ECOWAS: Steps towards regional regulation of ESIA and SEA

31 May 2023

Great news: during the ECOWAS meeting of May 16 – 18 in Guinée-Bissau, the Council of Environmental Ministers adopted the regional regulation of environmental and social assessment. The regulation aims to harmonize national EA procedures among member states. Also, the regulation requires review of transboundary ESIA and SEA by a regional committee, in addition to national review procedures. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first region in the world where this will be a requirement. 
After final approval of the regulation by the Ministers of Foreign Affairs, the ECOWAS member states will have two years to align their national legislation with the regional regulatory framework. Next steps are to agree on the exact objectives of the regional regulations and to establish a regional review organ. NCEA has been requested by ECOWAS and some member states to remain involved in the implementation phase of the regulation.