Coping with uncertainty in environmental impact assessments: Open techniques

Ibsen Chivatá Cárdenas, Johannes I.M. Halman

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Uncertainty is virtually unavoidable in environmental impact assessments (EIAs). From the literature related to treating and managing uncertainty, we have identified specific techniques for coping with uncertainty in EIAs. Here, we have focused on basic steps in the decision-making process that take place within an EIA setting. More specifically, we have identified uncertainties involved in each decision-making step and discussed the extent to which these can be treated and managed in the context of an activity or project that may have environmental impacts. To further demonstrate the relevance of the techniques identified, we have examined the extent to which the EIA guidelines currently used in Colombia consider and provide guidance on managing the uncertainty involved in these assessments. Some points that should be considered in order to provide greater robustness in impact assessments in Colombia have been identified. These include the management of stakeholder values, the systematic generation of project options, and their associated impacts as well as the associated management actions, and the evaluation of uncertainties and assumptions. We believe that the relevant and specific techniques reported here can be a reference for future evaluations of other EIA guidelines in different countries.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)24-39
JournalEnvironmental impact assessment review
Publication statusPublished - 2016


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