Pakistan

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EIA profile

Updated to: 25 February 2015

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EIA background

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Country contact on EIA

Contact details for the country contact on EIA.

Pakistan Environmental Protection Agency
Director EIA and Monitoring
General PEPA Address: 44-E.
Office Tower, Blue Area Islamabad
Tel: +92-51-9267627
Email: pakepa@environment.gov.pk
Website: www.environment.gov.pk

Director(lab/NEQS)
Phone: 92-51-920-9251, Fax: 92-51-920-6343, Email: pakepa@isb.compol.cpm.pk (Q: or pakepa@isb.compol.com)

History of EIA

Brief description of the history of the EIA system in the country, including when it was introduced and any major milestones in its development.

EIA is a mandatory legal requirement in Pakistan. It started with the promulgation of Pakistan Environmental Protection Ordinance (PEPO) of 1983 (repealed in 1997). EIA became mandatory for all new projects, since 1st July 1994. Major events were the enactment of Pakistan Environmental Protection Act (PEPA), 1997 (Appendix-I) followed by IEE/EIA Regulations of 2000. These provide the legal basis for EIA in Pakistan until 2011.

In the period from 2011 until 2014, the EIA system in Pakistan is undergoing major changes. The so-called 18th amendment of the Pakistani constitution (2011) devolved certain responsibilities for environmental management to the regional level. The devolvement applies to EIA and SEA, and enables the provinces and independent regions in Pakistan to draft their own EIA and SEA regulation. In the scope of the National Impact Assessment Programme (see http://niap.pk/) a very detailed review of the Pakistan Environmental Protection Act of 1997 was undertaken in 2012, and a draft Act developed for the provinces to use as a template. In 2013 and 2014 the provinces are expected to pass bills in the respective provincial assemblies, enacting the provincial environmental law, after which detailed EIA rules will be developed and adopted per province.

ATTENTION: This country profile contains information on the EIA system in Pakistan from before 2011. It will be updated when the decentralization process is finalized.

Year of introduction of EIA legislation

NB: this field is only meant for the world map. It is a hidden cell that is not published on the website. If available, mention the year when detailed national EIA regulations were issued. If such regulations do not exist and if EIA practice is base

1983

Legal framework for EIA

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Year of introduction of enabling law

Year when the enabling law for EIA was issued

Pakistan Environmental Protection Ordinance, 1983. The Pakistan Environmental Protection Act (PEPA) (1997) replaced the Ordinance.

1983

Approving authority of enabling law

Authority that approved the enabling law for EIA.

Parliament.

Year of introduction of first national detailed regulation for EIA

Year when when the first national detailed regulation (procedural requirements) through which EIA was operationalized.

In 2000, EIA regulations were issued Pakistan Environmental Protection Agency. It firstly provided a procedural legal framework for IEE and EIA.

2000

Recent updates and additions to the EIA legislation

Revisions of the EIA provisions in the enabling law or the national detailed EIA regulation (procedural requirements) are named. The year is listed, and the main changes since the first regulation are mentioned, if available. Also, additional EIA-re

The Pakistan Environmental Protection Act (PEPA) (1997) replaced the Ordinance.

Guidelines

Any government issued guidelines on EIA (general, or sectoral) are listed here, as well as the authority that issued each. Describe the legal status of the guidelines.

EPA has issued a set of general guidance documents to complement the Act of 1997. These include: 

  • Policy and Procedures for the Filling, Review and Approvalof Environmental Assessments (1997);
  • Guidelines for sensitive and critical areas (1997);
  • Guidelines for preparation and review of Environmental Report (1997);
  • Guidelines for Public Consultation (1997)

The following sectoral guidelines are available: 

  • Major thermal Power Stations: Sectoral guidelines for Environmental Reports
  • Major Chemical & Manufacturing Plants: Sectoral guidelines for Environmental Reports;
  • Housing States & New Town Development: Sectoral guidelines for Environmental Reports;
  • Industrial States: Sectoral guidelines for Environmental Reports;
  • Major Roads Guidelines: Sectoral guidelines for Environmental Reports;
  • Sewage Schemes: Sectoral guidelines for Environmental Reports;
  • Oil & Gas Exploration and Production: Sectoral guidelines for Environmental Reports;
  • Wind Power Projects (Draft): Sectoral Guidelines for Environmental Reports
  • Guidelines using Tire Derived Fuel (TDF) in Pakistan Cement Industry
  • Guidelines using Refused Derived Fuel (RDF) in Pakistan Cement Industry

The Guidelines can be accessed on the following website of the Pakistani EPA: Environmental legislations and guidelines

Objective of EIA

The objective of EIA as stated in the above described legal basis.

Pollution control and promotion of sustainable development are named objectives of EIA in Pakistan.

Scope of EIA application

Describes which types of activities require EIA (public and/or private activities; national and/or foreign initiated project; or all such projects)

All projects,  public, private, national and international, as listed under the EPA (Review of IEE and EIA, 2000) require an EIA.

Institutional setting for EIA

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Central EIA authority

Is there a central authority in charge of implementing EIA? Is it independent or linked to a higher body (e.g ministry)? What are its tasks related to EIA?

The Federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has jurisdiction over all IEEs and EIAs. It can delegate power to provincial Environmental Protection Agencies. According to the governments guidelines, issued in 1997, EPA is responsible for all projects in federal region and in territories, military projects, and projects involving trans-border or trans-province effects.

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

Lists other key parties (e.g. a review commission, knowledge institute) that have a role in many or all EIAs.

Other governmental institutions involved include in review of IEE or EIAs include:

  • Committee of Officers; Assessment Officers and/or a Committee of Experts are consulted for their expert opinion;
  • An Environmental Assessment Advisory Commission: advises the Federal Government on guidelines, procedures and categorisation of projects. It consists of persons from the Federal Agency (the Director EIA), the Provincial Agencies, the Federal Planning Commission, the Provincial Planning and Development Departments and representatives of the industry, non-governmental organizations, legal and other experts;
  • Environmental Tribunals and Environmental Magistrates; receives complain on IEEs and EIAs;
  • The Environmental Federal Agency within the Federal Government; responsible for IEEs for private projects, and EIAs for both private and public projects;
  • The Department for Economic and Development Planning, within the Federal Government, has the responsibility over IEEs for public projects.

Mandate for exemption of EIA obligation

Describes if there is a legal mandate for a competent authority to make exemptions of EIA obligation. And if yes, under which conditions (e.g. national security, disasters or no conditions/when deemed necessary).

There is no express mandate for competent authority to exempt a project from EIA obligation.

(De)centralisation of EIA mandates

Describes if EIA mandates are (de)centralised. Vertical decentralization refers to the extent to which the responsibility for EIA processes are delegated by the central government to the provincial or local authorities. Sectoral or horizontal decen

Decision making is decentralised vertically. The Environmental Federal Agency within the Federal Government is responsible for IEEs for private projects, and EIAs for both private and public projects. The Department for Economic and Development Planning, within the Federal Government, has the responsibility over IEEs for public projects. The provincial authorities, responsible for all other projects. Within the provincial authorities, the Departments for Economic and Development Planning are responsible for the IEEs for public projects, while the EPAs and the EPD (Environmental Protection Departments) are responsible for the IEEs of private projects and EIAs for both private and public projects.

As further described in the category "History of EIA", the EIA system is currently getting strongly decentralized as each province is developing their own environmental law and thereafter their own EIA regulations.

EIA procedure

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Overview EIA procedure

Characterizes the overall EIA procedure. If relevant, interesting aspects of the EIA procedure are mentioned such as: which procedural steps are part of the EIA procedure? How are they linked to each other? Are there different levels of assessment di

The EIA procedure in Pakistan requires Screening, Scoping,  impact assessment and review processes. Thereafter, a decision on the EIA approval is taken and a follow-up on it conducted.

Important documents of the process are the following: Scoping report, IEE report , Environmental Report

Screening

Screening requirement and authority

Describes if a formal screening decision required, and if so, which authority is responsible for this decision. Is this decision published?

Screening is a required step and conducted by the EPA at federal level and by Provincial EPAs at provincial level.

Screening process

Describes the screening process: steps in screening, the stakeholders involved and outcomes of the process, status of screening advice of different stakeholders, etc. Also describes any prescribed methods for screening. If preliminary EIA's / light EIA's / Initial Environmental Evaluations (IEE) are done in this country and which criteria determine whether a preliminary or a full EIA is requested

In Pakistan, two levels of environmental assessment are distinguished: Initial Environmental Examination (IEE) and full EIA. Screening is based on both an preliminary IEE and positive lists (schedules) contained in the EIA Regulations, 2000. These schedules prescribe the groups of activities that require either an IEE or an EIA: 

  • Schedule I lists activities subject to IEE with maximum thresholds. Activities that exceed these thresholds are all listed in Schedule II, and are subject to EIA.
  • Schedule II also lists other activities, without minimum thresholds, that require EIA. EPA at Federal or provincial level may, if it deems appropriate, directly request a proponent of certain project to submit an IEE or EIA even if not listed in schedule II or I.

 The preparation of the IEE and the screening stage of an EIA are not open for other stakeholders apart from the proponent and the EPA.  Additionally, sectoral guidelines contain checklists of environmental parameters that can be used to aid screening decision.

Pakistan EPA (Review of IEE and EIA) regulations, 2000 (section 3., 4. and 5.)  article 5-1a)

Provision for sensitive areas

Are specific requirements formulated for environmentally sensitive areas? (e.g. no minimum thresholds, full EIA instead of partial EIA)

All activities within environmentally sensitive areas, as described in the 'Guidelines for sensitive and critical areas' (1997), require a full EIA. The guidelines advice on the procedure to be followed for projects which (might be) located in these areas. In these cases, the proponent is required to contact the Conservation Authority for advice.

Scoping

Scoping requirement

Is a formal scoping step required as part of the EIA process?

Scoping is a required step.

Scoping process

Describes who carries main responsibility to undertake scoping and what the roles and responsibilities of the involved parties during the process are. Specifically, is there independent formulation and/or review of the scoping document, approval of the scoping document? Are any methods prescribed, e.g. participation, checklists. What guidance is provided?

The proponent formulates the Terms of Reference; these do not have to be approved. The basis for determining the scope of the EIA derives from the sectoral guidelines, which includes a checklist on likely impacts and mitigation measures for several activities. The following steps for scoping are described in the guidelines:

  • Prepare an outline of the scope, with headings such as:
    a) objectives and description of the proposal,
    b) the context and setting of the proposal,
    c) constraints,
    d) alternatives,
    e) issues,
    f) public involvement, and
    g) timetable;
  • Develop the outline of the scope through discussion with key stakeholders;
  • Make outline and supporting information available to those whose views are to be obtained;
  • Identify the issues of concern;
  • Evaluate the concerns from both a technical and subjective perspective, seeking to assign a priority to important issues;
  • Amend the outline to incorporate the agreed suggestions; 
  • Develop a strategy for key issues;
  • Provide feedback on the way the comments have been incorporated.

Guidelines for the preparation and review of Environmental Reports, p.9

Contents of the scoping document

Explains if there are there specific requirements for the content of the scoping document, and if so, what these are.

The scoping document should contain:

  • objectives and description of the activity;
  • the context and setting of the activity;
  • constraints;
  • alternatives;
  • public involvement; 
  • timetable.

Assessment and reporting

Assessment process

Steps and roles of stakeholders in the assessment and status of the input of the stakeholders. Also sets out methods for assessment of the environmental impacts of the activity, if prescribed, and whether the assessment covers environmental, social, economic and/or transboundary effects.

Methods for assessment are not specified in the EIA regulations of 2000. The guidelines for preparation and review of environmental reports however, give a general procedure that include impact identification, baseline data collection, prediction, social, health as well as economic and fiscal impacts. Under the impact identification, the guidelines give some advantages and disadvantages of some methods of impact identification including: checklists, matrices, networks, overlays and GIS etc.  In case of an EIA, EPA is required under the EIA regulations to ensure public participation.

The Guidelines for the Preparation and Review of Environmental Report indicate that environmental, social, health and economic impacts shall be considered in the EIA report.

Contents of the EIA report

Explains what should be contained in the EIA report. Specifies if a potential Environmental Management Plan is part of the EIA report or if it is a separate document that contributes to the EIA process.

It is advised that an Environmental Report should contain:

  • Executive or non-technical summary;
  • Description of the objectives of the proposal;
  • description of the proposal and its alternatives;
  • discussion of the proposal and current land use and policies;
  • description of existing and expected conditions; 
  • evaluation of the impacts for each alternative; 
  • comparative evaluation of alternatives and identification of the preferred option;
  • environmental management plan, monitoring plan and proposed training;
  • appendices. For each impact the following aspects should be considered: nature; magnitude; timing; duration; reversibility and likelihood (risk).

A detailed EMP is usually not part of the Environmental Report, but rather a comprehensive outline of the structure of it with a summary of the management principles to be followed. For issues of high risk and uncertainty, details of management should be included in this outline.

Review

Review process

Overview of the review process, including: steps in the process and roles of the stakeholders, status of the input of the stakeholders. Is the process open to public? Review method: internal review, external review, panel/commission (permanent or temporary), are the review results documented? Are the review criteria general or case by case? Are the review results documented? Is a potential review

The EPA or the provincial EPA are responsible for the review process. The EPA is required to consult a Committee of Experts,  Sectoral Advisory Committee, other government agencies, NGOs and the affected public. Review criteria is on a case-by-case basis.

 It is advised that the criteria should consider:

  • The ToR; existing reviews of EIA reports;
  • studies and experiences of the actual impacts of similar activities;
  • the quality of the scoping and screening (including the adequacy of the summary and whether the recommendations are clearly stated in the executive summary);
  • the completeness of the outline description;
  • the alternatives described;
  • the baseline study (concise and useful);
  • the description of the impacts (detailed probability and significance);
  • mitigation measures;
  • when monitoring programs are described, the reasons for and costs of the activities should be elaborated in detail.

Generic steps for review are described in the EIA guidelines for preparation and review of environmental reports.

Review expertise

Describes if the EIA is checked by external parties, and if so to what extent these represent required disciplines/expertise. Also sets out if measures have been taken to ensure that reviewers are impartial?

IEE and  EIA are reviewed by government experts and experts from other government agencies. NGOs and affected community members are also permitted to review these reports.

Timeline Review

Number of (working) days for review of the EIA by the competent authority.

The IEE is reviewed within 45 days and the EIA within 90 days.

Decision-making

Integration of EIA into decision-making

Describes what kind of decision-making processes the EIA is intended to support. We look specifically at the decision on EIA approval, and how this relates to envirionmental approval for the project, and other project approval decisions (permits) needed before a project can proceed. This category describes which decisions are influenced by EIA and how they are linked to each other.

EIA approval is separated from the final licence of the commencement of the project. The proponent of any activity listed under schedule I and II of the EPA-IEE and EIA regulations, 2000 needs a formal IEE or EIA approval from the EPA before any project approval.

Competent authority

Describes which authority/authorities is/are responsible for each of the main decision-making processes on EIA (EIA approval, environmental approval and/or project approval). It is explained if those decisions are taken by the same or different authorities.

The decision-making procedure depends on whether private sector or public sector projects are being considered. The final decision on the Environmental Approval for private projects is taken by the responsible authority (EPA, provincial or district authorities in co-operation with other Departments and Agencies).

Decision documents

Mentions if the decision (on EIA approval and/or environmental approval) is linked to certain documents (e.g. environmental management plan, permit conditions) in order to facilitate the management of environmental risks during project implementation. Also describes if commitments of the proponent are incorporated into legally binding instruments.

The EIA approval comes along with conditions for it.

Decision justification

Sets out requirements for justification of the consideration of the EIA information in decision-making (on EIA approval, environmental approval and/or project approval).

Decisions are justified in writing. Schedule IV of the EIA regulation, 2000 provides a form that EPA uses as decision note.

Decision publication

Does the decision (on EIA approval, environmental approval and/or project approval) have to be published? Also, is the decision justification published as well?

The EIA guidelines stipulate that a register of decision is made available to the public. It does not however state whether the decision should be published.

Timeline decision-making

Maximum number of (working) days available to the competent authority to make the EIA based decision (EIA approval, environmental clearance and/or project approval).

Not specified.

Monitoring, Compliance and Enforcement

Compliance monitoring

Is compliance monitoring required to check if the project is implemented as described in the EIA documents and/or if mitigation of environmental impacts complies with applicable standards and other measures set out in the EIA documents? Who is responsible for ensuring compliance? How does this authority ensure compliance (for example, through inspections)? And what requirements are there for the p

The proponent is required to submit a monitoring plan as part of the EIA report. Before commencing operation of the project, the proponent should send a confirmation of compliance, accompanied by an Environmental management Plan. After completion of the construction of the project, the proponent is required to submit an annual report on the operational performance of the project, with reference to the conditions of the approval and maintenance and mitigating measures adopted for the project. EPA is responsible for monitoring of conditions of approval and may require additional information from the proponent and can carry out an inspection for this purpose. EPA may cancel the approval, based on the information in the annual report or its inspections.

External monitoring

Are there monitoring requirements that involve external parties, such as citizen monitoring (for example, through a complaints procedure), or third party auditing?

There are possibilities for external monitoring. In the case of a major or controversial project, the guidelines state it is desirable to establish a monitoring committee, comprising the proponent's project manager and environmental staff, key Government Departments and Agencies, and representatives of the local community.

Non-compliance penalties

Are there penalties that the authority responsible for compliance can apply if environmental conditions are not met? What are these? (for example, fines, suspension of license)

If the proponent violates the conditions of the license EPA can issue an Environmental Protection Order to take corrective measures, or take the actions itself and recover the costs. The Director-General of an EPA may require the proponent to pay EPA an administrative penalty if the proponent makes an offence against the Environmental Protection Act. If the Offence is related to an IEE or EIA, the penalty may be up to RS 1,000,000 with a daily fine of up to 100,000 for every day the contravention continuous. If the penalty is not paid, enforcement through the Environmental Tribunal is possible. A proponent aggrieved by the final order of the Environmental Tribunal may appeal to the High Court.

EIA evaluation

Are there any requirements to monitor if the impacts in reality are as they were predicted in the EIA, with the purpose of evaluating the EIA itself and improving future EIA practice?

In the Guidelines for the Preparation and Review of Environmental Reports, EIA evaluation is mentioned. EIA follow-up is said to be used to improve the knowledge on impact prediction and management so that the quality of the EIA process can be enhanced.

Payment system

Is the proponent required to pay a fee when applying for an EIA? Is this fee linked to a permitting fee, or separate? If yes, when is this paid and to whom (to the agency that issues the license or to a central agency)?

The proponent pays at the time of submission of an IEE or EIA a review fee to the Federal Agency, as fixed in Schedule III of  the EIA regulation 2000.

Public participation

Public participation requirements for EIA process stages

Describes for which of the EIA process stages public participation is required.

Public consultation should occur in the preparation of the initial IEE, the assessment of impacts, the reviewing stage and decision -making stage and during monitoring. Audits of EIAs for both public as private projects are reviewed by stakeholders and the public after a preliminary review by the responsible authority.

Public participation arrangements

Relevant information regarding the arrangements for public participation are provided here (e.g. who is responsible for it, who is consulted, does the legislation mention consultation or participation, for which project should consultations be held, are public hearings held etc.)

Public participation arrangements are described in detail in the guidelines for public participation.

Public participation guidance

Has any guidance on participation been provided?

Guidelines for public participation have been issued.

Access to information

Which of the information that is generated in the EIA process is available to the public? Specifically, which reports and decision statements?

EIA reports are public documents and the review thereof, including the decisions, is made public. A register of EIA decisions is kept at EPA and is available to the public.

Information dissemination

How can the public receive the information that is publicly available? Are there public announcement on the proceedings? How/where are these published? Is information made available locally? Is information sent on request? etc.

In case of an EIA, the Federal Agency publishes in any English or Urdu national newspaper a public notice that mentions the type of projects, the exact location, the name and address of the proponent and the places where the EIA of the project can be accessed. This notice contains the date, time and place for a public hearing. The public hearing takes place, at least thirty days after publication of the notice. The review and the decision are public documents.

Timeline for public comments

The number of (working) days available for the public to make comments on the EIA decision document.

Public hearing should fall within 30 days of newspaper notice.

Public comments

What options do the public have to provide their comments. Should comments be written, or may they also be verbal? To which agency should they provide their submissions?

Comments on the EIA report may be written and oral.

Public comments in decision-making

Do the EIA and/or project approval decisions have to be justified on the basis of public participation results? Do legal texts indicate how public participation results should be used and to which decision-making processses they should contribute?

All comments received should, in accordance with the EIA Regulations, 2000 be duly considered, before a decision is made on the EIA. It is not however specified that the level of influence of these comments should be provided.

Legal recourse

Possibilities for appeal

What are the legal recourse options to challenge EIA decisions are provided for within the legal framework?

Pakistan Environmental Protection Act introduced Environmental Tribunals, for serious offences, and Environmental Magistrates, for less serious offences. The Supreme Court and High Courts are also open to any appellant as last resorts.

Decisions that can be appealed

Which EIA decisions can be appealed?

The final approval/ clearance and the decision for project approval can be appealed against.

Who can appeal

Who can make an appeal (in other words, has legal standing)?

Any persons aggrieved by decisions of EPA at Federal or provincial level may appeal with the Environmental Tribunal within 30 days.

EIA practice

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Central EIA database

Is there a central database or library where information on EIAs is kept (i.e. where all EIAs are registered and/or copies are archived). If so, what is kept there and is this information publicly accessible?

Provincial EPAs maintain separate registers of all IEEs and EIAs. EPA should be informed on the progress of all IEE and EIA processes and adds this information to its own registers.

Practice reviews

Any EIA practice review studies that have been done (by governmental agencies or others) are listed here. Where relevant, links to studies are included, and the main conclusions of the studies are summarised.

  • Beg AA. Effectiveness of EIA based decision making. Proceedings of Capacity Building Workshop on EIA-A tool to achieve sustainability. Islamabad: Pak-EPA; 2004.
  •  Nadeem O, Hameed R. A critical review of the adequacy of EIA reports evidence from Pakistan. Trans Eng Comput Technol 2006b;17:200–6.
  • Nadeem O and R Hameed (2008) Evaluation of environmental impact assessment system in Pakistan. Environmental Impact Assessment Review. Article in press.

Accreditation of consultants

Is there and accreditation system operational in the country to certify consultants to do EIAs?

Consultancy is not regularized and licensed.

Capacity development

Ongoing training programmes (including professional and academic training) and major training events held in the past (with focus on recent events) are mentioned here.

  • A study/proposal currently conducted by UNEP focuses on the problems faced by the EA system regarding:
    1) institutional matters and
    2) the quality of the environmental assessment reports. 
    Part of this study is a consultation of sectoral experts and a national consultation session (Ministry of Environment Planning Commission of Pakistan IUCN Pakistan, draft version 2006).
  • The World Bank's Strategic Country Environmental Assessment, 2006 identifies several challenges with regard to the required capacity for environmental management in Pakistan. Capacity building for more effective EIAs needs to address four weaknesses:
    1) a lack of expert input for technical reviews;
    2) a widespread unawareness of requirements and procedures, both in government and the private sector;
    3) the lack of a system to identify projects, both public and private, required to submit an EIA;
    4) weak enforcement of EIA clearance conditions (WB 2006, p. iv).

EIA links

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Links to laws/regulation

Any relevant links to laws or regulations are included here.

Other relevant links on EIA

Any other relevant links (for example to country specific guidance documents) are included here.

S.R.O. 339(I)/2000: http://www.paksearch.com/Government/CORPORATE/Pak_Environ1997.html