Knowledge Note
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.