An evaluation of environmental impact assessment in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (UAE) is undergoing extremely rapid economic growth and experiencing a related increase in infrastructure and industrial development. If not managed properly, this growth can lead to significant impacts on the natural environment. Environmental impact assessment (EIA) practice in Abu Dhabi is approximately 10 years old. During the period, the number of EIAs conducted each year has increased considerably. This research activity evaluates the performance of the system as documented in legislation, relevant documents and current practices. The current system is compared with evaluation criteria from Christopher Wood. The analysis reveals that the Abu Dhabi process is strong in its legal basis, coverage, screening, scoping and review of the report. Areas that need improvement include better specification of alternatives in design, integration of EIAs into final decision-making, monitoring of the overall process, public consultation and ongoing impact monitoring. A discussion of public involvement and impact monitoring provides the context for potential future enhancements to strengthen the Abu Dhabi system.