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Good Practice Guidelines in Environmental Impact Assessment for Coastal Engineering in the Pacific

The Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) has a long history of leading and promoting EIA capacity building across Pacific Island countries and territories. For more than 30 years, SPREP has supported EIA awareness raising and training programmes in member countries, as well as the publication of EIA guidelines and manuals. As the pace of development and urbanisation intensifies in our islands, the need for effective EIA processes has become more vital.

This Good Practice in Environmental Impact Assessment for Coastal Engineering in the Pacific (Guidance Note) represents a sector specific version of SPREP’s regional EIA Guidelines, first published in 1993 and updated in 2016. They deliver on SPREP’s Strategic Plan 2017–2026 and other regional frameworks such as the 2050 Strategy for a Blue Pacific Continent. With the challenges presented by climate change (including the increased frequency of extreme weather events, drought, floods, coastal erosion, inundation, salinisation, coral bleaching, changing fish migratory paths, and more) and the vulnerability of Pacific islands, building resilience and adaptation has become a necessity for the survival of communities across the Pacific. Sea level rise remains a reality and a threat to Pacific Island communities. Many projects in the region include elements of coastal engineering from simple seawalls and sand mining to dredging and port construction as well as ecosystem-based adaptation projects for coastal protection. Such projects are necessary and will need to be assessed appropriately.

This Guidance Note aims to assist the implementation of national EIA legal requirements and promote best practice in EIA processes for coastal engineering projects in the Pacific. It complements other forms of SPREP EIA assistance such as the development and review of EIA legislation, delivery of in-country EIA training workshops, and provision of technical advice for different stages of EIA. The Guidance Note will be subject to further revision as EIA thinking and processes advance.

SPREP acknowledges the financial support from the European Union-funded ACP MEAs project delivered through the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), and from the Australian and New Zealand Governments. SPREP is also thankful for technical input from partners such as the New Zealand Association for Impact Assessment (NZAIA), Pacific Community (SPC), World Bank, Asian Development Bank and University of the South Pacific. In addition, SPREP member countries are greatly acknowledged, for providing feedback on earlier drafts and sharing local insights during EIA training workshops which informed this Guidance Note.