Bilingual environmental impact assessment guide launched in English and isiZulu

What is EIA?

An Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is a study that predicts and assesses the impacts that a development is likely to have on the environment and on people, their health and well-being, their livelihoods and their culture. Its purpose is to avoid negative impacts where possible, and if not, to minimise and remedy them, while also maximising benefits.

The process is designed to promote transparent, accountable and participatory decision-making, but this is not possible when language creates a barrier to meaningful participation for those most affected.

EIA is a legal requirement in South Africa and provides interested and affected parties, including communities, with a formal mechanism to hold developers and regulatory authorities accountable and to ensure adherence to environmental standards that protect their rights and interests.

The Purpose of the Bilingual EIA Guide

All too often, community members are left out of decision-making processes that directly impact their well-being and that of their environment. The isiZulu Environmental Impact Assessment Guide aims to make EIA accessible to isiZulu-speaking communities directly affected by proposed developments in their areas.

“This is the first comprehensive guide that is going out into the community in isiZulu. When you have a consultant coming into a community and speaking English about a development, it is important that we make sure that the community understands what that person is coming to say to them, in their own language.”
– Lihle Mbokazi, All Rise Head of Community Liaison.

How and Why was the EIA Guide Created

This free resource has been created, together with IAIAsa, with translation by Wakhiwe and input from community members of Mfolozi Community Environmental Justice Organisation (MCEJO), in order to assist with the understanding of EIA. The hope is that the Guide will allow communities to be able to participate more meaningfully in the EIA processes conducted for projects, especially where projects will negatively affect their environment, health and well-being.

With the purpose of the EIA Guide being to provide accessibility and understanding of the EIA process to isiZulu-speaking South Africans, we recognised the importance of including input from community members in its development. All Rise was thankful to be able to participate in workshops with IAIAsa and MCEJO members to discuss EIA and develop the content of the Guide using relatable examples.

We would like to offer our sincerest thank you to all those involved in the creation of the groundbreaking isiZulu EIA Guide and its distribution. 

  • To IAIA and OSF-SA for the financial support.
  • To IAIAsa NEC and members for reviewing drafts and facilitating workshops.
  • To Wakhiwe Stakeholder Engagement Specialists for the isiZulu translation.
  • To MCEJO and all the organisers and participants of the workshop.

Our hope is that this Guide is used widely by communities and by Environmental Assessment Practitioners when consulting with communities and that similar guides are developed in other languages in South Africa.

We invite you to access the full Guide for sharing HERE

Source: All Rise 

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