Social Impact Assessment

Social Impact Assessment

ABSTRACT: Social impact assessment (SIA) is now conceived as being the process of managing the social issues of development. There is consensus on what ‘good’ SIA practice is – it is participatory; it supports affected peoples, proponents and regulatory agencies; it increases understanding of change and capacities to respond to change; it seeks to avoid and mitigate negative impacts and to enhance positive benefits across the life cycle of developments; and it emphasizes enhancing the lives of vulnerable and disadvantaged people. We analyse the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats facing SIA. We assert that the SIA community needs to revisit core concepts, such as culture, community, power, human rights, gender, justice, place, resilience and sustainable livelihoods. It is incumbent on SIA practitioners to educate proponents, regulators and colleagues about these concepts, and to embed them into practice norms. Stronger engagement with the emerging trends of free, prior and informed consent (FPIC); human rights impact assessment; social performance standards; supply chain management; governance; local content and economic development will improve the relevance and demonstrable value of SIA to all stakeholders.”

ABSTRACT: “The “International Principles for Social Impact Assessment” is a statement of the core values of the SIA community together with a set of principles to guide SIA practice and the consideration of ‘the social’ in environmental impact assessment generally. It is a discussion document for the impact assessment community to be used as the basis for developing sector and national guidelines. In the process of being developed explicitly for an international context, increasing pressure was placed on the conventional understanding of SIA and a new definition, with official imprimatur of an international professional body, has been formalised. “Social Impact Assessment includes the processes of analysing, monitoring and managing the intended and unintended social consequences, both positive and negative, of planned interventions (policies, programs, plans, projects) and any social change processes invoked by those interventions. Its primary purpose is to bring about a more sustainable and equitable biophysical and human environment.”

  • Vanclay F (2014) Developments in Social Impact Assessment: An Introduction to a Collection of Seminal Research Papers. In: Vanclay F (ed) Developments in Social Impact Assessment. Edward Elgar: Cheltenham.


  • Vanclay F, Esteves A (2011) Current Issues and Trends in Social Impact Assessment In: Vanclay F, Esteves A (eds) New Directions in Social Impact Assessment. Edward Elgar: Cheltenham.

ABSTRACT: This introductory chapter to an edited volume covers some of the recent trends and developments that are shaping the field of social impact assessment. The authors view the book as aligned with the SIA philosophy laid out in the International Principles for Social Impact Assessment, which stress the ongoing management of social issues associated with a development activity, taking a holistic approach to impact assessment, and ensuring that the goals of development are attained. The chapter looks at how current trends around free, prior, and informed consent, notions of social responsibility, human rights impact assessment, and local content requirements are shaping SIA practice. It closes by exploring key considerations that need to be addressed in current and future SIA practice.

ABSTRACT: “The purpose of this Guidance Note is to provide advice to various stakeholders about what is expected in good practice social impact assessment (SIA) and social impact management processes, especially in relation to project development. Project development refers to dams, mines, oil and gas drilling, factories, ports, airports, pipelines, electricity transmission corridors, roads, railway lines and other infrastructure including large-scale agriculture, forestry and aquaculture projects. This Guidance Note builds on IAIA’s (2003) International Principles for Social Impact Assessment. While the International Principles outline the overarching understandings of the SIA field, including the expected values of the profession, this document seeks to provide advice on good practice in the undertaking and appraisal of SIAs and the adaptive management of projects to address the social issues. As a statement of good and sometimes leading practice, not all the information in this document will necessarily be applicable in every situation – people utilising this information will need to establish for themselves what is appropriate in each particular context.”

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