Environmental impact assessment is a critical part of every project that is carried out in the community. This assessment looks at the impacts that the project will have on the various aspects of the human environment. This includes the impact on economic and physical environments of the community.
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Social environment is such one aspect of the human environment that is affected by projects carried out in the society. Social impact assessment looks at the positive and negative effects of these projects and how to manage them. The articles critiqued below touch on the subject of environmental impact assessment, and especially on social impact assessment.
The first article is Guidelines for Social Impact Assessments for Mining Projects in Greenland. This article was written in the year 2009 by the Bureau of Minerals and Petroleum, Greenland. The article provides information on the guidelines that mining projects should follow when doing social impact assessment in Greenland.
The article highlights the process of carrying out this assessment plus the format of an SIA report required for mining projects in Greenland (Bureau of Minerals and Petroleum, Greenland [BMP] 7). The second article is The Significance of Social and Economic Impacts in Environmental Assessment by Lawrence David. The article provides information on how to determine social and economic impacts and the importance of the same in environmental assessment in Canada (Lawrence 19).
The third article is Guide to Free Prior and Informed Consent by Hill, Lillywhite and Simon. This Oxfam article provides information on how communities can engage project implementers in their society and how to negotiate for shared benefits from the project in addition to learning more about the same and giving informed consent (Hill, Lillywhite and Simon 19).
The first article can be very useful to investors that are intending to start mining projects in Greenland. However, the scope of the article is considerable narrow as compared to the other two articles. This is given that it focuses solely on Greenland and mining activities therein. As such, the information on the article cannot be confidently generalized to apply to other countries or to other projects that are carried out in Greenland outside the scope of mining.
However, the information therein may be more accurate, in-depth and analytical given the special focus on one country and one form of activity. It is similar to the other two articles, especially the second one, considering that they both touch on the subject of social impact assessment.
The second article by Lawrence tends to have a bigger scope than the first one. It focuses on both social and economic impacts of projects. It is also not limited to one form of project; rather, the information therein can be consumed by stakeholders in many fields who are interested in social and economic impact assessment.
However, the similarity with the first article is that it also tends to focus on one country (Canada), albeit obliquely. It is identical to the third article in the sense that both address the significance of projects on the indigenous community.
The third article deviates significantly from the first two as far as the target audience is concerned. This article targets indigenous communities and gives them information on how to engage project implementers in their society. The article is of little value to a project manager, benefitting community rights’ activists more. However, the article provides a refreshing look on the issue of the impact of projects from the perspective of the community.
In conclusion, it is important to note that all the three articles provide credible information on the topics that they are addressing. This is considering that they are authored by noteworthy individuals affiliated to noteworthy institutions.
For example, the first article is affiliated to the Bureau of Minerals and Petroleum, Greenland (BMP 5). The second is affiliated to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency’s Research and Development Program (Lawrence 2), while the third is affiliated to the Oxfam organization (Hill et al 4).
However, one major weakness in all the three articles is that they contain complicated and technical information that is intended for the consumption of the professionals and not for the layman. This even includes the third article that alleges to target the indigenous communities.
Bureau of Minerals and Petroleum, Greenland. 2009. Guidelines for Social Impact Assessments for Mining Projects in Greenland. BMP, November 2009.
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Hill, Christina, Lillywhite, Serena and Simon, Michael. 2010. Guide to Free Prior and Informed Consent. Oxfam Australia, June 2010.
Lawrence, David P. 2004. The Significance of Social and Economic Impacts in Environmental Assessment. Research and Development Program, Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency, March 2003.