Background. Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), also known as Environmental Assessment
(EA) or Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA), refers to a formal and systematic pro cess that includes identifying, predicting, evaluating, and mitigating the biophysical, social, and other
relevant effects of development proposals prior to major decisions being taken and commitments made
(IAIA, Principles of Environmental Impact Assessment, 1999). This globally-recognized process is
meant to ensure that proposed projects minimize and remedy harm, deliver benefits, and promote
sustainable development. The term “EIA“ is used here in lieu of other similar terms, which vary by
institution and in languages other than English.