An Evaluation of the Participation of the Affected Public in Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA) For Manufacturing and Processing Industries in the Central Region of Uganda
Environmental impact assessment (EIA) was legally introduced in Uganda through the National Environment Act (NEA) 1995 (now NEA 2019) and made operational by the EIA Regulations 1998. Since the origin of EIA from the National Environment Policy Act of 1970 in the USA, public participation has taken an essential part of the EIA process. This paper assesses the legal provisions for public participation in the EIA process and the actual practice in Uganda, particularly the affected public. Data was collected using a literature review, survey questionnaire, interview guides and documentary analysis. The results indicated fairly good legal provisions for public participation and involvement in EIA. However, public participation was not well legislated in the early phases of the EIA process (preparation of project brief, screening, and scoping) and the later phases, particularly final decision-making and EIA follow-up. There were gaps between the law and the actual practice due to many contextual factors, including public participation, weak monitoring by the regulator, weak community cohesion and environmental stewardship, limited dissemination of EIA information and lack of community awareness of projects' potential environmental, social and health impacts. The study made recommendations to promote the participation of the affected public in the EIA process
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