To ensure that development projects fulfil their objective and have minimal negative or unintended effects, there is a need to assess their impacts along various dimensions as part of the appraisal and evaluation stages of the project cycle. At the appraisal stage, the purpose of the impact assessment process is to predict environmental, social, economic, and cultural consequences of a proposed activity and assess plans to mitigate any adverse impacts resulting from the proposed activity, as well as provide for the involvement of public and government agencies in the review of the proposed activities. As a planning tool, it has both information gathering and decision making component, which provides the decision maker with an objective basis for granting or denying approval for a proposed development.
As an evaluation function, impact assessment serves to identify the actual environmental, social, economic, and cultural effects of the project so as to provide a basis for assessing project performance vis-à-vis its intended impacts and provide lessons for the future. Both aspects of impact assessment are necessary if development projects are to contribute to the goal of sustainable development. It is in light of the foregoing that this workshop is designed to build and strengthen participants’ skills in evaluation and impact assessment.