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The Enviromnmental Impact Assessment as a Tool for Tourism Landscape Planning; a Study of the Egyptian Experience by Dr. Mohammad H. Refaat Faculty of Urban & Regional Planning, Cairo University

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Abstract

In the last two decades Egypt has taken the lead in applying the environmental monitoring systems for all sorts of developments. Several executive steps towards environmental protection were made, starting from the presidential decree 1982 of establishing the Egyptian Environmental Affairs Agency, under the supervision of the Cabinet of Ministers.

In 1992 a reorganization process of the EEAA was carried on starting with issuing law number 4 for the year 1994. The law stated that (article 19) that each and every new establishment or extension in existing establishment, before it is being implemented an environmental impact assessment study has to be presented to the EEAA through the administrative authority for reviewing and issuing the permits for the approval of such development.

The paper will be divided into two parts. The first part will focus on reviewing the EEAA history in reviewing the EIA, the steps, which were made in order to enhance and upgrade the system in general Emphasizing on the tourism sector as a case to show its present status and what is needed to overcome the deficiencies.

The second part of the paper will highlight the landscape planning characteristics in Egypt, and how by introducing a new level of EIA, what we call the strategic level. We may be able to overcome the problems that we are facing in compromising, the environmental monitoring systems and the on going tourism development requirements in Egypt.

1. History of the EIA system in Egypt:

Abul-Azm (1999) in a paper on the EIA Egyptian experience; stated that, in February 1994, the government of the Arab Republic of Egypt has issued law No.4/94 concerning protection of the environment. The objective of the law was not only addressing pollution measures and control, but also involved new developments and projects including expansions of the existing ones. New establishments are required to carry out an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) before construction. Article no.19 through 23 and 70 through 73 of law4/94 stipulates measures related to the EIA. Relevant articles in the Executive Regulations complement the law. The executive regulations were issued by the Prime Ministers decree No.338 of 1995.

Danida had contributed to the EIA system through Danish Environmental Protection Agency (DEPA) missions during 1994. The Danish consultants suggested a system similar to that used in the European Union, World Bank and Malaysia, and used the limits of Nipal with white, gray and black categories. Furthermore, it was suggested that activities should be adapted to the Egyptian System. Several discussions had taken place in 1994 between the agency (EEAA) and the line ministries, following that guidelines for EIA had been issued by the agency in 1994. One cannot also deny the active role of our national consultants in the preparation of these guidelines.

The list approach stated in the Egyptian guidelines depends on screening projects into three categories based on different levels of EIA required according to severity of possible environmental impacts. A white list projects for establishment with minor environmental Impact. A gray list project for establishments, which may result in substantial environmental impact. A black list project for establishments, which require a full-fledged EIA due to their potential Impacts.

The guidelines had also included a screening form A, a scooping form B and a brief outline for the full-fledged EIA. The guidelines were presented late 1996 to the investors, bankers and NGO's. The law had specified that the proponent should submit the EIA form or study to the EEAA through the competent Administrative Authority (CAA). The EIA must then be reviewed by the EEAA. The agency had always utilized the knowledge of our national consultants represented by the universities and research centers staff members. Services of international consultants were utilized in number of cases through Danida and Dfid.

According to law 4/94, the EEAA evaluation process should take a maximum of 60 days, otherwise considered approval. The law had also allowed for a permanent appeal committee as discussed in the law, the executive regulations and the EIA guidelines.

Since 1994, the EEAA had started to receive EIA from different competent Administrative Authorities and the number of authorities is increasing every year, shows the number of CAA's applied to the agency since 1994.

1.1 Enforcement of law 4/94 and its measures

According to the law for the Environment (lawNo.4/1994), the Egyptian Environmental Affairs Agency was established and replaced the Agency established in 1982 in all rights and obligations .The EEAA has a public juridical personality and is affiliated with the competent Minister for Environmental Affairs. In this respect, the EEAA formulates the general policy and prepares the necessary plans for the protection and promotion of the environment law, enforcement is another mandate given to the agency. Despite the limited human resources at the agency, law enforcement is becoming one of the top priorities in recent years, many cases had been sent to the court in the past two years particularly for establishments that started without submitting an EIA according to the law.

According to the provisions of law 4/94 the measures related to the environmental impact assessment can be summarized as:

Egyptian Environmental Affairs Agency (EEAA) shall, in agreement with the competent administrative agencies, issue a decree identifying the elements, designs, specifications and bases in the light of which the competent administrative authority, or the licensing agency, shall assess the environmental impact of the establishment for which the license is required. (This is in accordance with article 19 Of the Law and article 10 of the ER). The EEAA shall revise the decree, identifying the elements, designs, specifications and bases, indicated in the previous paragraph, whenever this is deemed necessary (Reference to article 10 of the ER.). The EEAA shall, in agreement with the competent administrative authority, devise forms compiling the data required for carrying out assessment. The developer shall be committed to fill in the form and attach it to his application.

The EEAA shall keep a register including copies of the form (indicated in the previous paragraph), the final results of the evaluation, and the other measures to be taken by the developer as required by the EEAA. The Board of Directors of the EEAA shall develop the selection criteria for consultants to be assigned by EEAA to review the EIA (Article 13 of the ER). The EEAA shall issue a list of selected specialists and consultants according to the

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