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Environmental
Management Guide
for Australia’s Aid
Program 2003
The Australian Government’s
Overseas Aid Program
© Commonwealth of Australia 2003
This work is copyright. It may be reproduced in whole or in part for study
or training purposes subject to the inclusion of an acknowledgment of
the source and no commercial usage or sale. Reproduction for purposes
other than those indicated above require the prior written permission
from the Commonwealth available from the Department of
Communications, Information Technology and the Arts. Requests and
inquiries concerning reproduction and rights should be addressed to the
Commonwealth Copyright Administration, Intellectual Property Branch,
Department of Communications, Information Technology and the Arts,
GPO Box 2154, Canberra ACT 2601 or at http://www.dcita.gov.au/cca.
ISBN 0 642 76313 5
Published by the Australian Agency for International Development
(AusAID), Canberra, February 2003
For further information, contact:
AusAID
GPO Box 887
Canberra ACT 2601
Phone (02) 6206 4000
Internet http://www.ausaid.gov.au
Edited by ByWord Services
Designed by Griffiths & Young Design, Canberra
Set in Rotis
Printed in Australia by Pirion
Cover photo: The karst mountain land rehabilitation project in Xincheng
County in southern China is reducing poverty within an environmentally
sound framework by providing water, market access roads, appropriate
renewable energy usage and agricultural land use planning, and
reafforestation for land protection. Photo: Anne Rigby
AusAID • Environmental Management Guide for Australia’s Aid Program 2003 i
Environmental management in AusAID > SUMMARY
Abbreviations and acronyms iv
Purpose and format of guide v
Summary Environmental management in AusAID vii
Environmental significance x
Environmental management system at a glance xii
Part 1 AusAID’s Environmental Management System
Introduction 3
Structure of AusAID’s EMS 4
EMS training and awareness 4
EMS step 1 Understanding policy and legal setting 5
Australian aid program’s development cooperation policies – environment and poverty links 6
Commonwealth environmental legislation and the Australian aid program 7
Overseas provisions of the EPBC Act 7
Definition of ecologically sustainable development 7
Definition of the environment 8
Environmental impacts 9
Significant environmental impacts under the EPBC Act 9
Complying with the EPBC Act and delivering quality aid 10
Partner government legislation 10
Multilateral environment agreements 11
Contents
ii AusAID • Environmental Management Guide for Australia’s Aid Program 2003
EMS step 2 Environmental assessment and management planning 13
Steps in environmental assessment and management planning 13
Strategic environmental assessment 14
Initial environmental assessment 14
Environmental marker questions 15
Actions relating to responses to environmental marker questions 16
Environmental impact assessment 19
Environmental management plans 19
Appraisal of environmental assessment and management planning 21
Referring environmentally significant activities 21
Flexible activities 22
Program-level EMS 23
Appraisal of a program-level EMS 23
International organisations 24
AusAID’s humanitarian and emergency programs 24
EMS step 3 Implementation 25
EMS step 4 Monitoring and evaluation 27
Monitoring environmental performance – responsibilities and capacity building 28
Evaluating the effects of environmental management – responsibilities and lessons learned 28
EMS step 5 Executive review 31
Selected bibliography 33
AusAID • Environmental Management Guide for Australia’s Aid Program 2003 iii
Part 2 Environmental Management Guidelines
Introduction 39
Guideline 1 Environment and poverty links 41
Guideline 2 Multilateral environment agreements 45
Guideline 3 Environmental marker questions 1, 2, 3 and 5 47
Environmentally sensitive locations and sectors 47
Issues to consider in determining potential environmental impacts 48
Further issues to consider when determining significant negative environmental impacts
(for the purposes of the EPBC Act) 49
Guideline 4 Environmental impact assessment 51
Example EIA checklist for infrastructure activities 52
Guideline 5 Environmental management plans 57
Example EMP for road infrastructure 58
Example EMP for forestry operations 63
Guideline 6 Non-government organisations 65
Questions and answers 65
NGOs and environmental assessment and management 67
How to answer environmental marker questions 69
Suggested outline for an environmental assessment and management report 70
AusAID’s EPBC Act referrals information form 73
Boxes
Box 1 Objectives of the EPBC Act 7
Box 2 Principles of ecologically sustainable development (section 3A of the EPBC Act) 8
Box 3 The environment defined 8
Box 4 Environmental impacts defined 9
Box 5 Environmental marker questions 15
Box 6 Response scenarios when answering environmental marker questions 17
Box 7 Sample environmental management plan 20
Box 8 Flexible activities 22
Environmental management in AusAID > SUMMARY
iv AusAID • Environmental Management Guide for Australia’s Aid Program 2003
CITES Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species
DAC Development Assistance Committee of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation
and Development
EIA environmental impact assessment
EMP environmental management plan
EMS environmental management system
EPBC Act Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Cwlth)
NGO non-government organisation
PDD project design document
SEA strategic environmental assessment
SOS scope of services
TOR terms of reference
Abbreviations and acronyms
AusAID • Environmental Management Guide for Australia’s Aid Program 2003 v
Purpose and format of guide
This guide provides an overview of AusAID’s environmental management system (EMS)
and outlines the steps to be followed in environmental assessments of activities and the
procedures for managing potential environmental impacts.
The guide describes AusAID’s legal obligations under the Environment Protection and
Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act). It also promotes sustainable approaches
to managing the environment and using scarce natural resources, as specified in
AusAID’s 2002 publication Australian Aid: Investing in Growth, Stability and Prosperity.
The guide, which provides a framework to assist in meeting AusAID’s legal and policy
obligations, consists of two parts:
> Part 1 – AusAID’s Environmental Management System describes the EMS; roles
and responsibilities of AusAID staff, contractors, non-government organisations
(NGOs) and other parties; actions to be taken during all steps of the EMS; and how
the EMS relates to AusAID’s activity cycle, and
> Part 2 – Environmental Management Guidelines includes checklists, procedures
and examples to help with integrating environmental issues in program and sectoral
policy and with identifying, assessing and managing environmental impacts of all
AusAID activities. It also includes the EPBC Act referrals information form.
The guide is designed primarily as a resource for AusAID staff, contractors and NGOs,
development partners and other parties involved in designing, appraising, implementing,
monitoring, or otherwise managing Australian aid activities funded through AusAID. It
replaces the 1996 Environmental Assessment Guidelines for Australia’s Aid Program.
Environmental assessment – why do it?
> To comply with AusAID policy, which requires potential
environmental impacts to be considered when designing and
implementing all aid activities.
> To meet AusAID’s legal obligations under the Environment Protection
and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) to ensure that all
activities likely to have environmental impacts are properly assessed
and managed.
When does environmental assessment begin?
> During country strategy formulation as well as during formulation of
policies, programs, plans, and regional or sector strategies
– strategic environmental assessment (SEA).
> During activity identification and initial assessment
– initial environmental assessment.
> During activity preparation – environmental impact assessment (EIA).
> During implementation of flexible activities – initial environmental
assessment and EIA (as required) during design of subactivities.
What is the purpose of environmental assessment?
> Strategic environmental assessment – to evaluate the environmental
impacts of a policy, program, plan, country or regional strategy or
sector strategy, or its alternative, and incorporate findings into the
policy, program, plan or strategy.
AusAID • Environmental Management Guide for Australia’s Aid Program 2003 vii
Summary
Environmental management
in AusAID
viii AusAID • Environmental Management Guide for Australia’s Aid Program 2003
SUMMARY > Environmental management in AusAID
> Initial environmental assessment – to identify environmental issues
and potential environmental impacts of an activity.
> Environmental impact assessment – to identify, predict and evaluate
the foreseeable direct, indirect, positive and negative environmental
impacts of an activity.
Are activity managers expected to undertake every
level of environmental assessment?
No. Activity managers are expected to undertake only initial
environmental assessment. Strategic environmental assessments are
normally undertaken by program areas developing country strategies and
programs, and environmental impact assessments are undertaken by
activity feasibility and design teams. In the case of flexible activities,
where subactivities are developed during implementation, an initial
environmental assessment needs to be conducted during the design of
each subactivity.
Are activity managers required to undertake the initial
environmental assessment of every activity?
Yes. These assessments enable AusAID to identify those activities with
potential environmental impacts and determine what further action
is required.
How do activity managers undertake initial
environmental assessment?
By completing a check sheet for each activity, which means:
> answering environmental marker questions
> identifying DAC (subsector) codes, and
> selecting environment generic field codes.
Do activity managers have to do anything after
answering the environmental marker questions?
If an activity manager answers ‘Yes’ to any environmental marker
question, further action is required. The following table summarises the
different response scenarios.
AusAID • Environmental Management Guide for Australia’s Aid Program 2003 ix
Environmental management in AusAID > SUMMARY
Response scenarios when answering environmental marker questions
Question Scenario 1 Scenario 2 Scenario 3 Scenario 4
1 No Yes Yes Yes
2 No No Yes Yes
3 No No Yes or No Yes or No
4 No No Yes or No Yes or No
5 No No No Yes
No further action is
required. Activity
manager ensures
monitoring for
unexpected
environmental
impacts is
incorporated into
activity’s monitoring
and evaluation
process.
Activity manager
ensures feasibility
and design team
reassesses potential
environmental
impacts. If impacts
are identified, refer to
response 3. If no
impacts are
identified, refer to
response 1.
Activity manager
ensures that:
environmental
expertise is included
in feasibility and
design team; team is
adequately briefed on
AusAID’s legal and
policy obligations
prior to departure;
team undertakes the
EIA and develops the
EMP; and EIA reports
and EMP, or EMP
specifications, are
included in design
document.
Activity may require
referral to Minister
for the Environment
and Heritage. Activity
manager seeks advice
from AusAID’s
environment adviser
or other
environmental expert,
and ensures AusAID’s
EPBC Act referrals
information form is
completed.
Environmental marker questions
Q1 Is the activity in an environmentally sensitive location or sector?
Q2 Is there potential for the activity to have an impact on the
environment?
Q3 Is the explicit, or implicit, aim of the activity to have a positive
environmental impact?
Q4 Is the activity relevant to multilateral environment agreements?
Q5 Could the activity have significant negative environmental impacts?
x AusAID • Environmental Management Guide for Australia’s Aid Program 2003
What is ‘environmental significance’ under the EPBC Act?
Environmental significance has a specific meaning under the
Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Cwlth).
Under this Act, together with AusAID’s record of understanding with
Environment Australia, AusAID is required to take action with respect to
all potential negative environmental impacts. In this respect, significant
environmental impacts are negative impacts that are inherent in an
activity irrespective of any positive impacts the activity may have or any
proposed environmental management or mitigation measures. If AusAID’s
environment staff determine that an activity is likely to have significant
negative environmental impacts that activity must be referred to the
Minister for the Environment and Heritage for formal advice.
When is an activity referred to the Minister for the
Environment and Heritage?
Referral should be as early as possible in the activity cycle, and before
completion of the final draft design document, so that ideally the
referral process can run in parallel with activity preparation. If it is
determined that a subactivity of a flexible activity has potential
significant negative environmental impacts, that subactivity is also
subject to the referral process.
Who coordinates the referral process?
AusAID’s environment staff coordinate all referrals and informal
consultation with Environment Australia (as described under the record
of understanding).
Environmental
significance
SUMMARY > Environmental management in AusAID
AusAID • Environmental Management Guide for Australia’s Aid Program 2003 xi
Environmental management in AusAID > SUMMARY
Are there special requirements for flexible activities
that activity managers need to be aware of?
Yes. During the design of a flexible activity, where not all specific
subactivities are identified or parts of the activity remain undefined, a
program-level EMS needs to be developed and implemented (at the
latest, during early stages of program implementation before any
subactivities are implemented). It should identify that an initial
environment assessment needs to be completed for all subactivities. If
environmental issues are identified, an appropriate EIA must be
conducted and an EMP developed and implemented for each subactivity.
Do activity managers have any further responsibilities
during activity implementation?
Yes. Activity managers, whether in country or in Canberra, are
responsible for monitoring the contract, including compliance by the
managing contractor with environmental provisions and with the scope
of services. In the case of NGO activities, activity managers are required
to check that NGOs have undertaken (where required) adequate
environmental assessment and have developed and implemented
appropriate EMPs.
Activity managers should ensure that EMPs include checking for
unforeseen environmental impacts and that implementing teams are
taking appropriate action as issues arise.
Where do activity managers seek further advice?
Detailed information, including step-by-step guidelines, can be found in
the Environmental Management Guide for Australia’s Aid Program 2003.
Activity managers are encouraged to seek advice from AusAID’s
environment adviser or environment staff during activity preparation.
AusAID’s environment period offers list environmental experts who may
be contracted for prefeasibility, feasibility and design, and
implementation activities.
xii AusAID • Environmental Management Guide for Australia’s Aid Program 2003
SUMMARY > Environmental management in AusAID
Environmental management system at a glance
Activity managers:•understand AusAID development cooperation policies
•understand Australian legislative obligations (EPBC Act)
•understand partner government requirements
•understand multilateral environment agreements.
EMS STEPSACTIONS TO BE TAKEN BY AUSAID STAFFACTIVITY STAGES
EMS STEP 1
Understanding policy
and legal setting
EMS STEP 2
Environmental assessment
and management planning
>
Development cooperation policies
Country strategy formulation
STAGE 1
Project identification &
initial assessment
STAGE 2
Project preparation
STAGE 3
Appraisal
>>>>
Strategic environmental assessmentProgram areas:
•evaluate environmental impacts of a policy, program, plan, country or regional strategy
or sector strategy, or its alternative
•incorporate SEA findings into the policy, program, plan or strategy.
Initial environmental assessmentActivity managerscomplete check sheets and ensure they are cleared.
•If answer is ‘Yes’ to one or more environmental marker questions, then must continue
with EMS steps.
•If answer is ‘No’ to all environmental marker questions, then environmental assessment
is complete (although need to monitor for unexpected impacts during implementation).
For flexible activities, initial environmental assessment must be conducted during design
of the activities as well as their subactivities (during implementation).Environmental impact assessment & environmental management plansActivity managersmust ensure terms of reference for activity designs include:
•a detailed environmental impact assessment (EIA)
•an environmental management plan (EMP) or specifications for an EMP
•completed EPBC Act form as an annex to the PDD as required.
For flexible activities, a program-level EMS (or a commitment to develop and implement it
during implementation) should be included in program design.
Activity managerscheck that PDD includes these components.
Environment adviser:
•checks that environmental issues and potential impacts are adequately addressed in
project design
•advises whether referral to Minister for the Environment and Heritage is required.
>
AusAID • Environmental Management Guide for Australia’s Aid Program 2003 xiii
Environmental management in AusAID > SUMMARY
EMS STEPSACTIONS TO BE TAKEN BY AUSAID STAFFACTIVITY STAGES
STAGE 4
Mobilisation, implementation
& monitoring
STAGE 5
Completion & evaluation
> >>
Activity managers
•monitor contracts for compliance with environmental provisions
•check that NGO reports include adequate environmental monitoring and
management plans.
For flexible activities, implement program-level EMS and ensure initial environmental
assessment is conducted on program subactivity design. (An EIA and an EMP should be
developed and implemented as required for each subactivity.)
Activity managersensure that environmental performance is monitored:
•ensuring activity’s or program’s monitoring plan and environmental monitoring as
outlined in an EMP or program-level EMS are implemented and effective
•ensuring monitoring for unexpected environmental impacts is being undertaken and
issues are addressed as they arise and reported on as required.
Executivereviews the agency’s EMS.
Activity managersmake available relevant activity and program reports, reviews and
monitoring briefs as required. Results feed into continuous improvement process of EMS.
EMS STEP 3
Implementation
EMS STEP 4
Monitoring and evaluation
EMS STEP 5
Executive review
> > > >
>>>><<<<
CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT
>
AusAID • Environmental Management Guide for Australia’s Aid Program 2003 1
Environmental management in AusAID > SUMMARY
Part 1
AusAID’s
Environmental
Management System
An environmental management system is developed and implemented by
an organisation to achieve sound environmental performance. It provides
a structure in which the organisation addresses environmental issues by
allocating resources, assigning responsibilities, and evaluating practices,
procedures and processes for developing, implementing, achieving,
reviewing and maintaining the policy and legal setting (Standards
Australia/Standards New Zealand 1996). To ensure the operational
success of an EMS it should be integrated with the other management
systems and operations of the organisation, and be seen as an essential
component of its risk management system.
AusAID’s EMS is an integral part of its overall management system and
activity cycle. AusAID’s environmental management objective is to ensure
activities in the Australian Government’s aid program that are likely to
have impacts on the environment are properly assessed and managed.
AusAID’s EMS provides the means for meeting its legal and policy
obligations, to continuously improve environmental performance in aid
activities, and to demonstrate the agency’s commitment to sound
environmental management practices. Its focus is to ensure that all activities
AusAID undertakes or funds in partner countries are environmentally sound.
AusAID • Environmental Management Guide for Australia’s Aid Program 2003 3
Introduction > PART 1
Introduction
AusAID’s environmental
management objective
is to ensure activities
in the Australian
Government’s aid
program that are likely
to have impacts on the
environment are
properly assessed and
managed.
Structure of AusAID’s EMS
AusAID’s EMS incorporates international best practice environmental
management principles, while reflecting the special nature of AusAID’s
work. It includes an approach for regularly reviewing the success of
AusAID’s environmental performance and that of the system so that
environmental objectives can be met. The EMS has five steps:
EMS step 1 Understanding policy and legal setting
EMS step 2 Environmental assessment and management planning
EMS step 3 Implementation
EMS step 4 Monitoring and evaluation
EMS step 5 Executive review
These steps provide the structure for the following sections of this part
of the guide. Each section provides details of the key actions that are
required for environmental management and who is responsible for
undertaking those actions.
The relationship between the operational steps of the EMS and the
stages of the activity cycle is broadly illustrated in the summary in
‘Environmental management system at a glance’.
EMS training and awareness
Environmental management training is an integral component of an
organisation’s EMS. Training raises awareness and equips staff with the
tools and basic knowledge to effectively implement an EMS.
AusAID provides EMS training to its staff in a number of ways:
> as part of its in-house training schedule
> through induction and pre-posting programs
> through external environmental courses, and
> through environmental seminars on a range of topics.
AusAID also provides briefings and advice on environmental management
to contractors, NGOs and other parties involved with implementing
AusAID activities. Contractors and NGOs should seek training and advice
from suitably qualified personnel to ensure they are undertaking
effective environmental assessment and management of their activities
and complying with relevant legal and policy requirements.
4 AusAID • Environmental Management Guide for Australia’s Aid Program 2003
PART 1 > Introduction
AusAID • Environmental Management Guide for Australia’s Aid Program 2003 5
EMS step 1
Understanding policy
and legal setting
The first step in an EMS is to identify and understand the policy and
legal setting in which aid activities are being implemented. A good
understanding of the setting in which AusAID operates is the foundation
for assessing and managing the environmental impact of aid activities
and for promoting environmentally sustainable development.
This section of the guide provides an overview of the policy and
legislative obligations relevant to AusAID’s activities, including:
> AusAID’s development cooperation policies
> Commonwealth environmental legislation relevant to AusAID’s
activities
> partner government legislation relevant to AusAID’s activities, and
> relevant multilateral environment agreements.
It is important that AusAID staff, contractors, NGOs and other
development partners understand these obligations and integrate them
into Australian aid activities.
Australian aid program’s development cooperation
policies – environment and poverty links
The Australian aid program has two main policies that explicitly refer to
the environment.
> Reducing Poverty: The Central Integrating Factor of Australia’s Aid
Program (2001). This policy document acknowledges the links
between the environment and poverty and stresses that preventing
environmental degradation is essential to alleviating poverty and
ensuring sustainable development.
> Australian Aid: Investing in Growth, Stability and Prosperity: The
Eleventh Statement to Parliament on Australia’s Development
Cooperation Program (2002). This policy document reinforces the
policies established in 1997 in Better Aid for a Better Future, which
describes the Australian aid program’s commitment to
mainstreaming environmental considerations in the design and
implementation of all of its aid activities. It also brings together the
policy framework that has evolved since then, emphasising five
guiding themes that link AusAID’s strategy for reducing poverty with
individual aid activities. Sustainable resource management is one of
those themes and promotes sustainable approaches to managing the
environment and using scarce natural resources.
By identifying links between the environment and poverty AusAID has
the potential to greatly improve the effectiveness of its interventions to
reduce poverty. Key links between the environment and poverty include:
> inadequate access to natural resources, which limits the development
of subsistence or cash economies
> the degradation of natural resources or the protective functions of
natural ecosystems, which undermines the ability of people to
sustain their livelihoods, and
> natural or human-induced air or water contamination that results in
poor health, which in turn reduces people’s ability to generate
income.
For further examples of environment–poverty links, see guideline 1 in
part 2 of this guide.
6 AusAID • Environmental Management Guide for Australia’s Aid Program 2003
STEP 1 > Understanding policy and legal setting
Environment and
poverty links should
be identified and
addressed when
formulating country
strategies as well as
policies, programs,
plans, and regional or
sector strategies.
Commonwealth environmental legislation and the
Australian aid program
The Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999
(Cwlth), which is Australia’s principal national legislation pertaining to
the protection of the environment, came into effect on 16 July 2000. The
objectives of the Act are listed in box 1.
Overseas provisions of the EPBC Act
The EPBC Act requires AusAID to consider advice from the Minister for
the Environment and Heritage (or his or her delegate) before entering
‘into a contract, agreement or arrangement for the implementation of a
project that has, will have or is likely to have a significant impact on the
environment anywhere in the world’ (EPBC Act 1999, section 160,
chapter 4, part 11, division 4, subdivision A). The EPBC Act does not
apply to an activity implemented prior to 16 July 2000 unless AusAID
proposes to enter into a new contract for implementing the activity
(for example, a contract amendment negotiated following redesign).
Box 1: Objectives of the EPBC Act
• To protect the environment
• To promote ecologically sustainable development
• To promote the conservation of biodiversity
• To cooperatively implement Australia’s international environmental
responsibilities
• To properly assess and address activities likely to have significant
impacts on the environment
Definition of ecologically sustainable development
Ecologically sustainable development is a key objective of the EPBC Act
(see box 1) and is consistent with the aim of the Australian aid program.
The principles of ecologically sustainable development, as described in
the EPBC Act (box 2), are synonymous with the internationally agreed
concept of environmentally sustainable development.
AusAID • Environmental Management Guide for Australia’s Aid Program 2003 7
Understanding policy and legal setting > STEP 1
AusAID has legal
obligations under the
EPBC Act.
The link between
development and the
environment provides
the foundation for
managing the
environment in the
aid context.
Box 2: Principles of ecologically sustainable development
(section 3A of the EPBC Act)
• Decision-making processes should effectively integrate both long-
term and short-term economic, environmental, social and equity
considerations.
• If there are threats of serious or irreversible environmental damage,
the lack of full scientific certainty should not be used as a reason
for postponing measures to prevent environmental degradation
(the ‘precautionary principle’).
• The present generation should ensure that the health, diversity and
productivity of the environment are maintained or enhanced for the
benefit of future generations (the principle of ‘intergenerational equity’).
• The conservation of biological diversity and ecological integrity
should be a fundamental consideration in decision-making.
• Improved valuation, pricing and incentive mechanisms for the
protection and sustainable use of biological and physical resources
should be promoted.
Definition of the environment
The EPBC Act’s definition of the environment (box 3) recognises that
biological and physical surroundings cannot be considered in isolation
from people and their interactions with their surroundings. This is
consistent with AusAID’s view of the environment as a crosscutting
development issue.
This guide focuses principally on activities affecting elements a, b and c.
of the definition (box 3) because AusAID has parallel systems and
procedures for assessing social, cultural and economic impacts of
activities, which are described in AusGUIDE.
Box 3: The environment defined
The EPBC Act defines the environment as:
a) ecosystems and their constituent parts, including people and
communities
b) natural and physical resources
c) the qualities and characteristics of locations, places and areas, and
d) the social, economic and cultural aspects of a thing mentioned in a,
b or c.
8 AusAID • Environmental Management Guide for Australia’s Aid Program 2003
STEP 1 > Understanding policy and legal setting
Environmental impacts
An environmental impact is any direct or indirect change to the
environment, whether negative or positive, wholly or partly resulting
from an activity (Standards Australia/Standards New Zealand 1996).
Environmental impacts are described further in box 4.
Environmental impacts may involve ‘cumulative’ or ‘combined’ changes
to the environment. These can result from multiple activities or a
sequence of activities or stresses in an area or sector.
Significant environmental impacts under the EPBC Act
For the purposes of the EPBC Act, and in the special case of the
Australian aid program, the Minister for the Environment and Heritage
has agreed that a ‘significant environmental impact’ refers only to a
significant negative environmental impact. This means that in
determining whether it is necessary to refer an activity, negative
environmental impacts must be considered in isolation from any net
or overall benefit of the activity (see ‘Referring environmentally
significant activities’ in EMS step 2).
Box 4: Environmental impacts defined
A direct impact is a change (physical, chemical or biological) to the
environment because of the activity (eg building a road, constructing an
irrigation canal, establishing a waste-water system, protecting natural
resources, or introducing a plant or animal species).
An indirect impact is where there is an expectation that the changes in
policy or behaviour flowing from the activity will affect the environment
in the future or ‘downstream’ (eg designing a road system, funding land
titling, providing environmental education, or strengthening an
institution in the natural resource sector).
A positive impact is a beneficial environmental outcome, such as increased
biodiversity, or better health as a result of a cleaned water supply.
A negative impact is an adverse environmental outcome, such as a
contaminated water table from sewage systems, erosion from poorly
planned infrastructure activities, or decimation of existing vegetation
through the introduction of livestock. Such outcomes can sometimes be
irreversible and have a chain of impact on poverty such as poor health
or a reduction in livelihood potential.
AusAID • Environmental Management Guide for Australia’s Aid Program 2003 9
Understanding policy and legal setting > STEP 1
Environmental
impacts can be direct
or indirect, and
positive or negative.
All environmental
impacts should be
identified.
AusAID activities need
to be referred to the
Minister only when
they could result in
significant negative
environmental impacts.
Complying with the EPBC Act and delivering quality aid
To comply with the EPBC Act and deliver quality aid, AusAID must ensure
that all activities likely to have environmental impacts are properly
assessed and managed (EMS step 2). This is AusAID’s environmental
management objective.
In undertaking assessment and management, all types of environmental
impacts – positive, negative, direct and indirect – must be considered. To
identify such impacts, an initial environmental assessment (sometimes
referred to as ‘environmental screening’) must be undertaken for all aid
activities (see EMS step 2). This initial environmental assessment should
be undertaken early in the activity cycle – during project (activity)
identification and initial assessment but no later than the early stages of
project (activity) preparation – to inform decision-makers about the
necessity and method of further assessment and management.
Under section 516A of the EPBC Act, AusAID is required to report
annually on its environmental performance and contribution to
ecologically sustainable development.
Partner government legislation
Almost all partner governments will have environmental legislation,
regulations, standards and/or policies. It is essential that all aid activities
comply with both Australian environmental legislation and partner
government legislation. Information on partner government requirements
can be obtained by consulting counterpart environmental agencies
during activity preparation. AusAID’s environment adviser can also
provide advice on such requirements. In addition, directories such as
A Directory of Impact Assessment Guidelines (Donnelly, Dalal-Clayton and
Hughes 1998) are useful for finding out a country’s environmental
legislative and administrative requirements. Even if Australia’s legislation
is more stringent than a partner government’s, any special requirements
should be confirmed.
10 AusAID • Environmental Management Guide for Australia’s Aid Program 2003
STEP 1 > Understanding policy and legal setting
The requirements of
partner government
environmental
legislation need to be
identified and
addressed in AusAID
activities.
Multilateral environment agreements
The Australian Government is signatory to many multilateral
environment agreements (such as conventions and protocols). Those
most relevant to Australia’s aid program are listed in guideline 2 in
part 2 of this guide.
Most multilateral environment agreements do not place restrictions on
overseas aid activities. An exception is the Basel Convention on the
Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their
Disposal and its regional subsidiary agreements, which for the Pacific is
the Waigani convention. Activities that involve the international
movement of hazardous wastes must comply with the provisions of the
Basel (or subsidiary regional) convention. The importation of hazardous
waste into Australia is considered environmentally significant and
requires referral to the Minister for the Environment and Heritage for
advice (see ‘Referring environmentally significant activities’ in EMS
step 2).
AusAID must report regularly on Australia’s assistance to developing
countries in implementing their obligations under multilateral
environment agreements. The activity coding systems that enable AusAID
to report on this assistance are described further in AusGUIDE.
AusAID • Environmental Management Guide for Australia’s Aid Program 2003 11
Understanding policy and legal setting > STEP 1
As a signatory to
various multilateral
environment
agreements, Australia
is obliged to identify
those agreements
that are relevant to
its aid activities for
reporting purposes.
AusAID • Environmental Management Guide for Australia’s Aid Program 2003 13
EMS step 2
Environmental assessment
and management planning
Australia’s aid program delivers aid in a variety of ways ranging from
well-defined activities to flexible activities. Environmental assessment
and management planning must take account of these differences
without compromising AusAID’s legal and policy obligations or imposing
an unnecessary administrative burden.
AusAID provides funding to indigenous and Australian NGOs through
various mechanisms for development, humanitarian relief and
rehabilitation activities. Since the NGO funding arrangements and needs
for guidance differ from those of AusAID, specific NGO guidance has
been produced in guideline 6 in part 2 of this guide.
Steps in environmental assessment and
management planning
Environmental assessment and management planning is most effective if
it commences early in the activity cycle and is conducted iteratively
during activity preparation. The steps in environmental assessment and
management planning are:
> strategic environmental assessment (SEA)
> initial environmental assessment
> environmental impact assessment (EIA), and
> environmental management plan (EMP) preparation.
When undertaking the assessments and management planning for an
activity (or program of activities) it is important that the EIA and EMP
are proportionate to the potential size of potential environmental
impacts. Examples are provided in guideline 4 and guideline 5 in part 2
of this guide.
Strategic environmental assessment
A strategic environmental assessment is one tool for taking
environmental issues into account in policies, strategies and program
planning. It aims to identify the range of environmental impacts and
environmental management issues that could result from interventions
in a country, region or sector. In general an SEA should inform decision-
makers, facilitate design of environmentally sustainable policies, plans
and programs, consider the range and cumulative impacts of proposed
development strategies, and strengthen and streamline the EIA process.
An SEA should be used when program areas are formulating country
strategies as well as policies, programs, plans, and regional or sector
strategies. It should be undertaken as early as possible in the formulation
process and considered as an integral component of any poverty analysis.
An SEA involves assessing broad environmental issues to improve the
quality and efficiency of subsequent environmental assessments and can
help to identify environment–poverty links at the regional, country or
program level.
AusAID’s environment adviser can provide advice on how to conduct SEAs.
Initial environmental assessment
All proposed aid activities must be screened to identify environmental
issues and potential environmental impacts. This initial environmental
assessment is fundamental to ensuring that AusAID can comply with the
EPBC Act.
An initial environmental assessment should occur during activity
identification and initial assessment and no later than the preliminary
stage of activity preparation. The initial environmental assessment
involves answering environmental marker questions (box 5) and,
depending on the answers, taking further action (as outlined in
‘Actions relating to responses to environmental marker questions’). The
environmental marker questions are contained in a check sheet that is
14 AusAID • Environmental Management Guide for Australia’s Aid Program 2003
STEP 2 > Environmental assessment and management planning
An SEA should be
used when country
strategies, as well as
policies, programs,
plans, and regional or
sector strategies, are
being formulated.
An initial
environmental
assessment must be
undertaken for all
aid activities.
automatically generated from AusAID’s central database for new
activities. The check sheet system is described in detail in AusGUIDE.
For quality assurance purposes, the answers to all check sheet
environmental marker questions are checked by AusAID’s environment
staff. When questions are found to be answered incorrectly, the activity
manager is notified through the check sheet system and is required to
take further action as advised.
Box 5: Environmental marker questions
Q1 Is the activity in an environmentally sensitive location or sector?
Q2 Is there potential for the activity to have an impact on the
environment?
Q3 Is the explicit, or implicit, aim of the activity to have a positive
environmental impact?
Q4 Is the activity relevant to multilateral environment agreements?
Q5 Could the activity have significant negative environmental impacts?
Environmental marker questions
Part 2 of this guide provides guidance on answering environmental
marker questions. Guidance on answering questions 1, 2 and 3 is in
guideline 3. It lists environmentally sensitive locations and sectors and
issues to consider when determining environmental impacts.
If any potential environmental impacts are identified, irrespective of the
type of impact, the answer to question 2 is ‘Yes’. Environmental impacts
can be direct or indirect, and positive or negative, and include
cumulative impacts (see ‘Environmental impacts’ in EMS step 1).
To answer question 3 the activity manager must decide whether the
environment is a specific objective of the activity and assign the
appropriate environmental primary and secondary DAC codes to the
activity. This will enable AusAID to meet its reporting obligations as well
as help AusAID’s environment staff to identify and analyse the agency’s
portfolio of environmentally beneficial activities. AusAID activity
managers can find a full description of DAC and generic field codes in
AusAID’s activity management system handbook. The activity
management system is described in AusGUIDE.
AusAID • Environmental Management Guide for Australia’s Aid Program 2003 15
Environmental assessment and management planning > STEP 2
Completing a check
sheet, which includes
the environmental
marker questions, is
AusAID’s minimum
requirement for an
initial environmental
assessment. It provides
a formal record that
initial environmental
assessment has
occurred.
Guidance on answering question 4 can be found in guideline 2. The
response to question 4 enables AusAID to monitor its support to partners
implementing multilateral environment agreements and to carry out its
international reporting requirements. The descriptive generic field codes
mentioned above enable AusAID activity managers to link particular
multilateral environment agreements and conventions (eg the
Convention on Biological Diversity, Rio de Janeiro, 1992) to aid activities.
Activity managers will be helped to respond to question 5 by guideline 3
and guideline 4. Their responses are used to facilitate compliance with
the EPBC Act.
Activity managers are encouraged to answer questions 4 and 5 to the
best of their abilities. However, if they have difficulties, they can seek
assistance from AusAID’s environment staff to ensure that these
questions are answered accurately.
Activity managers can improve the quality and effectiveness of initial
environmental assessments by tasking activity identification and/or
prefeasibility teams to undertake or elaborate on the assessments. The
environmental assessment and management report outlined for NGOs in
guideline 6 in part 2 of this guide provides an example of the
environmental information that can be included in a prefeasibility
study report.
Peer review teams should assist activity managers to identify
environmental issues that can be fed into the initial environmental
assessment process.
Box 6 summarises the action required for four possible response
scenarios.
Actions relating to responses to environmental
marker questions
Response scenario 1
If after checking by AusAID’s environment staff, the answers to all
environmental marker questions are ‘No’, no further action is required.
However, the activity manager and all individuals involved in activity
preparation, implementation, management and monitoring should be
vigilant for any unexpected issues or changes to the scope of the activity
that could lead to environmental impacts. Monitoring for unexpected
environmental impacts should be a routine part of an activity’s overall
16 AusAID • Environmental Management Guide for Australia’s Aid Program 2003
STEP 2 > Environmental assessment and management planning
Responses to marker
question 5 are used
to facilitate
compliance with the
EPBC Act.
If the answers to all
environmental marker
questions are ‘No’, no
further action is
required. However,
monitoring for
unexpected
environmental impacts
should be incorporated
into the activity’s
monitoring and
evaluation process.
monitoring and reporting process. Guideline 3 and guideline 4 provide
guidance on the types of environmental impact that could be
encountered. AusAID’s environment staff can assist with issues that are
brought to their attention.
AusAID • Environmental Management Guide for Australia’s Aid Program 2003 17
Environmental assessment and management planning > STEP 2
Box 6: Response scenarios when answering environmental marker questions
Question Scenario 1 Scenario 2 Scenario 3 Scenario 4
1 No Yes Yes Yes
2 No No Yes Yes
3 No No Yes or No Yes or No
4 No No Yes or No Yes or No
5 No No No Yes
No further action is
required. Activity
manager ensures
monitoring for
unexpected
environmental
impacts is
incorporated into
activity’s monitoring
and evaluation
process.
Activity manager
ensures feasibility
and design team
reassesses potential
environmental
impacts. If impacts
are identified, refer to
response 3. If no
impacts are
identified, refer to
response 1.
Activity manager
ensures that:
environmental
expertise is included
in feasibility and
design team; team is
adequately briefed on
AusAID’s legal and
policy obligations
prior to departure;
team undertakes the
EIA and develops the
EMP; and EIA reports
and EMP, or EMP
specifications, are
included in design
document.
Activity may require
referral to Minister
for the Environment
and Heritage. Activity
manager seeks advice
from AusAID’s
environment adviser
or other
environmental expert,
and ensures AusAID’s
EPBC Act referrals
information form is
completed.
Response scenario 2
If after checking by AusAID’s environment staff, the answer to
environmental marker question 1 is ‘Yes’ and the answers to all other
environmental marker questions are ‘No’, the activity manager must
ensure that the prefeasibility and/or feasibility and design teams check
that potential environmental impacts have not been overlooked during
the initial environmental assessment. This should be specified in the
terms of reference for these teams. If it is confirmed that there are no
potential environmental impacts, no further action is required (as
described for response scenario 1). If potential environmental impacts
are identified, the action required is as described for scenarios 3 or 4.
Response scenario 3
If after checking by AusAID’s environment staff, the answers to
environmental marker questions 1 and 2 are ‘Yes’, the answers to
questions 3 and 4 are ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ and the answer to question 5 is ‘No’,
further action will be required during activity preparation. The feasibility
and design team must:
> undertake an environmental impact assessment (described below)
and include an EIA report in the project design document (PDD), and
> develop an environmental management plan (described below) to
be included in the PDD.
In the case of flexible activities, where not all specific subactivities are
identified or parts of the activities remain undefined until
implementation, the PDD must include a requirement for a program-level
EMS (see ‘Flexible activities’ below).
Response scenario 4
If after checking by AusAID’s environment staff, the answer to
environmental marker question 5 is ‘Yes’, the activity will require special
attention during preparation and implementation. This is because the
activity may need to be referred to the Minister for the Environment and
Heritage for advice (see ‘Referring environmentally significant activities’
below). The activity manager must:
> seek advice from AusAID’s environment adviser or an equivalent
environmental expert on the terms of reference for environmental
impact assessment and management planning in subsequent activity
preparation steps, and
18 AusAID • Environmental Management Guide for Australia’s Aid Program 2003
STEP 2 > Environmental assessment and management planning
If the answer to
environmental marker
question 1 is ‘Yes’ and
the answers to
questions 2–5 are
‘No’, the feasibility
and design team must
confirm potential
environmental
impacts have not
been overlooked.
If the answers to
environmental marker
questions 1 and 2 are
‘Yes’, conduct an EIA
and develop an EMP.
The EIA should be
completed by an
environmental expert
during the design
mission.
If the answer to
environmental marker
question 5 is ‘Yes’, the
activity will require
special attention
during preparation
and implementation.
> ensure that the activity design team completes AusAID’s EPBC Act
referrals information form (EPBC Act form) (see part 2 of this guide).
The EPBC Act form, adapted from Environment Australia’s EPBC Act referral
form, can be completed most easily when the feasibility and design team is
in country. The completed form should be appended to the PDD.
Environmental impact assessment
Environmental impact assessment identifies, predicts and evaluates
foreseeable environmental impacts. An EIA is undertaken in country by
the feasibility and design team that includes members with appropriate
environmental skills. AusAID’s environment staff can advise on what
constitutes ‘appropriate environmental skills’.
The terms of reference for the design mission must specify the requirement
to conduct an EIA, including a thorough investigation of any environmental
issues identified during the initial environmental assessment.
An EIA should involve all relevant stakeholders including the affected
community and partner government, the national environment agency
and/or the local environment agency. The participation of communities
that will be affected by a proposed development activity is an important
part of an EIA. It is especially important in the case of activities
involving the management of natural resources and is most effective if
initiated early in activity preparation.
EIA results should be incorporated into the PDD, either in the problem
analysis or setting sections, or as a separate annex. Potential negative
environmental impacts, and non-achievement of intended positive
environmental impacts, should be addressed in the risk matrix of the PDD.
Guideline 4 in part 2 of this guide contains an example EIA checklist for
infrastructure activities, as well as references and links to other useful
documents containing checklists for other sectors.
Environmental management plans
Environmental management plans are the key vehicle for ensuring that
potential environmental impacts are managed during implementation to
avoid or minimise negative impacts and maximise positive impacts.
AusAID • Environmental Management Guide for Australia’s Aid Program 2003 19
Environmental assessment and management planning > STEP 2
All environmental
assessment stages
should consider
design alternatives
that avoid potential
negative
environmental
impacts, rather than
focus solely on impact
minimisation through
management.
An EIA must be
followed by
preparation of an
EMP so that
identified impacts
can be managed
effectively during
implementation.
An EMP addresses the potential environmental impacts of an activity
identified during EIA and describes actions for managing (ie avoiding or
mitigating) each identified impact and who is responsible for carrying
out those actions. As for an EIA, an EMP should be developed with all
relevant stakeholders involved.
An EMP must also describe how its implementation and effectiveness
will be monitored and reported on. This is to ensure that the impacts are
properly managed and to enable early detection and response to any
unexpected environmental impacts or emergencies. Outcomes of EMP
implementation feed into the continuous improvement process of
AusAID’s EMS (see EMS step 5).
To facilitate monitoring and reporting, an EMP should include
appropriate indicators of effective environmental management. The
indicators used in the EMP should be included in the activity’s
monitoring and evaluation plan (described further in AusGUIDE), and
could be included as quality indicators in its logframe.
An EMP can be documented in a separate section in or as an annex to the
PDD but it is most effective when integrated with the activity’s overall
key management systems, including the logframe, risk management
framework, and monitoring and evaluation plan. EMP requirements must
also be included in a contract’s scope of services (SOS).
The main steps involved in developing an EMP can be found in
guideline 5 in part 2 of this guide. A simple table (box 7) can satisfy
the requirements of an EMP.
20 AusAID • Environmental Management Guide for Australia’s Aid Program 2003
STEP 2 > Environmental assessment and management planning
Box 7: Sample environmental management plan
Ref. Issue Objective Management Responsibility Performance Target
no.strategy indicator date
1 Water quality To reduce impact Use sediment trap.Water engineer Water quality
of construction
2 Litter To minimise gen- Minimise use of Team leader Waste disposed
eration of waste synthetic materials.
3 …
EMPs should include
potential impacts,
management
strategies and
appropriate
environmental
monitoring indicators.
Appraisal of environmental assessment and
management planning
If the initial environmental assessment identified potential
environmental impacts there must be independent appraisal of the
environmental assessment and management planning aspects of the
activity’s design document. This appraisal, undertaken by AusAID’s
environment adviser or a qualified environment expert, is important as
the design document is normally AusAID’s last chance to ensure that the
EMP is adequate to meet AusAID’s legal and policy obligations, and to
ensure the quality of design.
An important task of the appraiser is to evaluate the potential for the
activity to have significant negative environmental impacts and
recommend to AusAID whether it should be referred to the Minister for
the Environment and Heritage for advice in accordance with the EPBC
Act. Guideline 3 in part 2 of this guide provides examples of the issues
to consider when determining environmental significance.
Referring environmentally significant activities
Based on the recommendation of the environmental appraiser or other
relevant considerations, AusAID has the legal responsibility of deciding
which activities require referral to the Minister for the Environment and
Heritage for advice. Under the EPBC Act the Minister can also require
AusAID to refer any proposed activity believed to have a potentially
significant negative impact on the environment.
If AusAID considers that an activity (or any subactivity) has or could
have a significant negative environmental impact (ie the activity is
environmentally significant), AusAID’s environment staff will follow the
procedures described in the administrative agreement signed between
AusAID and the Department of the Environment and Heritage in October
2000. The agreement outlines the procedures for referring activities to
the Minister for the Environment and Heritage, a mechanism for AusAID
to consult informally with Environment Australia, and the conduct of
assessments and provision of advice by the Minister to AusAID.
The information provided in AusAID’s EPBC Act referrals information
form (see part 2 of this guide) can be used to submit referrals to the
Minister for the Environment and Heritage and in those cases where
AusAID initiates informal consultation with Environment Australia.
AusAID • Environmental Management Guide for Australia’s Aid Program 2003 21
Environmental assessment and management planning > STEP 2
The design appraisal
is the last chance to
ensure the EMP is
adequate for meeting
AusAID’s legal and
policy obligations.
AusAID has the legal
responsibility of
deciding which
activities require
referral to the
Minister for the
Environment and
Heritage for advice.
Environment Australia may request further information to assess the
proposed activity; the information available in the PDD will normally be
sufficient for this. AusAID’s environment staff coordinate the process of
referral and consultation with Environment Australia.
Referrals to the Minister for the Environment and Heritage involve
mandatory statutory processes, which may require several months to
complete. It is therefore important to identify environmental significance
early so that the referral can run in parallel with other activity
preparation processes.
Flexible activities
As discussed above, for those activities that are well defined at the
design stage and have potential environmental impacts, an EIA and an
EMP must be included in the design document. For flexible activities (see
box 8) where not all subactivities are identified or parts of the activities
remain undefined until implementation, the principles and processes of
environmental assessment and management planning remain the same,
but are carried out in the design stages of subactivities.
Prior to implementation of a flexible activity, an EIA should be conducted
and an EMP prepared for those parts of the flexible activity that are
defined and that have been determined to have potential environmental
impacts. For those parts of the flexible activity that are undefined a
commitment to undertake environmental assessment and management
planning must be included in the design document (and in the TOR in
the contract’s SOS). In all cases this will require the design document to
either include a program-level EMS or specify criteria for it to be
developed in the initial phase of implementation.
Box 8: Flexible activities
Depending on programming needs, any aid activity can be designed to
be partly or entirely flexible. Flexible activities can include bilateral
projects and programs, regional projects and programs, sectorwide
approaches, facilities, activities (projects and programs) of Australian
NGOs, local NGOs or community-based organisations, Small Activity
Schemes, activities with rolling programs, design and implement
activities, and some relief, rehabilitation and humanitarian activities.
22 AusAID • Environmental Management Guide for Australia’s Aid Program 2003
STEP 2 > Environmental assessment and management planning
Program-level EMS
A program-level EMS should contain similar elements to AusAID’s EMS,
which is modelled on the international standard. An example of a
program-level EMS can be found in the World Bank’s Environmental
Assessment Sourcebook Update (World Bank 1999). AusAID’s
environment adviser or environment staff can also provide advice and
assistance if required.
A program-level EMS can be developed either in the design phase of a
flexible activity or during the initial phase of implementation. The latter
approach offers greater scope for counterpart involvement, thereby
enabling the program-level EMS to be tailored to the specific
circumstances of the activity.
A program-level EMS must describe the procedures and responsibilities
associated with each element of the system. More specifically it will
describe the process and responsibilities associated with environmental
assessment and management planning for all subactivities in the
flexible activity. The EMS will describe how these responsibilities will be
transferred to development partners as the program moves towards
completion.
A specific checklist for assessing subactivities may be developed as part
of the program-level EMS, or a generic or other sector-specific checklist
can be used. Guidelines 3, 4 and 5 in part 2 of this guide can assist with
developing this type of checklist.
A program-level EMS must contain procedures for environmental
monitoring at the program level, as well as for monitoring EMPs at the
subactivity level. This is to ensure that the EMS is implemented
effectively, and to enable early detection and response to any
unexpected environmental impact.
Appraisal of a program-level EMS
Appraisal of the EMS by a suitably qualified specialist is critical to
ensure that it is adequate to meet AusAID’s legal and policy obligations.
The appraisal helps to determine whether the flexible aid activity or any
of its subactivities require referral to the Minister for the Environment
and Heritage for advice. If a subactivity could have significant negative
environmental impacts, it would need to be referred to the Minister for
advice while the remaining subactivities are being implemented.
AusAID • Environmental Management Guide for Australia’s Aid Program 2003 23
Environmental assessment and management planning > STEP 2
A program-level EMS
provides a framework
for assessing, managing
and monitoring
environmental impacts
of subactivities.
The environmental
marker questions
should be asked
during the
development of each
subactivity.
Program subactivities
that could have
significant negative
environmental
impacts need to be
referred to the
Minister for the
Environment and
Heritage for advice.
International organisations
AusAID channels funding through international organisations such as
UN organisations, multilateral development banks, and international
humanitarian agencies. AusAID relies on the environmental management
systems of these organisations to ensure that the environment is
adequately assessed and managed. AusAID monitors the relevance,
effectiveness and efficiency of multilateral organisations through its
multilateral assessment framework. This process includes identifying
opportunities for strengthening their environmental performance. These
assessments are used as the basis for promoting reform through the
organisations’ governing bodies.
AusAID’s environment adviser and environment staff also take advantage
of other opportunities to support reform by, for example, contributing
written comments when an international organisation is reviewing or
revising its EMS.
AusAID’s humanitarian and emergency programs
Emergency activities provide immediate responses to acute needs.
Humanitarian activities deal with longer term relief and rehabilitation
issues. In both cases, AusAID generally provides assistance through
implementing agencies such as the United Nations High Commissioner
for Refugees, the International Committee of the Red Cross or relevant
NGOs. AusAID relies on the environmental management systems of
these organisations to ensure that the environment is adequately
assessed and managed. If, however, AusAID manages an emergency
response or a humanitarian activity directly (which is uncommon),
AusAID’s normal environmental assessment and management planning
procedures are applied.
24 AusAID • Environmental Management Guide for Australia’s Aid Program 2003
STEP 2 > Environmental assessment and management planning
AusAID • Environmental Management Guide for Australia’s Aid Program 2003 25
EMS step 3
Implementation
Step 3 of AusAID’s EMS involves the implementation of an activity’s
environmental assessment and management requirements determined
during the design or early in implementation. As discussed in EMS step
2, if no environmental issues were identified during activity design or
when the EIA was undertaken, monitoring for unexpected environmental
impacts should be a part of the activity’s overall implementation,
management, monitoring and evaluation plan.
If potential environmental impacts were identified, an EIA will have been
conducted and an EMP or program-level EMS developed and included in
the design document and in the contract’s SOS. Alternatively, a
commitment to develop and implement an EMP or program-level EMS
during the early stages of implementation will have been included in the
design document and the contract’s SOS.
To ensure that AusAID fulfils its policy and legal obligations, during
implementation the activity manager and AusAID’s contractors, partners
and other involved parties are responsible for fulfilling the requirements
of AusAID’s EMS. That is, an activity’s EMP or a program-level EMS must
be implemented (or fully developed and implemented) during the early
stages of activity implementation.
During implementation of an activity, the responsibility of an AusAID
activity manager, whether in country or in Canberra, is to manage the
contract, including compliance by the managing contractor with
An activity’s EMP or a
program-level EMS
must be implemented
(or fully developed
and implemented)
during the early
stages of activity
implementation.
environmental provisions in the SOS. The responsibility of the managing
contractor or other agreed manager is to ensure that the environmental
provisions specified in the SOS are implemented. This means that the
responsibility of the managing contractor or other agreed manager is to
effectively implement the activity’s EMP or program-level EMS or, in
some cases, to develop and implement the EMP or EMS. Effective
implementation is discussed in EMS step 4.
Complying with all relevant environmental laws and regulations of the
partner country will always be included as part of the environmental
provisions in the SOS.
26 AusAID • Environmental Management Guide for Australia’s Aid Program 2003
STEP 3 > Implementation
AusAID • Environmental Management Guide for Australia’s Aid Program 2003 27
EMS step 4
Monitoring and evaluation
Environmental performance is assessed by monitoring and evaluating the
implementation of the environmental provisions in a contract’s SOS,
which normally includes an EMP or a program-level EMS. Monitoring
environmental performance and evaluating the environmental impacts of
activities assists AusAID to comply with its legal and policy obligations
throughout implementation and is an essential component of AusAID’s
EMS. Because of this, the monitoring and evaluation process should be
determined very early in an activity’s design, and should be incorporated
in the EMP. A set of performance indicators needs to be developed so
that environmental performance can be assessed.
The key role of the managing contractor or other agreed manager is to
assure AusAID that the EMP or program-level EMS was/is effectively
implemented. Since environmental monitoring is always an integral
component of an EMP or EMS, the managing contractor or other agreed
manager can identify, examine and address environmental issues and
impacts, including unexpected impacts, arising from the activity or
program throughout implementation. Monitoring the performance
indicators should be part of the monitoring plan and the achievements
reported to AusAID through the environmental reporting requirements as
specified in the contract’s SOS.
By monitoring the performance indicators, AusAID can assess how
environmental issues and impacts are managed. Firstly, it can determine
AusAID determines the
effectiveness of an
activity’s environmental
management plan or
program-level EMS by
monitoring
performance indicators
and evaluating how
environmental issues
and impacts, including
unexpected impacts
and issues, were
addressed.
28 AusAID • Environmental Management Guide for Australia’s Aid Program 2003
STEP 4 > Monitoring and evaluation
whether the EMP or EMS was implemented. Secondly, it can assess the
outcomes from any environmental issues addressed by the managing
contractor as a result of monitoring during implementation.
If the AusAID activity manager does not have the capacity or resources
to determine whether the managing contractor is complying with the
environmental provisions in the SOS, further environmental advice
should be sought. In such a case the activity manager should ensure that
a member of any monitoring or technical advisory group has
environmental expertise and can make such determinations.
Monitoring environmental performance –
responsibilities and capacity building
It is the responsibility of both the managing contractor and the activity
manager to monitor environmental performance.
During implementation this responsibility can be progressively handed
over from the managing contractor to the partner government or agency
as it gains capacity or becomes accredited to perform the monitoring
and evaluation function.
For those activities that include an EMP or program-level EMS, the
capacity of the partner government or agency to undertake the
monitoring function should be determined at the activity design stage. If
the partner government’s environmental authorities need training for
accrediting environmental managers or auditors to carry out this
function, this can be included in the activity’s design. It is an advantage
to include such capacity building during the life of an activity to
promote sustainability beyond completion of the activity.
Technical advisory groups and activity monitoring groups are used as
part of AusAID’s normal monitoring process and their terms of reference
should include monitoring the EMP or program-level EMS.
Evaluating the effects of environmental
management – responsibilities and lessons learned
The effects of an activity’s environmental management should be
evaluated periodically by the contract manager or by external evaluation
groups. This evaluation must include assessing the effectiveness of the
EMP or program-level EMS and noting the responses to any unexpected
AusAID • Environmental Management Guide for Australia’s Aid Program 2003 29
Monitoring and evaluation > STEP 4
environmental impact. The longer term impacts of an activity’s
environmental management will be identified in post-activity
evaluations by AusAID or by partner governments, and can contribute to
the ‘lessons learned’ that guide continual improvement.
To maintain continual improvement, suitability and effectiveness of
AusAID’s EMS, AusAID’s Executive reviews the EMS periodically (see
EMS step 5).
AusAID • Environmental Management Guide for Australia’s Aid Program 2003 31
EMS step 5
Executive review
Periodically AusAID’s Executive reviews the agency’s EMS to ensure that
it continues to be suitable, adequate and effective. The review is
generally initiated following advice from the agency’s environment
staff on the findings of environmental performance assessments (see
EMS step 4), reviews and audits, changes in legislation or policy and
strategic priorities, and issues relating to continuous improvement.
For an Executive review, AusAID’s environment and audit staff collate
information from various sources including program areas and contract
services, any monitoring and evaluation results, program audits and
cluster evaluations. Such information and lessons learned during activity
and program implementation facilitate continuous improvement of
AusAID’s EMS and ensure the system remains effective and easy to use.
Other important sources of environmental management information that
may also be required for an Executive review include:
> key activity reports
> reports from activity monitoring groups and technical advisory groups
> reports from activity coordination meetings
> mid-term reviews
> activity monitoring briefs and NGO monitoring briefs
> activity completion reports
> ex-post evaluations
An Executive review
of the EMS ensures
its continuing
suitability, adequacy
and effectiveness.
> ex-post environmental reviews, and
> annual reporting requirements under the EPBC Act.
AusAID needs to take corrective action only if the environmental
provisions in an activity’s or program’s SOS have not been complied with.
This is the same for any other non-compliance issue associated with
delivering aid activities and programs. (See AusGUIDE for further
information on non-compliance.) Occasionally AusAID’s audit section
also checks that managing contractors, NGOs and other involved parties
have plans and systems for monitoring and managing identified
environmental issues and have complied with their contracts.
AusAID’s environment staff may periodically request information from
across relevant sections of AusAID when assisting the Executive to carry
out a review of AusAID’s EMS and to learn lessons for continual
improvement of AusAID’s EMS.
To facilitate continuous improvement of AusAID’s EMS, activity managers
should provide feedback and lessons learned from, for example, relevant
technical advisory group reports and activity completion reports to
AusAID’s environment staff.
32 AusAID • Environmental Management Guide for Australia’s Aid Program 2003
STEP 5 > Executive review
AusAID publications
Australian Aid: Investing in Growth, Stability and Prosperity: The Eleventh
Statement to Parliament on Australia’s Development Cooperation
Program, 2002.
Better Aid for a Better Future, 1997.
Reducing Poverty: The Central Integrating Factor of Australia’s Aid
Program, 2001.
Income Generation for the Rural Poor, 2000.
Country Environment Profiles (various).
Guide to Gender and Development, 1997.
Gender Guidelines Water Supply and Sanitation: Supplement to the Guide
to Gender and Development, 2000.
NGO Package of Information, 1997.
Other documents
Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, Strategic Environmental
Assessment (SEA): A Primer, Council for Scientific and Industrial
Research, Stellenbosch, South Africa, 1996 <http://aliens.csir.co.za/
www/sea/primer/primerc.htm>.
AusAID • Environmental Management Guide for Australia’s Aid Program 2003 33
Selected bibliography
Donnelly, A, Dalal-Clayton, B and Hughes, R, A Directory of Impact
Assessment Guidelines, 2nd edn, International Institute for
Environment and Development, Nottingham, 1998.
Environment Australia, Environment Protection and Biodiversity
Conservation Act 1999 Referral Form, <http://www.ea.gov.au/>.
Environment Australia, EPBC Act Administrative Guidelines on
Significance, July 2000, <http://www.ea.gov.au/>.
Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999, No. 91,
Commonwealth Government Printer, Australia, 1999.
Mincher, P and Zorat, C, Environmental Planning and Environmental
Impact Assessment: CD-ROM 1993–2000, International Institute for
Environment and Development, Nottingham, 2002.
Oxfam, Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards in Disaster
Response: The Sphere Project, 2000.
Standards Australia/Standards New Zealand, Australian/New Zealand
Standard AS/NZS ISO 14001:1996 Environmental Management
Systems – Specification with Guidance for Use, Published jointly by
Standards Australia, Homebush, and Standards New Zealand,
Wellington, 1996.
Sida (Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency),
Guidelines for Environmental Impact Assessments in International
Development Cooperation, Sida, Stockholm, 1998.
The Sphere Project, Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards in
Disaster Response, The Sphere Project, Geneva, 2000.
Therivel, R, Strategic Environmental Assessment, Earthscan Publication,
London, 1992.
UK Department for International Development, Environmental Guide,
DFID, London, 1999.
UK Department for International Development, Environmental
Sustainability and Eliminating Poverty: Strategies for Achieving the
International Development Targets, DFID, London, 2000.
UK Department for International Development, Guidance Manual on
Water Supply and Sanitation Programmes, WEDC, London, 1998.
34 AusAID • Environmental Management Guide for Australia’s Aid Program 2003
PART 1 > Selected bibliography
UK Department for International Development, EC (Directorate General
for Development European Commission), UNDP (United Nations
Development Programme) and World Bank, Linking Poverty Reduction
and Environmental Management Policy Challenges and Opportunities,
World Bank, Washington, DC, 2002.
Working Party on Development Co-operation and Environment,
Poverty–Environment Linkages (Note by the Secretariat),
Development Assistance Committee, Paris, 2001.
World Bank, Environmental Assessment Sourcebook, vols I, II and III,
World Bank Technical Papers Nos 139, 140 and 154, Washington,
DC, 1991.
World Bank, Environmental Assessment Sourcebook Update Number 24:
Environmental Assessment of Social Fund Projects, World Bank,
Washington, DC, 1999.
World Bank, World Development Report 2003: Sustainable Development
in a Dynamic World, World Bank, Washington, DC, 2002.
AusAID • Environmental Management Guide for Australia’s Aid Program 2003 35
Selected bibliography > PART 1
Part 2
Environmental
Management
Guidelines
Part 2 of Environmental Management Guide for Australia’s Aid Program
2003 contains guidelines that include checklists, procedures and
examples to help with integrating environmental issues in program and
sectoral policy, completing AusAID’s check sheet and identifying,
assessing and managing the environmental impacts of AusAID activities.
It also includes the EPBC Act referrals information form.
This part of the guide is designed to be a resource for AusAID staff,
contractors and NGOs involved in designing, implementing and
appraising Australian aid activities funded through AusAID. It should be
used in conjunction with part 1 ‘AusAID’s Environmental Management
System’, which describes the EMS, the roles and responsibilities of
AusAID staff, contractors and NGOs, and actions to be taken during all
stages of AusAID’s activity cycle.
The following guidelines are provided in part 2:
Guideline 1 Environment and poverty links
Guideline 2 Multilateral environment agreements
Guideline 3 Environmental marker questions 1, 2, 3 and 5
Guideline 4 Environmental impact assessment
Guideline 5 Environmental management plans
Guideline 6 Non-government organisations
AusAID • Environmental Management Guide for Australia’s Aid Program 2003 39
Introduction
The links between the environment and poverty are not simple. However,
an understanding of some of the ways that environmental issues affect
the poor can help in determining how aid can be used more effectively
to address poverty. The publication Linking Poverty Reduction and
Environmental Management Policy Challenges and Opportunities
(published by the World Bank in 2002) addresses this issue. It identifies
five key ways to ensure environmental management reduces poverty:
1.ensure sound and equitable management of biodiversity and
ecosystems
2.ensure access to safe water and sanitation
3.improve air quality and limit exposure to toxic chemicals
4.mitigate the effects of natural disasters and reduce resource-based
conflict, and
5.mitigate the effects of climate change.
The following table provides some examples of links between the
environment and poverty and includes possible aid responses.
AusAID • Environmental Management Guide for Australia’s Aid Program 2003 41
Guideline 1
Environment and poverty links
The poor rely disproportionately on
natural resources for their
livelihoods.
Unwillingness/inability to invest in
improvements in or to prevent land
degradation.
Further marginalisation of the poor
as best land is used for export
agriculture.
Overharvesting of small-scale
fisheries.
Provide user rights by enabling secure
access to resources through lease
arrangements.
Encourage local-level governments to
include land/resource users in
decision-making.
42 AusAID • Environmental Management Guide for Australia’s Aid Program 2003
GUIDELINE 1 > Environment and poverty links
Issue Impact Possible responses
Up to 20 per cent of the total
burden of disease in developing
countries may be associated with
environmental risk factors.
Lack of access to safe water and
sanitation.
Indoor air pollution from burning
dung/wood fuel, affecting the health
of women and children.
Outdoor pollution in industrialising
zones, affecting local health.
Pesticide/fertiliser poisoning, further
depleting soil fertility and affecting
health.
Increased exposure to vector-borne
diseases.
Encourage government and
communities to undertake total
catchment (surface and ground water)
assessments, and determine alternative
sources of drinking water.
Encourage industry and government
to adopt cleaner production
technologies.
Work with industry and communities
to build awareness of environmental
health.
Introduce locally appropriate
sanitation, hygiene awareness, and
treatment and safe storage of
hazardous substances.
Inadequate access to
natural resources
No rights/tenure to land