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GEOP802 Social Impact Assessment And Cross-cultural Negotiation

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GEOP802 Social Impact Assessment And Cross-cultural Negotiation

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GEOP802 Social Impact Assessment And Cross-cultural Negotiation

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Course Code: GEOP802
University: Macquarie University is not sponsored or endorsed by this college or university

Country: Australia


Research and teaching on development and the social dimensions of environmental change
Worked in Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Sweden and Australia.
Working towards progressive inter-disciplinary research and teaching that addresses critical environmental and development challenges.
Research themes:

social vulnerability to environmental change
society – water relations
equity dimensions of climate change adaptation
climate-related displacement and forced resettlement
social impact assessment and vulnerability assessment

Theoretical interests:

political ecology
social vulnerability and resilience Geographical focus:
mainland Southeast Asia (Mekong Basin)
Viet Nam (Mekong Delta)
South Asia (Sri Lanka)

In pairs, discuss:

Your name and location
Current work and/or studies and/or involvement in SIA or crosscultural negotiations
Interest in social impact assessment and/or cross-cultural negotiations
Learning priorities for this course.

How to do well in this unit?
Read the Unit Guide
Check the iLearn site regularly
Complete all four assessments
Write analytical rather descriptive pieces of writing
Engage and critique rather than just regurgitate
Read widely, read deeply
Hand in a polished and proof-read version of your paper
Plan your essay research and writing time


Under US National Environment Policy Act (NEPA), the concept of social impact assessment was introduced in the year 1969. Social impact assessment was established as a component of the environmental impact assessment. A process that seeks to measure the delivery of an organisation’s social, ecological and economic outcomes, outputs and impacts is social impact assessment (Arce-Gomez, Donovan and Bedggood 2015). Social Impact Assessment (SIA) was initially developed to measure, change and try to make the effect of planned intervention less severe on the environment. SIA developed to help communities, individual, government and private sector, so they can understand the expected social consequences on the population of human and communities of the proposed development project (Barrow 2000). The report conducted to discuss the social impact assessment and its important role regarding inter-cultural communication, conflict and cooperation. The report is prepared to build a better concept theoretically in an overall brief.
SIA is precisely vital for the extractive industries which are often found encroaching on indigenous people’s land, water and resources on which the indigenous people depend (O’Faircheallaigh 2011). SIA will identify the potential impact that may have on the indigenous people and their livelihood. The negative impact can be avoided from the beginning of a project, with the help of SIA. SIA helps in identifying the benefits that indigenous people may have from the proposed development such as infrastructure development, support for traditional enterprise, job creation and enabling residents to shape the community. Since SIA involves community members, the development project can be modified as per the communities’ concern as well as requirement (Vanclay et al. 2015).
There are participants in SIA who like a substantial body works and cooperate simultaneously. The strategies of the SIA are transparent to the participant, the project proponent, government agencies, consultants, and the public. Another benefit of SIA is less or no scope for conflict and confusion as every procedure is done legitimately in discussion with all the participants. Presence all the participants make the process easy and fast in getting approval after the required consultation with each participant and their cooperation. Overall, with the help of SIA the planning, policy-making and implementation become an essential as well as a helpful process before any development project.
The origin of Social Impact Assessment
In the contemporary era, it is often said that SIA began along with the environmentally Impact Assessment during the early 1970s when it was considered necessary by NEPA 1969(USA), however, many authors argue that the existence of SIA is present from long ago. The citation of ‘social impact assessment’ first appearance in the year 1973 and it was followed by a steady increase in citation of Social impact assessment. There are vital evidences in the history of SIA that shows the existence of SIA (Ross 1990). Several documents state that original purpose of SIA advancement was to simplify state of the art and recommend the best form of practice that was required. It is after the publication of the Guidelines and principles for social impact assessment by the Interorganizational Committee on Guidelines and Principles for social impact assessment in 1994 the demand for SIA raised rapidly (Craig 1990).
SIA practice around the world
The method of SIA was rising rapidly as it is used as a segmented study of the regulatory agreement process for construction, resource extraction and infrastructure projects. The primary aim of SIA is to make sure that development occurs with an increase in its advantages and decrease in the costs that are borne by people. In the Australian context, the method of forcasting and assessing the result of a suggested action or an initiative before a decision is the social impact assessment (O’Faircheallaigh 2009). The main aim of the social impact assessment Australia is to make better decisions and ensure better outcome from such decision. Social impact assessment is moving to the evaluation of the outcomes of an action or decision intended. It is precisely the impacts on the concerned groups of people and their pattern of life, health, culture and ability to sustain. In the recent days, most of the planning practices paid less attention to social impact assessment than the ecological and economic evaluation. Many impact judgments omit social problem and consider a very narrow range of issues. It is an ordinary matter to achieve community discussion, however demographic profiling has been replaced for social science research and the impact statement is usually relied on consideration and not estimation (Lane, Ross and Dale 1997). Therefore, sometimes it is the decisions made on the unreliable information that failed to see some severe social consequences before it was eventuated.
Strengths and Weaknesses
The department of social impact assessment is discovering ways of strengthening and enhancing its quality. Currently social impact assessments focus on the research, analysis and prepare report that is the primary essential before beginning a project. Strategic advice and social requirements that are mostly expected by the communities are paid attention to form and provide the best services. The services also include management and mitigation strategies with an emphasis on the method, the monitoring, evaluation and compliance management.
The process is a significant challenge since it includes diverse participants. Often including every participant is ignored and taken casually by the project development team and the project initiators do not have sufficient concern about the social impacts that make SIA an inefficient or reluctant body. However, the job of SIA is to place the community’s expectancy as the prime factor.
SIA is a participatory process used for assessing and mitigating the negative impacts of a project, identifying and generating positive opportunities. After the analysis, the recommendations that can be made based on few practical points. More involvement of community would be beneficial along with the analysis of social issues present in the community, and the analysis should start as early as possible. Since SIA is most serviceable in the long term plans, the use of SIA should be emphasised. There is a great need for control by the communities over SIA and other related decision making processes. Although the job of SIA is productive and beneficial, the transparency and accountability are essential elements that can enhance SIA overall as a process.  In the end it can be concluded that SIA is a valid measure, however, a refined process should be targeted along with indigenous communities.
Arce-Gomez, A., Donovan, J.D. and Bedggood, R.E., 2015. Social impact assessments: Developing a consolidated conceptual framework. Environmental Impact Assessment Review, 50, pp.85-94.
Barrow, C.J., 2000. Social impact assessment: an introduction. Arnold.
Craig, D., 1990. Social impact assessment: politically oriented approaches and applications. Environmental Impact Assessment Review, 10(1-2), pp.37-54.
Howitt, R., 1993. Social impact assessment as ‘applied peoples’ geography’. Australian Geographical Studies, 31(2), pp.127-140.
Lane, M.B., Ross, H. and Dale, A.P., 1997. Social impact research: integrating the technical, political and planning paradigms. Human organization, pp.302-310.
O’Faircheallaigh, C., 2011. Social impact assessment and Indigenous social development. New Directions in Social Impact Assessment, p.138.
O’Faircheallaigh, C., 2009. Effectiveness in social impact assessment: Aboriginal peoples and resource development in Australia. Impact Assessment and Project Appraisal, 27(2), pp.95-110.
O’FAIRCHEALLAIGH, C.I.A.R.A.N., 1999. Making social impact assessment count: a negotiation-based approach for indigenous peoples. Society & Natural Resources, 12(1), pp.63-80.
Ross, H., 1990. Community social impact assessment: a framework for indigenous peoples. Environmental Impact Assessment Review, 10(1-2), pp.185-193.
Vanclay, F., Esteves, A.M., Aucamp, I. and Franks, D.M., 2015. Social Impact Assessment: Guidance for assessing and managing the social impacts of projects.

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