I’ve been pre-occupied with work training for the past few days and i have been slow in updating this blog in daily basis. What really occupied my mind and time for the past 3 days was a seminar I attended in one of the hotel here.

The company decided to send 2 executives from the Audit & Monitoring division and me from the EIA to the training on the use of Rapid Impact Assessment Matrix method for the impact assessment in the planning level particularly in strategic impact assessment (SEA) which was alien to me before. ha.ha.

The seminar can be divided into two: the introduction to SEA and the use of rapid impact assessment matrix in SEA process. SEA is a form of impact assessment which integrates environmental considerations done at a high level of decision-making. On contrary, EIA is a form of impact assessment done at a project level.

In the P-P-M Cycle (Policy-Planning-Management), SEA falls into the Policy –> Planning stage. It do not replace the other assessment done at project level but an added-value to the aforementioned. Influential to the planning & project levels assessment and has potential to address those concerns on environmental-related issues at early stage of decision-making.

Another plus point to the SEA is that it forces through in looking up for the cumulative impact of several projects or policies and forces to look for other alternatives at EARLY stage of planning. Phew.

SEA can be used for legislation matter especially in formulating international treaties and green& white papers as well as economic policy in term of budget, privitisation, subsidies, taxation, integrated plan, national/regional/local development plans as well as plans for conservation areas.
Other sector includes policy/strategy/programme on agriculture, transport, energy, coastal management a well as international aid. Bear in mind that it can be done ONLY in policy, strategy and programme level.

The process is pretty much like an EIA except for additional crucial step that is absent in EIA process. Usually the steps start with defining the boundaries, screening, scoping, external factors considerations, analysis and last, documentation and reporting.

The second part of the training, the most anticipated introduction to rapid impact assessment matrix or in short, RIAM. It is a tool that improve or enhance the organization of an impact assessment study.

The good thing about this, is that the matrix has been developed into software that provide real-time recording and rapid judgement made. So you can just key in your range value (RV) derived from the environmental score (ES) that falls within the respective description of range band.

There is a simple formulae where you can get the ES based on the RIAM criteria (Group A and Group B). It is not as complicated as it sound now but I’m too lazy to elaborate more. For further information on this tool, you can check out the official website at www (dot) pastakia (dot) com (slash) riam

The good thing about the training was, the initiator himself giving out the introductory course to us. He gave the step-by-step explaination of the tool in a very systematic & informative way with heaps of case studies abroad, regionally and even local example in Sabah and Miri. So yeah, bravo Mr Pastakia.

I have downloaded the software in *.xls form as I can’t use the *.exe as I’m using Mac. So, I’d settle for the excel matrix. I have yet to test the software but i will definitely try it out soon. Or perhaps, I can use it as a trial for my new Project? 🙂

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