A Comprehensive Guide to Social Impact Assessment

Topics: Sociology, Environmental impact assessment, Social sciences Pages: 44 (9910 words) Published: January 7, 2012

2006 Centre for Good Governance

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Table of Contents Introduction Social impact assessment process Principals of social impact assessment Application of social impact assessment Appendix

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Sample information format social screening Matrix Relating Project Stage to Social Impact Assessment Variables Format for social management plan Social capital format Public participation techniques Sample terms of reference for social assessment

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A Comprehensive Guide for Social Impact Assessment

1.1 BACKGROUND 1.1 Economic development projects brought innumerable benefits but also

had unintended detrimental effects on people and natural resources. Human activities have resulted in the disruption of social and communal harmony, the loss of human livelihood and life, the introduction of new diseases, and the destruction of renewable resources. These and other consequences can negate the positive benefits of economic development. 1.2 Social impacts are the impacts of developmental interventions on human The impacts of development interventions take different forms.


While significant benefits flow in from different development actions, there is also a need to identify and evaluate the negative externalities associated with them. Such impacts not only need to be identified and measured but also need to be managed in such a way that the positive externalities are maximized and the negative externalities are minimized. 1.3 A balanced development planning takes into account the environmental,

social and biodiversity impacts of economic development. Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), Social Impact Assessment (SIA) and biodiversity impact assessments are some of the methods that aid in the planning and decision making process. These impact assessments help in identifying the likely positive and negative impacts of proposed policy actions, likely trade-offs and synergies, and thus facilitate informed decision-making. Moreover, the need for impact assessment stems from the fact that:

Impact assessments enhance positive and sustainable outcomes associated with project implementation

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A Comprehensive Guide for Social Impact Assessment

They support the integration of social and environmental aspects associated with the numerous subprojects into the decision making process.

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The enhance positive social and environmental outcomes; They minimize social and environmental impacts as a result of either individual subprojects or their cumulative effects;

They protect human health and minimize impacts on cultural property.

1.2 DEVELOPMENT PROJECTS AND THEIR IMPACTS 1.4 Sustainable development is increasingly accepted as a fundamental

objective for public policy and decision-making. It encompasses the economic, environmental and social dimensions of the development process. The growing acceptance of sustainable development as an over-arching policy goal has stimulated interest in assessing the impact of particular interventions on sustainable development at aggregate, sectoral or project levels. Good environmental and social management practice is a well-established element of project preparation and implementation. Projects are usually situated within the ambit of specific policies and programmes. The impact of these projects can be economic, social and environmental. Environmental impacts

Economic impacts

Project Impact

Social impacts

Biodiversity impacts

Figure 1: Multi-dimensional impacts of projects


The multidimensional nature of development interventions call for

identification of not only potential economic impacts but also potential social and

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A Comprehensive Guide for Social Impact Assessment

environmental impacts (see figure 1). The fallouts...
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