Nemus participated in IAIA 2015 in Florence

Nemus participated in the 35th International Association for Impact Assessment’s annual conference (IAIA15) which took place between the 20th and 23rd of April 2015 in Florence, Italy. This year’s theme ‘Impact Assessment in the Digital Era’ aims to advance a multidisciplinary discussion on the challenges and opportunities associated with the use of new digital technologies for promoting sustainability.

Nemus presented two sessions, on the topics Digital Era without power sockets: IA in Africa’ and EIA alternative analysis: case studies’. The first session explains how Nemus decided to face the current economic crisis as an opportunity to begin an internationalization process that led its multidisciplinary dynamic team to Mozambique, Malawi, Cape Verde and Angola (in Africa) and also Brazil (South America). Most projects where Nemus has been involved for the past four years are actually in these countries, where the Digital Era is still yet to come. While in Portugal, Nemus’ team was working its way through the new digital challenges and demands, adapting to the new high-tech tools, in Africa the team had to face unexpected situations and adapt to new ways of working.

The second session presented a discussion on Environmental Impact Assessment’s (EIA) alternative analysis for two types of projects, one in Portugal and one in Brazil. One of the guidelines of the EIA legislation in Portugal and Brazil is the evaluation of project alternatives, including the no intervention alternative. However, even though there has been some flexibility in the management of this issue, the main factors that influence the construction of alternatives are still the history of the project, its type, size, complexity and cost. In this session, Nemus discussed the approach to the analysis of alternatives in EIA using two examples – one in Portugal (comparison of five alternatives in a dredging and dune reinforcement project, in the phase of EIA), and one in Brazil (comparison of 15 location and technological alternatives in a road project, previous to the EIA report; alternative selection required environmental authority approval).

IAIA is the International Association for Impact Assessment, organized in 1980 to bring together researchers, practitioners, and users of various types of impact assessment from all parts of the world. IAIA involves people from many disciplines and professions. Their members include corporate planners and managers, public interest advocates, government planners and administrators, private consultants and policy analysts, university and college teachers and their students. IAIA has members from over 120 nations. For 35 years IAIA has been holding annual conference events all over the world to promote best practices in impact assessment. Meanwhile the next edition of the conference has already been announced and will take place from 11 to 14 May 2016 in Aichi-Nagoya, Japan. (www.iaia.org)

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