Environmental Assessment (EIA & SEA) 6 ECTS

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CMM19 Elective course 6 ECTS
Period W3 - W5 15.01.13 - 01.02.13
Instructor Gunnar Páll Eydal and Ólafur Árnason


Oceanic and coastal ecosystems are under increasing threats from human activities, both on local and global scales. Overfishing, climate changes, pollution, habitat destruction and introduced species are among the most acute problems. This course introduces concepts and methodologies of environmental impact assessment (EIA) and strategic environmental assessment (SEA). As well, it reviews past environmental impact studies, highlighting their strengths and their weeknesses. Special attention will be paid to the scientific quality of EIA studies (design and confounding factors) and how authorities comply with regulations and directives. EIA will also be put into the context of the Water Framework Directive and the European Marine Strategy of the EU. Students will have an exercise in how to prepare and implement an impact assessment of a project, plan and a policy. In the latter part of the course there will be an introduction to the theory and methods of various management systems used in the world. The class will review the rationale for such systems, as well as their principles, components and use. Different environmental and sustainability management frameworks will be evalued.

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course, students will:
  • have gained insights into the theoretical and practical sides of EIA and SEA
  • be able to critically assess the quality of EIA studies
  • be able to put EIA studies into the context of the EU framework
  • be able to set up EIA projects under different environmental settings, and write reports and recommendations for authorities
  • have become familiar with how to organise and implement environmental and sustainability management systems




[mynd 1 h]Gunnar Páll Eydal graduated in 2004 with a master´s of Resource Management from the School of Resource and Environmental Management, Simon Fraser University. In 1997, Gunnar graduated with a B.sc in Geology from the University of Iceland. He specializes in planning of wilderness and rural areas as well as management systems. In 1997-2001, Gunnar was a research associate at the Science Institute University of Iceland, Division of Geophysics. In 2005-2006, he taught courses in geology and environmental management at Ísafjörður College. Since 2006, Gunnar has been working at Eik - planning and environmental consulting and is located in Ísafjörður. Eik is currently directing several regional and municipal planning projects of coastal areas.

[mynd 2 h]Ólafur Árnason holds M.Sc. in Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and Environmental Management (2002, distinction) from Oxford Brookes University, England, and B.Sc. degree in Geography from the University of Iceland.He has ten years of experience as a specialist in environmental management, both in the public and private sector. Ólafur has also taught courses in EIA and SEA at the University of Iceland and the Agricultural University of Iceland.

Guest lecturer

Further reading