Session Topics & Descriptions


Session Title

Session Description

Principles to practice showcase: cases and examples

Open invitation to showcase examples of MH in action. Cases may illustrate how overall mitigation strategies have been developed, or focus on individual MH steps of Avoid, Minimise, Restore, Offset. Do we have standards, principles, policy requirements and outcome objectives right? Application of MH within different industrial sectors with different goals.

Advantages and techniques of MH implementation throughout IA process

An opportunity to discuss challenges, share successes, obtain feedback and contribute to a growing community of practice that is mainstreaming the MH within IA - presentations welcome on examples of how the requirements of MH application influences methods throughout the phases of impact assessment based on good practice principles - from scoping and alternatives analysis to mitigation action plans. Also to include mechanisms for ensuring that planned mitigation measures are implemented in practice. Key aspects of biodiversity assessments/work that IAIA practitioners would be expected to deliver will be covered to enable a review/discussion of good practice and share that with the community. How to move on from one step to the next, scenario analysis, when to reiterate; recording the decision narrative. Decision windows. Aligning timelines - CSBI Timeline tool will be discussed and improved here.

Deep dive: data, methods, tools and models

An opportunity to learn how data, techniques, tools and models have been developed and used to support implementation of the MH within IA, whether at strategic or project-level. Presentations about new and emerging datasets, approaches and methods are most welcome.

Case studies invited on subjects including: 1) mapping habitat importance for biodiversity and ecosystem services (e.g. natural vs modified vs critical in the PS6 case); 2) identifying, documenting and mapping priority biodiversity values; 3) Critical Habitat Assessment (+ DMUs in the case of PS6); 4) BAPs and BMPs; 5) common/avoidable mistakes we see in ESAPs/BAPs; 6) Effecting engineering design change - lessons learned on collaboration with engineers and how to best present information that they can act on to achieve appropriate early avoidance or minimisation.

We invite a dedicated session on biodiversity accounting - impact & monitoring baselines, metrics & currencies, empirical versus expert estimation accounting methods, science vs informed pragmatism. How to ensure we have the minimum viable information for applying MH from design to adaptive management: baseline ToR, priority values impact assessment, loss-gain scenario analysis & forecasting; management planning, monitoring, adaptive management.

What a priori avoidance rules are appropriate given weaknesses in underlying data; at what point do uncertainty or data gaps signal a no-go?

Stakeholder engagement and participation

Appropriate stakeholder engagement is one of the most common gaps in biodiversity management practice (affected communities questions are largely dealt with under the Ecosystem Services session). Illustrated examples invited on how to best consult, integrate and employ stakeholders (e.g. experts, NGOs, government) throughout impact analysis, assessment & mitigation implementation processes. Biodiversity stakeholders often have capacity and information that companies and impact assessors need but rarely know if/how to get. Lessons learned from collaborations and what is expected, how to document would be welcome.

Beyond project level - incorporating cumulative or indirect effects and applying the MH at a strategic level

Presentations sought on mitigating and managing cumulative impacts. Presentations welcome on experiences of successes and challenges in planning for strategic MH implementation at the socio-ecological scales that cumulative impacts are driven or take place, focusing on avoidance, restoration and offsetting. Presentations also welcome on applying the MH to induced & indirect impacts and whether different approaches or methods are needed. Also, an expected coverage of the challenges of building a constituency for agreeing mitigation responsibilities and the public-private partnership approach required to apply the mitigation hierarchy fully at the strategic (beyond project) level.

The Offset step: implementing commensurate and lasting interventions

Presentations welcome on examples of successes or failure in all areas of offset design or implementation, including: integrating feasible and viable design within IA process - technical, ecological, financial, social and political aspects; financial, legal & governance arrangements for singular or aggregated offsets; offsets costing; offsets and livelihoods/traditional values - synergies & conflicts, dealing with leakage.

Ecosystem Services – mind the gap

Experiences in applying the MH to Ecosystem Services. How to achieve effective integration of biodiversity and social considerations and specialist teams within the IA process. Highlight links of ES assessment to mainstream social impact assessment methods, and the value-add of this; examples of ES work that fully integrated social experts are welcome. Topics of interest include: frameworks & methods for assessing community or project dependencies and impacts; synergies & conflicts between protection of ES benefits and of biodiversity.

Defining the business case

How are tangible and intangible costs and benefits of implementing the mitigation hierarchy accounted for and evaluated? Exploring the role of cost-benefit & multi-criteria analyses and stakeholder engagement to inform project decisions on how much emphasis is placed on different MH stages (e.g. trade offs between avoidance and offsetting).



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Institutional Partners
Institutional Partners IAIA Special Symposium Mainstreaming the Mitigation Hierarchy in Impact Assessment