Environmental Impact Assessments
Since EIA’s became mandatory in Lesotho Sechaba Consultants has participated in a number of studies, focusing primarily on the social impacts. Below a sample of these studies is given.
Biology and Reserve Development of Phase 1B for LHDA (1995). In 1995 Sechaba Consultants in cooperation with AfriDev Consultants of South Africa carried out a baseline study which provided the status of the environment of the area (both natural and socio-economic and cultural) before development activities impacted the site. Interviews were conducted in 17 principal villages to be affected by the Phase 1B Mohale Dam. Through this survey deep insight was gained into the needs of the people in the area for biological and reserve development. Biological species (flora and fauna) with special reference to endangered and/or rare species and unique habitats in the total catchment were also collected. Monitoring and evaluation programmes have also been set up.
Establishment and Monitoring of the Instream Flow Requirements for River Courses Downstream of Lesotho Highland Water Project Dams; Socio-Economic Survey. This involved a sociological pilot study and socio-economic survey of the Instream Flow Requirements (IFR) for LHWP-affected rivers. The pilot study was conducted with the aim of establishing the corridor of villages affected by the reduced flows and the impounding of reservoirs. The next step was to determine the importance of flow-dependent natural resources affecting people either socially or economically. The aim of the socio-economic survey was to establish the precise population figures within the corridor and quantify the use of the riverine resources and services for specified time periods among the affected communities. This involved close collaboration with a multi-disciplinary team of about 20 professionals for the biophysical and social sciences.
Nien Hsing factory in Thetsane (2001). Sechaba carried out an Environmental Impact Assessments (to Project Brief level) for the establishment of this factory with Pulles, Howard de Lange (PHD, South Africa). Sechaba focus on the Social Impact Assessment and the public participation process. I&APs were identified, informed and consulted regarding the project and their views were incorporated into the Project Brief.
Project brief for proposed industrial estate establishment in Mohale’s Hoek, Butha Buthe and Mafeteng (2002). The Development Bank of Southern Africa funded this study where (PHD) and Sechaba assessed the environmental impacts of the industrial estates in the three towns of Butha-Buthe, Mafeteng and Mohale’s hoek. The industrial estates were to be established in these towns, and the survey would investigate the impacts on the lives of people and the environment. The three districts would later to be taken as models for the Ministry of Local Government with regard to future capacity building for district administration and town planning.
Project brief for Ministry of Health and Social Welfare Headquarters building (2003). This was Prepared by Melissa Moffet and Vusi Mashinini for the Ministry of Public Works and Transport: Building Designs Services. The objective of this project was to conduct an Environmental Impact Assessment together with Public Participation for the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare Headquarters building as stipulated in section 27 of the Environment Act 2001. Pulles Howard and De Lange in South Africa and Sechaba Consultants investigated the impacts on the biophysical and social environments of the project. Sechaba Consultants further carried out the public participation process where I&APs were identified, informed about the project and asked to participate in the decision making process.
Sectoral Environmental Assessment for the Transpot Sector Programme (2003). The Ministry of Public Works and Transport in Lesotho has developed a Transport Sector Programme (TSP) that analyses present policies and strategies of the Government of Lesotho, and proposes a realistic policy and strategy base for the Transport Sector. The Sectoral Environmental Assessment summarises the prevailing environmental situation in Lesotho, identifies the types of activities to be undertaken under the TSP and assesses the potential impacts, both positive and negative, of the proposed activities. The SEA also assesses in-country capacity, regulatory framework, principles and procedures that are established in Lesotho and identifies institutional and practical problems with the environmental monitoring capability of the agencies involved. Sechaba Consultants’ involvement was in developing the public participation tools/instruments to be used for that component of an SEA/EIA. The instruments were tested through field work, and analysis was done and a report written.
Kao Mine Development Social Impact Assessment (2004-2005). Sechaba Consultants were commissioned by the Lesotho Diamond Corporation to undertake a comprehensive social impact assessment of the proposed Kao mine, located upstream of Ha Lejone in the Lesotho Highlands. This entailed detailed investigations, through qualitative and quantitative methods, of the socio-economic status of all household in the area and of their views regarding the proposed development. As the project will entailed the resettlement of a small village (30 households) Sechaba Consultants had to handle the research in a sensitive manner and garner the confidence of local communities whilst facilitating an inclusive approach to the development of solutions. In addition to establishing a socio-economic baseline and developing a resettlement, mitigation and compensation plan (based on stakeholders’ inputs) Sechaba also advised on the legal and policy framework as there are many laws and regulations that have implications for a large scale mining operation. The project is on-going and Sechaba Consultants are currently assisting the developer with the finalisation of the Resettlement, Compensation and Mitigation Plan and further Environmental Impact Assessments.
Mauritania Mining Sector Reform (2005). Mr David Hall, a Sechaba director, is currently assisting the World Bank conduct a Poverty and Social Impact Assessment (PSIA) related to mining sector reform in Mauritania. He is responsible for guiding a consumer assessment (conducted by local consultants) that will shed light on the likely impacts relating to a transfer of ancillary services (water and electricity) from a mining company to some other entity. This entails developing a thorough understanding of the legal and policy frameworks of the water, electricity and mining sectors and of how these might impact on the proposed reforms.
EIA for the Thaba-Bosiu Cultural Village (2006). Sechaba Consultants as the lead consultant on this study has been managing the study. Besides project management Sechaba Consultants has been involved in the Public Participation process, the Social Impact Assessment and the writing up of the Environmental Impact Statement. Under the SIA, a household survey was undertaken where Sechaba Consultants developed the instruments. For the Public Participation process public notices were put in newspapers, a public gathering was held and focus groups were also conducted with different user groups.
Putting people first