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EIA profile

Updated to: 25 February 2015

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Background

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Country contact

Ministry of State for Environmental Affairs
Egyptian Environmental Affairs Agency
Address: 30 Misr Helwan El-Zyrae Road, Maadi, Cairo
Tel: (202) 5256452
Fax: (202) 5256490
Web site: www.eeaa.gov.eg
E-mail: eeaa@eeaa.gov.eg

History of ESIA

Environmental Impact Assessment was introduced with Egypt's Environmental Protection law in 1994. Since then, the EIA system has been continuously reviewed and refined. In 2002, EIA procedures have been updated and EIA lists and forms were issued.

The 1994 law was amended by resolution no. 1741 in 2005 and also by Law No. 9 of 2009.

Some provisions of the Executive Regulation of Law 4 were amended by Prime Minister's Decree No. 1741 of 2005.

Remark: The Executive Regulations of 2005 are only available in Arabic, their content could thus not be considered for this country profile. 

Law no. 4/1994  requires continuous improvement of the EIA system as it should be reviewed every 5 years.

Legal framework

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Framework/Enabling law

Law No. 9 of 2009

National detailed regulation for ESIA

Prime Minister's Decree No. 1741 of 2005

Guidelines

Guidelines for EIA were issued in 1994, by the EEAA. In 2009, the EEAA has issued the second edition of the General Guidelines of Principles and Procedures of EIA.

Moreover, sectoral EIA guidelines exist for:

  • Oil and Gas Sector;
  • Cement Manufacturing Plants;
  • Pharmaceutical Plants;
  • Land Reclamation Projects;
  • Assessment of Urban Development;
  • Development of Ports, Harbours and Marinas;
  • Municipal Waste Water Treatment Works; and
  • Industrial Estates Development

The guidelines can be accessed via the following link.

Scope of ESIA application

EIA is required for both governmental and private activities.

Institutional setting

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Central ESIA authority

The Egyptian Environmental Affairs Agency (EEAA) under the Ministry for Environment is the central authority on EIA. Main responsibilities of the EEAA is to set the requirements and criteria to undertake EIAs and to issue EIA guidelines. It is further responsible for the review of the EIA reports.

Other key (governmental) parties involved in ESIA, and their roles

While the EEAA supervises the application of the law, sectoral ministries and governing bodies are the competent administrative authorities for EIA. These Competent Administrative Authorities (CAA) have executive powers in the EIA process. They issue licences for project construction and operation. As EIA is considered to be one of the requirements for receiving licences, the CAA are invovled in the EIA process. They are involved in the initial screening according to lists. They also receive EIA documents, check the EIA documents concerning the location of the activity and forward them to the EEAA for review. The CAA are the main interface between the project proponent and the EIA system. The CAA also provide technical assistance to the proponents and ensure the approval of the project site. Annex 3 of the EIA guidelines provides examples for CAAs which include the following types of entities: Ministries, Governorates, entities, authorities and sectors.

Line ministries are also consulted where applicable. A permanent review committee  supports the review process. It consists of three experts that are nominated by the Chief Executive Officer of the EEAA. Public consultation is not a requirement, so public stakeholders are less prominent in EIA.

(De)centralisation of ESIA mandates

Manadate for EIA partially devolved to the sectoral ministries or agencies, referred to as Competent Administrative Authorities, who have executive powers for EIA. They receive the applications and take the decision on approval or rejection of the activity.

Payment system

No information

ESIA procedure - overview

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Screening

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Screening process

Screening is a legally required step. The Competent  Administrative Authority receives the application documents and officially notifies the proponent about the screening decision.

Screening directions are given in both the regulation and the EIA guidance. The Executive Regulations (Annex 2) contain a lists that identifies projects which must be subjected to an EIA based on:

type of activities performed (here the list refers to types of projects as identified by other laws such as the law on tourist establishment or the law concerning mines and quarries);
extent of natural resources exploitation, especially water, agricultural lands , and mineral wealth;
location; and
type of energy used to operate.
The guideline then separates the projects that are subject to EIA into three categories, each requiring a different level of EIA.  The categories are are based on the severity of possible environmental impacts and location of the establishment and its proximity to residential settlements:

Category A: projects with minimum environmental impacts.
Category B: projects with potential adverse  environmental impacts.
Category C: projects with have highly adverse environmental impacts.
Illustrative lists are prepared which show examples of projects for each category and criteria are given to determine to which category an activity shall be allocated. Furthermore, the guidelines provide for specific cases where another classification approach has to be followed. Such activities can be projects in environmentally sensitive areas, projects that are included in a development for which an integrated EIA has been prepared and expansion of existing facilities/projects. The three categories differ in the requirements of analysis and assessment.

The proponent submits a letter of intent to undertake the activity to the CAA. This application should be accompanied by Form A in case of Category A projects, Form B for Category B projects and a full EIA report in case of Category C projects.

The CAA send the application to the EEAA for review and advice on approval, and conditions for approval. For Category A and B projects, the screening decision can be combined with the project approval decision. Based on Form A, Category A projects may be approved with conditions or directed to follow the procedure for Category B (meaning that additional information is required). Category A can be rejected, but not on the basis of environmental reasons only. Category B projects may, after review of the information in Form B, be rejected, approved with conditions or requested to proceed with a full EIA ('scoped EIA study').

As Category C projects are required to submit a full EIA report at this early stage, screening is effectively done by the proponent. The CAA and EEAA then proceed to review the EIA report on its quality.

Sensitive areas

Annex 2 of the executive regulations of Law no. 4 makes provision for certain sensitive areas. EIA is required for activities:

  • located on the Nile banks, its branches and the main canals,
  • within tourist and monument areas,
  • within areas which are densely populated,
  • on sea shores, and lakes;  or
  • within the Natural Reserve Areas.

Matching these provisiosn with the lists in the guidelines for EIA shows that projects for hotel or resort facilities within these sensitive areas are listed within Category C.

Contents of the starting document

The application document (screening Form A) for Category A projects need to contain information on:

  • the location of the project;
  • description of the area where the project is proposed;
  • products and by-products, types of power supply, raw materials used and source of water (public, groundwater, surface water),  wastes resulting from the activity;
  • projects starting dates for construction and operation;
  • gaseous emissions, dust, temperature conditions and methods of control;
  • methods of protection and control of noise; and
  • description of any other mitigation measure.

For Category B projects (screening form B) require more information. In addition to the above:

  • a more detailed description of the area of the project, including   available infrastructure,
  • methods of discharge of waste; and
  • a preliminary analysis of environmental impact during operation and methods or mitigation, covering:
    a) impacts on the air quality
    b) impacts on quality and availability of water
    c) impacts on soil quality and fertility
    d) visiual impacts
    e) noise impacts
    f) other significant impacts 
    g) description of other measures
    h) measures undertaken to protect the health and safety of workers and fire prevention facilities.

Timeline Screening

The EEAA reviews the application within 60 days. There is however no information on the maximum number of days for the CAA to process the application documents to the EEAA and communiate the outcome of the screening.

Scoping

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Scoping process

The scoping requirements depend on type of project. 

The EEAA usually develops the ToR if a scoped EIA study is required (for Category B projects). For C-list projects, the Proponent conducts individual scoping based on sectoral guidelines. The ToR are then reviewed by EEAA.

Contents of the scoping document

The contents of the scoping document are depended on the ToR set by the compentent authority.

Timeline scoping

60 days

Assessment

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Assessment process

The Environment Law no. 4 (1994) contains no requirements on the assessment process. Law No. 9 of 2009 promulgates that the study shall be carried out according to the elements, designs, specifications, bases and pollutant loads as determined by the EEAA in coordination with the competent administrative bodies.

 The sector guidelines suggest consultants conducting the EIA study should collect the views of relevant government agencies, NGOs and the public. Assesment includes both social, environmental and economic effects of the proposed activity.

Contents of the EIA report

The EIA report should in accordance with the sectoral guidelines contain:

  • an executive summary;
  • policy , legal and administrative framework;
  • description of the proposed project;
  • description of the environment;
  • significant environmental impacts;
  • analysis of alternatives;
  • environmental management plan (incl. monitoring programm, description of mitigation measures);
  • publich consultation;
  • list of references;
  • appendices: list of environmental assessment prepares; records of attendees in public consultation meetings, agenda of public consultation meetings

Accreditation of consultants

Law No. 9 of 2009 makes provisions for the accreditation and registration for practitioners of environmental activities. It promulgates that a supreme committee shall be formed that is responsible for the accreditation.

Review

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Review process

The CAA or the licensing body receives the EIA report and registers it and checks whether the information included in the scoped EIA study complies with required information according to the ToR or in case of a black list project it checks if the information in the EIA is according to the relevant sector guidelines. Then, the EEAA evaluates the report. The EIA guidelines of 2009 indicate that the review is undertaken by the Central Department for EIA of the EEAA. The public can provide comments during the review process. Review criteria are issued for some sectors, including the oil and gas one.

Finally, the EEAA submits its advice to the CAA or the licensing authority and the CAA communicates the results of the review to the proponent through a registered letter.

Betey C.B. & Godfred E., 2013. Environmental Impact Assessment and Sustainable Development in Africa: A critical review. Environment and Natural Resources Research. Vol 3 No. 2, 37-51.

Review expertise

EEAA uses internal reviewers and independent consultants for the review process. The EIA guidelines specify that for the review of complete EIAs, EEAA can make use of technical expertise from the Egyption universities and research centres.

EIA guidelines of 2009

Timeline Review

The EEAA has 30 days to review the EIA report.

Decision making

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Integration of ESIA into decision-making

The final results of the review process done by EEAA can be the following:

  • Approval of the EIA study/form, while indicating the environmental requirements with which the project propnent should comply
  • Objection of the EIA and a recommendation to refuse the project. Reasons for objection usually are related to environmental impacts of the project and the maximum carrying capacity for pollution in the project area.
  • Further requests for the proponent

The EEAA gives thus, on the basis of the EIA report, recommendations to the competent authorities regarding whether the project should be approved or not. The law and the guidelines state that projects have to be subjected to EIA before a permit can be issued. An EIA approval is one of the requirements for issuing a project license.

The EEAA approves the EIA and makes recommendations to the Competent Administrative Authorities (CAA), which decide on the approval of a project. Moreover, a high committee decides on particular projects. 

The EEAA formulate conditions of the approval, with which the proponent has to comply with.

Law no 4. (1994) article 19 and EIA Guidelines (2009)

Decision justification

No information

Timeline decision-making

No information

Follow up

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Compliance monitoring

The proponent is advised keep a register to record the impact of the established activities (Environmental Record). However, a monitoring plan is not mandatory by law.

The generic EIA guidelines state that a mitigation plan and a monitoring programme should be developed as part of the EIA, and are submitted with the EIA study. The mitigation plan should propose measures and also provide information on all the costs and cost effectiveness of implementing these measures as well as considerations of compensation to effected parties for those impacts that cannot be mitigated. The plan includes measures for emergency response.

The EIA Guidelines further specify that CAA follows-up and ensures the implementation of the decision and related conditions. Before the CAA grant the operation license, they review the requirements that the facility should abide with through checking the EIA approval. Also a field visit is then undertaken to check the compliance with the requirements of the approval.

The EEAA is mandated to follow up entries in the register kept by the proponent to ensure that it conforms to the facts, to take samples as required and to conduct appropriate tests to determine the impact of the activities on the environment and the extent of its compliance with the conditions.

Law No. 9 of 2009
EIA guidelines of 2009

Non-compliance penalties

In case of violation the EEAA notifies the CAA to direct the owner of the establishment to rectify the violations. If the owner fails to comply within 60 days EEAA is entitled, in agreement with the CAA, to take legal and judicial procedures, such as halting the violating activity until compliance is ensured again.

Law No. 9 if 2009

Stakeholder engagement

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Public participation requirements for ESIA process stages

Public participation is not required in law no. 4 but the sector guidelines state that participation of local NGOs, and of those affected by the activity in the assessment is important. For example, the guidelines on urban development state that urban devleopment agencies shoul be consulted and that the outcome should be inlcuded in the EIA report.

Moreoever, the general guidelines state that the involvement of the public and concerned entities is mandatory for Category C projects during the EIA planning and implementation phases. According to the EIA guidelines, consultation has to be undertaken during the scoping phase and after the preparation of the draft EIA.

The EIA guidelines (2009) provide information on public participation arrangements and methodologies. Before the public participation process is started, a plan that indicates the methodology of public consultation should be formulated by the proponent. This plan is then discussed with EEAA.

During the scoping phase individual meetings with the concerned parties can be held of unified meetings. The stakeholder are then informed about the project and the aspects to be addressed in the study. Then the stakeholders discuss their opinion on the scope of the study. Results of individual meetings are summarized in a report, which is then discussed with EEAA to find an agreement on the final study content. In case of a unified meeting, an agreement on the study content is reached during the meeting.

Public participation during the review phase of the draft EIA report takes place as a hearing session which involves representatives of all concerned parties. The participants will receive an executive summary of the study 15 days before the session. During the meeting, the results of the study and the mitigation measures are presented. A discussion follows where objections can be made regarding the presented mitigation measures.

The EIA guidelines give some provisions on how public comments should be used in decision-making. The EIA report has a separate chapter on public participation. It should include the methodologies used, the analysis of the data, methodologies of the proponent to ensure the continuity of the consultation process during the construction and operation phases of the project and commitments of the project owner to improve the surrounding environment and support the neighbouring communities. Also documentation of the public meetings have to be attached to the EIA report.

The guidelines further specify that when EEAA is reviewing the EIA study, it should provide opinion on the extent that the supported objections have been addressed and if scientific response is needed from the proponent. Thus, the results of public participation ought to  influence the decision on the review process.

Timeline for public comments

Not specified

Access to information

It is not required by law no. 4 to publice the information on the EIA procedure nor to publish the outcomes of the EIA.

The EIA guidelines, however, state that a technical summary of the draft EIA report should be disclosed to all concerned parties, previously to the hearing session during the review process. Furthermore, the final EIA report is made available.

According to the EIA guidelines (2009), the final EIA report will be stored at EEAA's central library or the of the RBO of the projects region. Moreover, the executive summary of the final EIA report is available on the website of EEAA.

The EEAA decides on how to inform the concerned parties about the hearing session in the review phase. EEAA either informs about the meeting by an ad in a local newspaper or by invitations to the convened parties.

Appeal

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Possibilities for appeal

Appeal is open to the proponent on the decision taken by EEAA on the EIA. The proponent should make an objection within 30 days to the Permanent Review Committee. This commmittee consists of a representative form the EEAA, the proponent or attorney, a representative of the licensing body, three experts selected as members for three years. The proponent can appeal against the EIA decision and against the conditions of the licence.

Only the proponent has a right by the Law no. 4 to appeal.

Law no 4. (1994) and executive regulations of law no. 4

ESIA practice

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Annual no. of ESIAs

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Central ESIA database

The EEAA keeps a register of the applications, the EIA reports, forms, final results of the review process and measures that the project proponent has to take as required by EEAA.

EIA guidelines 2009, describing Article 12 of the Environmental Regulations.

Relevant links

  • Egyptian Environmental Affairs Agency (EEAA)
  • Egyptian Environmental Affairs Library