Strategic management and delivering project studies
Screening, ESIA, biodiversity action planning and monitoring
Duplicative advice and late integration of management actions
What is happening?
In many instances, development leads to commonly encountered risks for coastal and marine biodiversity. In general, risks and action plan measures are considered on a project-by-project basis. This means that there is significant duplication of management advice across projects, which, in many instances, could be standardised for commonly encountered important features. Often it is best for business and biodiversity to consider and deliver upon action plans to address risks as early as possible. Screening approaches normally consider risk, but actions to manage these risks across the Mitigation Hierarchy are often not considered in detail at an early project stage. Good practice guidelines exist for some aspects that can be used for this purpose, but there are gaps in coverage in guidance for some coastal and marine biodiversity issues. Often general biodiversity action plan advice can be given in a precautionary and predictive way without the need for detailed ESIA studies. This is especially true for marine biodiversity in certain parts of the world where data paucity requires precautionary and predictive approaches to be considered in any case. Indeed, in many instances, delivering advice early can fast track the implementation of the best approaches independently of ESIA approaches.
Why is it a problem?
Not understanding the potential biodiversity action plan measures that may be required at an early stage means that developers may not fully understand the consequence of decisions being made. This increases project risks and also the potential for greater impacts on biodiversity. These issues often hinder the proper implementation of the Mitigation Hierarchy with a notable over-reliance on later mitigation steps. In addition, developers may focus at a project level and this can lead to them receiving duplicative advice across projects for similar issues. These approaches prevent good strategic decisions to be made to reduce business risks and protect biodiversity.
How do we help to solve it?
We often find that our advice is repeated across projects and within development sectors. Therefore we seek to produce good practice coastal and marine biodiversity action plan guidelines for commonly encountered important issues that can be used at a global level by businesses, governments, International Finance Institutions etc to inform all of their projects. These plans consider actions that follow the proper sequence of the Mitigation Hierarchy to reduce risks to biodiversity and also ensure that sensible decisions are made to manage long-term development risks.
A Standardised Sea Turtle Action Plan
Developers eye coastal locations for ports, pipelines, hotels, petrochemicals, desalination plants or other major projects. In tropical regions, these developments often conflict with nesting, foraging and migrating sea turtles. Other development activities offshore have the potential to impact on sea turtles, including loss of foraging grounds; underwater sound impacts associated with piling, use of explosives and seismic activities etc; and fishing by-catch. Some mitigation measures that are proposed for sea turtles adopt measures that are more pertinent to other species (e.g. marine mammal underwater sound mitigation); and in many cases although many projects deal with mitigation for sea turtles they have not been collated into a single best practice guide.
We have developed detailed internal sea turtle action plans to address impacts across these key threats that can be easily updated for clients based on their needs. The action plans consider, impact issues, mitigation measures, monitoring, training and capacity development, review and auditing approaches. In addition, we can easily add information for specific projects to include screening outputs (linking to our tools), data and information gaps, recommendations for study (linking to our tools and supporting in-country research) and precautionary recommendations.