large surface areas and thus large numbers of people. The Netherlands Commission for Environmental Assessment (NCEA) was asked to contribute to the goals of the MSDLG by providing a meta study of environmental and social impacts assessments (ESIAs) for harbours and ports with, if possible, Dutch interest, as an example of large-scale infrastructural developments. The overall objective of the study is to identify possible measures to enhance the quality of ESIAs for Dutch port development in emerging and developing countries. Attention not only had to be given to the quality of the information but also to aspects such as transparency of the process and communication and participation of affected parties. The output of the study should contribute to improved land governance and respect for land rights.
The overall objective has been broken down as follows:

  • determination of a benchmark for good practice ESIAs for port development to be used in this study;
  • identification of the key environmental and social problems/effects as mentioned in the ESIAs examined;
  • identification of common weaknesses in the ESIAs examined;
  • identification of good practice examples for specific aspects;
  • formulation of recommendations on ESIA good practice for port development, with special focus on land governance.

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