Course #14: Socio-Environmental Risks in Infrastructure Development





All around the world, the emergence of socio-environmental conflicts during the execution of infrastructure projects has caused cost overruns and/or significant delays in their completion and, in extreme cases, their cancellation. Therefore, the course has two main aims:

1) Analyze and discuss with participants the environmental and social impacts and risks that should be assessed in the planning and design stages of an infrastructure project in order to detect restrictions that, if not addressed in a timely manner, would threaten the construction program or operation of the project.

2) Close the understanding gap between strategic decision makers, on the one hand, and experts in impact assessment, on the other, by exposing the basic structural characteristics of the languages of each group in order to facilitate communication between both groups and all interested parties.

Topics to be covered and discussed with the participants:

  • Socio-environmental and economic conflicts in infrastructure projects
  • Mega-projects and their environmental and social effects
  • Sustainability and impact assessment • Introduction to SIA and management
  • Ecosystem services
  • Systems thinking and uncertainty/risk in decision making
  • Hierarchical approach for addressing environmental issues throughout the development of projects
  • A practical exercise on the assessment of sustainable infrastructure.


Attendees should end up enriched by the group discussions and taking home a lot to think about and apply daily.
Level: Intermediate
Prerequisites: Should work or have worked in the planning, design or construction of infrastructure projects, making key decisions about their environmental, social and economic feasibility.
Language: Spanish
Duration: 2 days (24-25 May)
Price: US$575
Min/Max: 10-35

Luis E. Montañez-Cartaxo, CEO of the Services Center for Energy and Sustainability, ENE-SUS (Mexico)

Francisco Javier Díaz-Perea, Independent consultant (Mexico)


Luis E. Montañez-Cartaxo is the CEO of the consulting firm ENE-SUS, which specializes in sustainability, environmental and social impacts assessment, and risk analysis. He is a civil engineer with a Master’s degree in soil mechanics, and diplomas in environmental technology and management, and business management.

From 1992 to 2010 he was Vice-Manager of Environmental Impact Assessment in the Federal Commission of Electricity (CFE). It was at CFE that Luis had the opportunity to promote and carry out various institutional initiatives, such as: the first pilot exercise on SEA of the Mexican electricity system planning; monitoring of environmental and social impacts of electricity works; organization of regular symposia on the sustainability of the electricity sector; and the production of guidelines on the background of EISs, specifically geared to senior and middle officials of the company. Prior to 1992, he worked as a geotechnical engineer in CFE (1984-1992), in a consulting firm (1980-1983), and at the Institute of Engineering, UNAM (1973-1980).

Luis has been a member of IAIA since 2000; he is the current President of the Board of Directors, and was also a Director from 2006 to 2010.  He was Conference Chair of the organizing committee for the 2011 annual conference, IAIA11. Luis is also a member of the International Society of Sustainability Professionals and the Mexican Council for Impact Assessment (COMIMPACT), among other associations.

Luis has published 54 technical papers on environmental, planning and geotechnical issues, has edited the proceedings of seven technical meetings, and has been a trainer in several courses. He has been speaker, organizer, panelist and/or secretary at 87 conferences, courses and workshops. Some of his contributions have been: Models and perspectives of EIA in the world; The relationship between environment and energy; What lies behind an EIS?; Critical aspects of EIA; EIA in infrastructure projects: the case of Mexico; SEA in the Mexican electricity sector; and Sustainability in infrastructure planning.


Francisco Javier Díaz-Perea studied biology at the National Polytechnic Institute (1983), received a Master’s in Ecology and Environmental Sciences at the National University of Mexico (1994), and holds a Ph.D. on Ecology and Management of Natural Resources from the Institute of Ecology (2014). He additionally holds a diploma on Environmental Politics from the National Institute of Public Administration (2003).

Francisco is a consultant in socio-environmental issues and planning of projects. He has coordinated three Environmental Impact Assessments, and as a part of environmental and social due diligence, he has participated in the revision of the environmental legal issues for photovoltaic projects, a landfill project and a jetty project. He participates in the project Integralidad Gama: Big Data Ambiental, which is coordinated by the Institute of Ecology.  Francisco was an instructor in the 2018 IAIA endorsed course, Risks due to not Incorporating Environmental and Social Issues in Project Planning.

Francisco worked at the Federal Commission of Electricity (CFE) from 1990 to 2015 and was Vice-Manager of Environmental Impact Assessment. In CFE, he directed strategic environmental assessments of energy infrastructure programs, prepared technical documents for the environmental assessment of programs, and delivered courses for CFE technical staff. Before working in CFE, he was a professor at Chapingo University (1987-1990) and the National Polytechnical Institute (1983-1986).

Francisco has been a member of IAIA from 2011 to 2019 and has published 10 technical papers on environmental issues in conference proceedings and journals.