Australia, Asia-Pacific

Tina River hydropower development, Solomon Islands

In 2013-14 we worked with BRLi Ingeniere to carry out an environmental and social impact assessment (ESIA) of the proposed Tina River hydroelectric development, to be located in central north Guadalcanal. The work was undertaken for the Ministry of Mines Energy and Rural Electrification with assistance from the World Bank, and according to the Bank’s and International Finance Corportation’s (IFC) environmental and social safeguards policies.

Anketell Port Infrastructure social and cultural impacts assessment, Western Australia

As part of the planning for a new port and associated industrial area on the Pilbara coast of Western Australia, FAS undertook several impact assessment studies. The first of these, in 2010-11 was a social impacts scoping study for the WA Department of State Development, and looked at the potential range of social impacts that might be experienced by local communities and region-wide. Following on from this scoping study, in 2012 we carried out, for the Ngarluma Aboriginal Corporation, a detailed assessment of the possible cultural impacts of the proposed Anketell developments on the traditional owners and indigenous communities of the Western Pilbara.

Offsetting an industrial closure with tourism develoment (Western Australia)

In Febuary 2009, BHP Billeton announced the closure of its nickel mine at Ravensthorpe, Western Australia. This sudden closure was expected to have a profound effect on the communities of Hopetoun and Ravensthorpe, where many of the mine workers established their homes. Drawing on previous experience of downsizing a defence facility at Exmouth, we worked with Tourism Western Australia to identify and assess potential tourism development opportunities in the Hopetoun district and Fitzgerald River National Park to help off-set the social and economic impacts of the mine closure.

The social impacts of invasive pest animals in Australia

The Australian Government has concerns about the effects of invasive (pest) animals on the Australian environment, economy, and community. To research and manage these effects, and to come up with more effective pest controls, it established a Cooperative Research Centre for Invasive Animals (IACRC). between 2005 and 2009 we worked with the IACRC to understand the social effects/impacts, and to assess how the public and interest groups might respond to pest control efforts and new control technologies. Studies have included reviews of previous research, a case study of the Upper Hunter valley region in NSW, and an overall assessment of the social impacts of pest animals. Our published resarch reports are available online from the IACRC

Social safegurads for hydroelectric development in North Korea

In 2004, the international community, through the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP, provided technical assistance to the Government of the Democratic Peoples’ Republic of Korea (DPRK – or North Korea) for the development of a medium sized hydroelectricity generation scheme near Wonsan in Kangwan Province. This necessitated an on-the ground assessment of the potential social impacts of the project and a review of the social safeguards required by the UN. We provided UNDP with the in-country social science technical expertise for the assessment and review and prepared a report, with recommendations, for the UNDP and DPRK government.

China wetlands conservation programme review

In 2002-03 we were contracted by UNDP to undertake, as part of a joint international and national team, a mid term review (evaluation) of the China Wetlands Biodiversity and Sustainable Use programme, being funded jointly by the UNDP Global Environment Facility and Government of China. Based on fieldwork investigations in 4 provinces, extensive consultations with local people, NGOs, provincial, and central government participants, document analysis, and interviews with technical specialists, our staff provided an evaluation of the performance of the social and community components of the 5-year programme, including the contribution towards alternative livelihoods development, capacity building, and recommendations for programme redesign and improvement in major wetlands mangement.

Conservation and livelihoods improvement in India

The Sundarbans mangrove forest system is one of the worlds largest and most significant mangrove forests, part of which falls within the state of West Bengal State in India. Conserving the Indian Sundarbans environment while meeting the livelihoods and development needs of the people of the district is a major challenge. The Asian Development Bank (ADB) provided technical assistance to the state government to develop an integrated conservation and livelihoods improvement strategy for the Sundarbans. In 2003, FAS provided the international social science expertise to the multidisciplinary ADB team charged with preparing the strategy. This involved fieldwork investigations, managing and harmonising the inputs of local social scientists, poverty and development needs assessments, scenario analysis, participatory workshops, designing a strategy for sustainable livelihoods development, and report preparation.

Social assessment of river works in Bangladesh

In 2000, we provided the World Bank with rural sociological and social impact assessment expertise as part of a package of technical assistance to the planning and feasibility assessment of a project to restore the flow in the Gorai River in Bangladesh. This involved reviewing and redesigning baseline socio-economic surveys of the people of the Gorai catchment, analysing and interpreting the findings, preparing a social impact assessment of the proposed river engineering works and any required resettlement (with particular attention to poor and landless people), conducting community an other stakeholder consultations and preparing relevant reports.

Integrated environmental monitoring in Bangladesh

Subsequent to our work on the Gorai River restoration project, in 2002 the Government of the Netherlands provided assistance to the Government of Bangladesh to establish an integrated monitoring system for the Gorai River-Bangladesh Sundarbans system. Working in a 3-person team assembled by Delft Hydraulics, we provided the social science input to the design of the monitoring programme, developed the social indicators, and wrote the terms of reference for the social monitoring contractor.

Forest management performance in Indonesia

Perum Perhutani is a state-owned forestry company managing teak plantations in Indonesia. In 1999, the company’s teak-forest management performance under its FSC forest management certificate needed auditing. A FAS social scientist joined Smartwood’s 3-person international audit team and reviewed the social performance at 3 forests in Central and East Java, conducted consultations with local communities and other stakeholders, made recommendations for improvements, and co-authored the audit report.

Social and participatory planning for agrofrestry in Tonga

From 1995 to 1997, FAS provided sociological and rural development expertise to New Zealand’s programme of bi-lateral aid to the forestry sector in the Kingdom of Tonga. This included, in 1995, a feasibly study for agroforestry development, for which we undertook a social and cultural analysis of agriculture and forestry, an assessment of needs, and helped prepare an agroforestry development strategy – based on interviews and village-level participatory workshops throughout the island group. In 1997, a detailed national agroforestry implementation plan was required. In addition to co-authoring this plan, we conducted over 30 village-level PRA workshops, interviewed and consulted with NGOS and government agencies, compiled and analysed background social and agricultural statistics, and prepared 2 background reports. In addition, between 1995 and 1997, we assisted the Government of Tonga in the preparation of a management plan for the Eua National Park. Working within a small multi-disciplinary team we carried out an analysis of Tongan tourism, a survey of Eua’s residents, several rounds of local/village and national level planning workshops, and co-authored the park management plan.