ESIA and SEA to a higher level in ECOWAS region

6 February 2023

On 24-26 January in Abidjan, the member states of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) discussed and validated the Regional Regulation on Harmonising Environmental and Social Assessment. The Regulation includes two major developments:

  1. in addition to national ESIAs, the Regulation makes a regional ESIA mandatory for projects covering multiple countries. This is unique, because nowhere in the world, regional ESIA's are mandatory yet. 
  2. the Regulation makes SEA mandatory in all member states. Also a great improvement, because carrying out an environmental assessment at strategic level is an important added value for planning- and project development at lower levels. 

In addition, the regulation contains specific articles on gender, climate change and Grievance Redress Mechanisms. 

We are impressed with ECOWAS ambitions and are looking forward to support the implementation of the Regulation.