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New guidelines increase environmental sensitivity of Australian aid

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MT70 Date- 20 September 1991

New Guidelines Increase Environmental Sensitivity of Australian Aid

The Minister for Trade and Overseas Development, Neal Blewett, today- announced the release of a new set of guidelines to assess the environmental effects of overseas development projects.

Dr Blewett said that Environment Assessment fo r International Development Cooperation - Incorporating Environmental Screening Guidelines, released by AIDAB (Australian International Development Assistance Bureau), reflects recent changes to Australian Government

policy in relation to environmental protection.

“When I launched the ESD policy statement earlier this year, I stated that the policy sets clear priorities and conditions for aid activities, to ensure that they made only a positive contribution to sustainable development overseas. The guidelines ensure that development cooperation activities conform with Australian environment protection legislation,” Dr Blewett said.

The guidelines will be used by all AIDAB staff and its agents to screen all development activities for their environmental effects.

‘The objective of screening is to ensure that any activity - prior to implementation - does not cause adverse environmental impact,” Dr Blewett said.

AIDAB monitors projects continually to assess their environmental impact. Adverse environmental impacts must be reduced or eliminated, according to the procedures set out in the guidelines.

“Following these guidelines, and the principles contained within them, will ensure our development assistance is sensitive to the environment in which it takes place. This includes consideration of sustainable resource use, the conservation of biodiversity, the rehabilitation of disturbed or

damaged areas, and the equitable distribution of the benefits of development," Dr Blewett said.

The guidelines represent a major revision of the 1989 Environmental Assessment Procedures, and follow the publication of AIDAB’s policy statement on ecologically sustainable development (ESD) in the aid program.

Further information: All Gillies, Director, Public Information, AIDAB Phone (06) 276 4960 Fax (06) 276 4695