EIAs in Practice: Potenital Lessons for Human Rights Impact (June 2010) (Orellana)

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Human Rights Impact Assessment (HRIA) is a promising new concept/tool for protecting human rights and promoting sustainable development. Lessons learned from environmental impact assessment can assist greatly in realizing HRIA’s full potential.

Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA) has been a tool for environmental and social betterment for over 40 years. EIA practices can foster public engagement and democratic processes; produce valuable info1mation that improves decision-making; enhance transboundary cooperation; and ultimately improve the environmental and social impacts of development.

This paper looks at the va1ious spheres of application of EIA. It then explores the following questions: What are  the components of EIA, and what happens when critical components of EIA are missing? What is the role of public participation in the EIA process? What are the political dimensions of EIA? How can lessons learned from EIA be applied to HRIA?

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