Environmental impact assessment (EIA SEA)

CMM19A Elective Course 4 ECTS
Period 2 weeks -
Instructor Gunnar Páll Eydal


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 assessments (EIA) and strategic Environmental assessment (SEA) as well it reviews past environmental impact studies, highlighting their strength and weaknesses A special attention will be made on the scientific quality of EIA studies (design and confounding factors) and how authorities comply to regulations and directives. EIA will also be put into the context of the Water Framework Directive and the European Marine Strategy of 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 an introduction will be given 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 evaluated.


At the end of this course:

  • Students will gain insights into theoretical and practical sides of EIA and SEA
  • Students will be able to critically assess the quality of EIA studies
  • Students will be able to put EIA studies into context of the EU framework
  • Students will be able to set up EIA projects under different environmental settings, write reports and recommendation for authorities
  • Students will become familiar with how to organize and implement environmental and sustainability management systems.



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. From 2006-2016 Gunnar worked atEik - planning and environmental consulting in Ísafjörður and from 2016 at Verkís - consulting engeneers office in Ísafjörður. Verkís is currently directing several regional and municipal planning projects of coastal areas.