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SBSTTA Recommendation

. Incorporation of biological diversity considerations into environmental impact assessment

Incorporation of biological diversity considerations into environmental impact assessment

The Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice,

Noting that the lack of scientific data on the status and trends of biological diversity, including information regarding threatened and endangered species and their habitats, constitutes a serious limitation in carrying out complete environmental impact assessments in many countries,

Affirming the importance of considering indirect, cumulative and transboundary impacts on biological diversity and the quality of life for human beings, developing alternatives and mitigation measures,

Stressing the importance of considering the execution of strategic impact assessment and environmental impact assessment for policies, plans, programmes and projects that might have direct, indirect or cumulative significant adverse effects on biological diversity,

Stressing also the urgent need for capacity-building, including the development of local expertise in assessment methodologies, techniques and procedures, to permit, at the very least, the identification of impacts of major importance on biological diversity,

Aware that the implementation of sectoral legislation may have an impact on biological diversity,

Recommends that the Conference of the Parties:

(a) Invite Parties, Governments and other relevant organizations:

(i) To implement Article 14 of the Convention on Biological Diversity in connection with other components of the Convention and to integrate environmental impact assessment into the work programme on thematic areas, such as inland waters, marine and coastal, forest, agricultural biological diversity, dryland ecosystems, and on alien species and tourism;

(ii) To address loss of biological diversity, and the interrelated socio-economic, cultural and human health aspects relevant to biological diversity in carrying out environmental impact assessments;

(iii) To consider biological diversity concerns in the development of new legislative and regulatory frameworks from the early stages of the drafting process;

(iv) To ensure the involvement of interested and affected stakeholders in a participatory approach to all stages of the assessment process, including governmental bodies, the private sector, research and scientific institutions, indigenous and local communities and non-governmental organizations, including by the use of appropriate mechanisms, such as the setting up of committees, at the appropriate level, to this end;

(v) To organize experts meetings, workshops, seminars, as well as training, educational and public-awareness programmes and exchange programmes, in order to promote the development of local expertise in methodologies, techniques and procedures;

(b) Encourage Parties, Governments and relevant organizations to use strategic environmental assessment in order to assess impacts not only of individual projects, but also of the cumulative and global effects, incorporating biological diversity considerations at the decision-making/environmental planning level, to include the development of alternatives, mitigation measures and consideration of the elaboration of compensation measures in environmental impact assessment;

(c) Request Parties to include in their national reports practices, systems, mechanisms and experiences on the subject;

(d) Request the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice to further develop guidelines on the incorporation of biodiversity-related issues into legislation and/or processes on environmental impact assessment, in collaboration with the scientific community, the private sector, indigenous and local communities, non-governmental organizations and relevant organizations at the international, regional, subregional and national level, such as the Scientific and Technical Review Panel of the Convention on Wetlands, the scientific body of the Convention on Migratory Species, DIVERSITAS, IUCN and the International Association for Impact Assessment, the United Nations Environment Programme and the Parties, and further elaborate the application of the precautionary approach and the ecosystem approach, with a view to completion by the sixth meeting of the Conference of the Parties;

(e) Request the Executive Secretary also to make accessible and increase the call for case-studies, including negative impacts and, in particular, impact assessments taking the ecosystem approach into account, to compile and evaluate existing guidelines, procedures and provisions for environmental impact assessment, and make this information available, together with information on existing guidelines on incorporating biological diversity considerations into environmental impact assessment through, inter alia, the clearing-house mechanism in order to facilitate sharing of information and exchange of experiences at regional, national and local level.