Environmental impact assessment: towards the concept of sustainable development

Anthonio-Apedzi, Bridget Kafui (2020). Environmental impact assessment: towards the concept of sustainable development. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

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This research evaluates the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) system in Ghana as a mechanism for implementing sustainable development. It questions whether the EIA procedure as practised in Ghana, which includes the implementation and enforcement of the Legislative Instrument (LI) 1652, and the use of guidelines, is achieving the goals of sustainable development. These goals include preserving natural resources and the environment at large; ensuring equitable share of these resources; enhancing economic growth, cultural recognition and social justice.

The study reviews three specific infrastructure projects namely: a hydroelectric dam, a mining site and a highway, all of these projects which received financial support from and were underwritten by developed countries in the global north. Participants of the study included the communities within the precincts of the selected projects as well as officers of the Environmental Protection Agency, the Agency responsible for supervising the EIA process and the enforcement of the Regulation.

The research presents a post-project analysis of EIA procedure using an empirically based, socio-legal analysis of primary data to assess the utility of EIA Regulation for communities affected by execution of the selected projects. In particular, it examines selected guidelines of financial institutions, including The Millennium Challenge Corporation, the World Bank Group and the Equator Banks, as well as the EIA systems from countries of the global north alongside the EIA Regulation of Ghana LI 1652. The research concludes that, while Ghana’s EIA operates across such projects, the use of foreign guidelines to conduct EIA in most instances is a drawback to the EIA process. It is not prudent for international financial institutions from the global north to develop models and guidelines and apply these across the world or impose them indirectly on the countries of the global south (developing countries) as a pre-condition of funding in a misguided belief that their guidelines must represent best practice, irrespective of context. So long as Ghana depends on foreign guidelines from international multi-lateral and bi-lateral lending agencies, the country may find it hard to achieve the desired level of sustainable development. Ancillary factors such as poor education, outdated law and poor coordination among government agencies and officials also pose a hindrance to the EIA process. The concept of sustainable development is meaningless to the ordinary Ghanaian if development leaves people jobless, poorer and above all destroys the very environment they rely on for their daily sustenance. The foreign guidelines are not sensitive to the cultural lives and the peculiar sentimental attachment of each local community to their immediate environment.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
Licence: All rights reserved
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
School or Department: Birmingham Law School
Funders: Other
Other Funders: Government of Ghana
Subjects: K Law > KZ Law of Nations
URI: http://etheses.bham.ac.uk/id/eprint/10252


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