Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs) have been a tool for social and environmental betterment for over 40 years. EIA practices can foster public engagement and democratic practices; produce valuable information that improves decision-making; enhance trans-boundary cooperation; and ultimately improve the environmental and social impacts of development.
This paper looks at the various spheres of application of EIA. It then explores the following questions: What are the components of EIA, and what happens when the 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 Human Rights Impact Assessments (HRIAs)?