Conference Theme

IAIA21 Smartening Impact Assessment in Challenging Times
Virtual event
18-21 May 2021

Smartening Impact Assessment in Challenging Times

Recent dramatic events worldwide, from floods and bushfires to the ongoing pandemic, call for a revaluing of the contribution of impact assessment tools to anticipating and preparing us for such challenges. Integrating environmental and health considerations into planning and decision making, across geographic scales and sectors, is essential to ensure preparedness, mitigation, adaptation, and community resilience.

The turn of the century saw a data explosion, evidenced even more in recent times by global initiatives to measure the spread of COVID-19 and the associated improvements in air quality, for example. The related increase in the application of novel techniques and tools to manage and make sense of this data is seamlessly increasing the information available, particularly through systematic online interfaces, to support assessments and decisions. These advancements are potentially strengthening and bolstering impact assessment, planning, and decision making practice through the delivery of evidence-based, spatially robust, and transparent information. There are also indications that they can influence coordination of procedures and governance dynamics – as also made evident by the health crisis. Can we learn from past and recent experiences and take a more proactive approach to effectively making use of the growing flow of spatio-temporal data and technological innovation to enhance assessments and decisions? Would this contribute to taking better environmental action?

Against the backdrop of digital and technological progress and increasing global environmental, health and social challenges, this conference aims to explore related scientific, technological, and governance developments to reflect on whether the impact assessment community is getting any smarter at bridging the science and art of impact assessment. Are we exploiting the full potential of smart technologies and big data? Are we communicating scientific information appropriately across the various governance tiers and to all relevant players? Do we understand what the “right” information is for decision-makers and, indeed, how data and methodological innovation are influencing decisions? Is this leading to a new era of impact assessment and thinking? Or do we remain in the status quo?

These and some other contemporary questions will help address how we can make best use of scientific innovation to address pressing global and local challenges.

Conference FORMAT

This virtual conference will take place over four days, with each day featuring interactive live sessions and many concurrent pre-recorded sessions from which to choose. Check out the Virtual Event Platform for more details about the interactive event platform, delegate networking opportunities, exhibits, and more.

The conference will be structured in 10 thematic streams:

  • The role of impact assessment in addressing global challenges

  • Technology, data, and innovation: A move towards better global coordination in addressing pressing challenges

  • Decision impacts: How is impact assessment truly influencing decisions?

  • Strengthening the effectiveness of impact assessment through collaboration

  • Efficient communication for streamlining processes

  • Big data analytics for tackling the biodiversity crisis

  • Impact assessment and management through technological advancements including online tools

  • Information overload and impact assessment: Effectively communicating risks and uncertainties

  • Tackling contemporary environmental issues: The contribution of smart technologies to monitoring

  • Investment and financing for environmental protection

Discussions will also address general IA topics and the IAIA special-interest Sections.

About Your Host

  • EIA

    Founded in 1992, the Spanish Association for Environmental Impact Assessment (AEEIA) is a non-profi t organization for environmental practitioners in Spain.

    It is a membership-based organization that:

    • Organizes the national EIA conference every two years.
    • Advocates for good practice environmental management.
    • Accredits academic training for those seeking to enter the profession.
    • Publishes technical books and documents dealing with environmental assessment.

    Its membership is drawn from all areas of environmental practice, and includes practitioners from industry, government and academia. For more information, visit

IAIA21 UPDATE: A MESSAGE FROM Executive Director David Bancroft

Read David's message

Important Dates

  • 13 July 2020
    Deadline for session proposals
  • 24 August 2020
    Paper and poster abstract submission opens
  • 29 October 2020
    Deadline for submission of paper and poster abstracts
  • 30 November 2020
    Authors notified of paper or poster acceptance status
  • 15 December 2020
    Registration opened
  • Early 2021-date to be confirmed
    Preliminary program and event platform details posted
  • 4 February 2021
    Registration and payment deadline for presenters and all individuals to be listed in the final program and proceedings (No exceptions.)
  • 11 March 2021
    Early Bird registration deadline
  • 11 May 2021
    Registration deadline
  • 14 May 2021
    Deadline for draft papers
  • 30 June 2021
    Deadline for final papers
  • 30 July 2021
    Papers posted online