Course #2. Mitigation Hierarchy for Impacts on Ecosystem Services: Integrating social and biodiversity values




This course will show how impact assessment can highlight important linkages between biodiversity and socio-economic values for ecosystem services. The course will establish terminology for ecosystem services and identify where ecosystem services fit in the ESIA process. Lender requirements (typified by IFC PS6 and WB ESS4) will be explained, and tools for coordinating primary data collection required by social and environmental scientists will be explored. The rest of the day will focus on the mitigation hierarchy: avoid, minimize, restore, compensate, and offset. We will discuss how to use design and siting to avoid impacts, followed by a review of scoping for impact scale and severity and Ledec and Quinteiro’s environmental criteria for comparing project alternatives to minimize impacts. The connection between loss of priority ecosystems and economic displacement will be discussed in reference to the World Resource Institutes’ approach for integrating ecosystem services in impact assessment. Methods typically used for valuing lost natural resources assets in resettlement planning will be discussed. The purpose, use and core principles of offsets will be addressed before the components of a biodiversity action plan are dissected.

Training will be a mixture of presentation, individual exercises, small group work, and plenary discussion. The target audience for this course includes SIA practitioners, ecologists and biodiversity specialists, ESIA Project managers, academics wanting to understand the practical application of considering ecosystems in ESIAs, and nature or social development journalists.

Level: Introductory to intermediate
Prerequisites: Basic familiarity with ESIA
Duration: 1 day (16 November)
Min/Max: 10-30

Marielle Rowan, Mott MacDonald (Canada)

Alana Paul, Mott MacDonald (Canada)


Marielle Rowan (MSc Rural extension, HBA English) has over 25 years of experience focusing on social safeguard and community development issues. She is the Principal Social Safeguard Consultant on the Environmental and Social team in the Power Unit of Mott MacDonald, carrying out social impact assessments (SIA) and developing social management plans for energy, transportation, and water projects. She routinely addresses well-being, vulnerability, gender, social cohesion, accessibility, and equity in the distribution of resources, poverty, and livelihoods. Marielle has acted as Project Manager for several large environmental and social impact assessments and due diligence reviews coordinating multidisciplinary inputs and has practical experience integrating socio-cultural and biodiversity values. Prior to her current focus on social safeguards, Marielle lived for more than a decade in East Africa working on rural development projects and issues.

Marielle has practical experience facilitating community needs workshops and providing training on social safeguard issues. With a knowledge of adult education theories, she likes to use a variety of interactive methods in training activities.  Marielle has provided training to project developers, contractors and subcontractors on social impact assessment, social management plans, labour monitoring, resettlement planning and stakeholder engagement.

Relevant project experience includes: an ecosystem impact assessment as part of an SIA for a multipurpose dam in West Africa, contributions related to sustainable livelihoods to a biodiversity action plan for an oil project in the Middle East, production of a livelihood restoration thought paper for a hydropower project in south Asia, and a review of how nomadic groups use land being developed for wind projects in Eastern Europe. She has published on aligning resettlement planning with SIA, converting project risks to benefit sharing opportunities, and attributing significance to social impacts. At IAIA2017, Marielle presented a paper cowritten with colleagues on ecosystems and livelihoods in social impact assessment.


Alana Paul (Dual-MA International Affairs, Natural Resources and Sustainable Development; Dual-BA Environmental Policy, Anthropology) has over ten years of post-graduate experience within the international power sector in environmental management and environmental and social due diligence. She is a Principal Environmental Specialist on the Environmental and Social team in the Power Unit of Mott MacDonald, reviewing environmental impact assessments and environmental management plans, carrying out gap analyses and due diligence reviews, and developing action plans for energy and transportation projects. She has extensive experience working on renewable energy projects in Latin America. Through her work she has analyzed project impacts on biodiversity and habitat, and worked with clients to prepare suitable monitoring and mitigation plans compliant with international guidelines (IFC Performance Standards; Equator Principles).

Alana has served as Project Manager for several large environmental and social due diligence reviews which involve coordinating multidisciplinary teams from both environmental and social specialist sectors. Prior to her current work in environmental and social advisory services, Alana lived and worked for five years in Costa Rica on the development and permitting of renewable energy projects throughout Central America.

Alana has practical experience providing training on environmental and social issues. She has provided training to project developers, contractors, and subcontractors on the IFC Performance Standards (general overview of requirements for compliance), biodiversity conservation and monitoring (in Spanish and English), and labour monitoring (in Spanish).

Relevant project experience includes: coordination of a team of specialists to conduct a baseline bird and bat scoping study and providing a brief training on international guidelines and IFC PS6 requirements to the project sponsors of a wind farm in Bolivia; training on IFC PS2 labor issues to the project sponsor, contractors and subcontractors of a road project in Honduras; biodiversity monitoring and cumulative impact of a wind farm in Mexico.