This note, part of the RAI Knowledge into Action Notes series, provides guidance on the
conduct of environmental and social impact assessments
(ESIAs) and the implementation of associated environmental
and social management plans (ESMPs). Crop and livestock
production, forestry, fisheries, and aquaculture all depend
on the use of land, water, and other natural resources that
are inextricably linked to rural livelihoods, social
systems, values, and culture. ESIAs and ESMPs are key tools
for identifying and assessing social and environmental risks
and benefits at the planning stage of an investment, and for
building risk mitigation measures into project design and
implementation. Although usually legislative requirements,
too often they have been treated as box-ticking exercises.
There remainssignificant room for improvement in the conduct
of assessment and the rigor with which findings are
incorporated into management plans.