Engineering Seminar Series_6_2010: Responsible Development: Impact Assessment in an International Context

Colette Curran, Principal Consultant in ERM

Date: 2010-04-19
Time: 10:00 to 11:30
Venue: 9-3-07


Regulatory compliance such as meeting the requirements of the Malaysian Environmental Quality Act, is not the only reason why companies complete an EIA.  Developers and corporations around the world are also completing EIAs voluntarily, to manage corporate risks; and/or because their investors or other stakeholders require them to.  This 'external' drive to complete EIAs is becoming ever greater in an increasingly globalised world.  The scope of EIAs is also expanding to include emphasis on managing social and community, and public and occupational health impacts as well as the traditional environmental impacts resulting in terms such as Integrated Impact Assessments (IIAs) or Environmental, Social and Health Impact Assessments (ESHIA).  Through discussion of some case studies from countries like Laos, Singapore, Brunei, East Timor etc. I will go through the various reasons why companies are completing ESHIAs, who is setting the requirements / standards for international-standard ESHIAs, what international-standard ESHIAs require compared to Malaysian EIAs and what lessons we can learn to encourage 'responsible development'.  This includes a focus on involving the public / stakeholders early, integrating the various aspects of the assessment, ensuring there is a clear mechanism to deliver the commitments from the assessment, including the necessary capacity to do so.

About the Speaker

A Masters graduate from Cambridge University and Imperial College, London in the UK, Colette Curran has 12 years of professional experience in Europe, Asia and Africa, specializing in environmental, social and health impact assessment, capacity building and stakeholder engagement.  A consultant with Environmental Resources Management (ERM), Colette began her career assisting developing country governments (eg. environmental protection agencies) and international development agencies develop and implement policies, laws, procedures and plans for assessing and managing the environmental and social impacts of large infrastructure projects including roads, railways, ports and harbours, hydropower facilities, gas-fired power plants, oil and gas developments and natural resource projects such as production forestry and palm oil.  Since 2002 she has been based in Asia, initially in Vietnam and since 2005 in Malaysia where her work has focused increasingly on helping clients like Shell and Petronas in the oil and gas sector, petrochemicals and hydropower developments.  Colette is a registered EIA consultant with the Department of Environment, Malaysia specializing in social impact assessment, amongst other things.  Her work in this field has included field data collection surveys aimed at understanding the social, socio-economic and health characteristics of communities potentially affected by new developments; engaging with affected communities and other project stakeholders, developing resettlement action plans and social development plans associated with impact management and assisting clients with community investment, corporate social responsibility and ongoing stakeholder issue and communications management.