An assessment of the success of mainstreaming of marine biodiversity information into EIAs for the oil and gas sector

Majiedt, Prideel Ayn (2016-03)

Thesis (MPA)--Stellenbosch University, 2016.

Thesis

ENGLISH SUMMARY: The mining sector has played a critical role in the development and growth of South Africa’s economy but is also one of the main contributors to environmental impacts. There has been a substantial increase in the number and size of applications for marine petroleum exploration rights, with 30 new exploration wells planned by 2024. In the absence of offshore marine protected areas and no-go areas for mining, the need for mainstreaming of biodiversity information is critical. Biodiversity mainstreaming is the internalisation of the goals of biodiversity conservation and sustainable use of biological resources into economic and public sectors. The EIA framework is the regulatory tool used to ensure the implementation of sustainable development in the marine mining sector and the petroleum sector is a key stakeholder for mainstreaming engagement to support the inclusion of high level biodiversity products in environmental management decision-making. Three products aim to influence such decision making; the National Spatial Biodiversity Assessment (NSBA) 2004, the National Biodiversity Assessment 2011 and the Offshore Marine Protected Areas Project (OMPA) 2011. The aim of this study was to assess how well marine biodiversity products were integrated into the EIA process in the last four years. A total of 21 EIAs and associated specialist studies from the petroleum sector were analysed using content analysis. Data was captured on the presence of selected biodiversity products, and where present, the level of influence these products had on mitigation recommendations. The success of a product was measured based on utilisation and influence, with the latter being assessed on whether products formed the basis for mitigation recommendations. A case study on an EIA for seabed mining is presented as an example of how the aforementioned biodiversity products could be used to inform the project plan through mitigation recommendations. The study showed that the NSBA 2004 was the most utilised of the biodiversity products, followed by the OMPA. Information on threatened ecosystems was often omitted. The products were used to set the context of impact studies rather than to inform environmental management. No mitigation recommendations were directly linked to the biodiversity products examined, even when applications had overlap with threatened ecosystem types and when methods involving high risk of habitat destruction were included in project plans. The age of the product and the terms of reference of specialist studies were identified as potential factors affecting use of the biodiversity products. This study concluded that mainstreaming of these products was unsuccessful as no evidence of their influence on proposed mining projects could be detected. The lack of influence of these documents was attributed to the low level of legislative support for threatened marine ecosystems. It is recommended that (1) marine ecosystems are included in the legislated list of threatened and protected ecosystems (2) capacity is developed to ensure appropriate consideration of environmental impacts in marine EIAs, and (3) studies such as this one are carried out at regular intervals to identify where mainstreaming interventions are most needed and where further training is required.

AFRIKAANS OPSOMMING: Die mynbousektor speel ‘n kritieke rol in die ontwikkeling en uitbreiding van die Suid-Afrikaanse ekonomie maar dit is ook een van die grootste bydraers tot habitat impakte. Daar was 'n grootskaalse toename in die aantal en grootte van aansoeke vir mariene petroleum eksplorasie regte, met 30 nuwe eksplorasieboorgate beplan by 2024. In die afwesigheid van diepsee mariene beskermde gebiede en verbode areas vir mynbou, die behoefte aan die hoofstroom van biodiversiteit inligting is van kritieke belang. Biodiversiteit hoofstroom is die internalisering van die doelwitte van bewaring van biodiversiteit en volhoubare gebruik van biologiese hulpbronne in die ekonomiese en openbare sektore. Die OIE raamwerk is die regulerende instrument wat gebruik word om implementering van volhoubare ontwikkeling in die mariene mynbousektor te verseker. Die petroleum sektor is 'n belangrike rolspeler vir hoofstroming betrokkenheid om die insluiting van hoë vlak biodiversiteit produkte in omgewingsbestuur besluitneming te ondersteun. Drie produkte doel om sodanige besluitneming tebeïnvloed; die Nasionale Ruimtelike Biodiversiteit Assessering (NSBA) 2004, Nasionale Biodiversiteit Assessering 2011, en Diepsee Mariene Beskermde Gebiede Projek (DMBG) 2011. Die doel van hierdie studie was om te bepaal hoe goed mariene biodiversiteit produkte in die OIB-proses geïntegreer is in die laaste vier jaar. ‘n Totaal van 21 dokumente en gepaardgaande spesialis studies uit die petroleumsektor is ontleed met inhoud analise. Data was vasgelê op die teenwoordigheid van gekose biodiversiteit produkte en die vlak van invloed wat hierdie produkte gehad het op versagtende aanbevelings binne hierdie dokumente. Die sukses van ‘n produk is eerstens gemeet volgens die gebruik en tweedens invloed daarvan. Invloed was gekwantifiseer gebaseer op of die produk die basis gevorm het vir versagtende aanbevelings. 'n Gevallestudie van 'n OIE vir seebodem mynbou word aangebied as 'n voorbeeld van hoe die bogenoemde biodiversiteit produkte gebruik kan word om projekte te beinvloed deur versagting aanbevelings. Hierdie studie het getoon dat die NSBA 2004 die mees benutte van al die biodiversiteits produkte was, gevolg deur die DMBG. Inligting oor bedreigde ekosisteme is dikwels uitgelaat. Alle biodiversiteits inligting is voorgehou as aanvullende inligting en geen versagtende aanbevelings wat direk met die gekose biodiversiteits produkte verbind kan word is gevind nie, selfs wanneer aansoeke oorvleuel met bedreigde ekosisteme en wanneer metodes wat 'n hoë risiko na ekosisteme in die projek planne ingesluit was. Die ouderdom van ‘n produk en die verwysingsraamwerk aan spesialiste is geïdentifiseer as potensiële faktore wat die gebruik van die biodiversiteit produkte beinvloed het. Hierdie studie het bevind dat die hoofstroming van hierdie produkte onsuksesvol was aangesien geen bewyse van hul invloed op die voorgestelde mynbou projekte gevind kon word nie. Die gebrek aan invloed van hierdie dokumente is toegewys van die lae vlak van wetgewende ondersteuning wat voorsiening maak vir bedreigde mariene habitatte. Dit word aanbeveel (1) mariene ekostelsels word ingesluit in die wetlike lys van bedreigde en beskermde ekosisteme (2) kapasiteit ontwikkel is om toepaslike oorweging van omgewingsimpakte in mariene OIB's te verseker, en (3) studies soos hierdie een gereeld uitegevoer word om te identifiseer waar die hoofstroom ingrypings meeste nodig is en waar verdere opleiding word vereis.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/98496
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