The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), in association with the Ministry of Environment (MoE), is hosting a three-day training workshop for Qatar on Environment Impact Assessment (EIA).
The EIA is a key instrument for analysing the effects on the environment of development projects, for mitigating any adverse impacts and providing a forum for public participation in the decision-making process.
The workshop that started here yesterday forms part of a project being implemented in the region with funding from the UN development account. It aims to build capacity amongst the participants in the implementation of EIA and to improve public participation in the process.
Melanie Hutchinson, Programme Officer, UNEP, said the workshop will be focusing on the roles of different partners in the EIA process, particularly officials at the MoE. “This will touch on the importance of developing the right terms of reference at the outset, on ensuring that the public has its opportunity to make comments regarding the proposed development and the EIA report itself.”
Hutchinson said the public would also get a chance to review the final report to make sure it had taken account of all the relevant environmental, social and economic factors and made sound recommendations to the ultimate decision makers.
The rapid development in the Gulf region, Hutchinson added, laid special emphasis on conserving and protecting its environment through the implementation of an effective EIA process.
Speaking to The Peninsula, Yousef al Hamar, Director, Technical Affairs, MoE, said Qatar would prepare its EIA with the active involvement of the public. “We will receive the feedback from the NGOs and civil society groups directly. Feedback from other sections of the public will be received online”, he said.
This is the first time the MoE is going in for public inputs for its environment protection programme.
The objective of the UNEP-supported programme is to build capacity in West Asia in reviewing EIAs both by the regulatory agencies and civil society organisations to ensure the environmental sustainability of development projects in the region as a contribution to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals.
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