The launch of Online Registration for Environmental Assessment Practitioners (EAPs) is a historic moment that marks the formalization of a vigorous and growing environmental profession.

This is according to Chairperson and Board of the Environmental Assessment Practitioners Association of South Africa (EAPASA) Snowy Makhudu who on Tuesday announced the launch of the EAPs.

The Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) process is a crucial mechanism used to regulate the impact of development activities.

The Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) as well as Provincial Environmental departments are responsible for EIA processes and ensuring the timely and accurate execution of EIA’s. Environmental Impact Assessment has been compulsory in South Africa since 1997.

“Since the emergence of an environmental assessment (EA) as a distinct discipline in the 1970s, South Africans have earned praise internationally for making significant contributions to EA theory and practice.

“South Africa is about to embark on an initiative that is – on the available evidence – the first legally-based compulsory EAP Register in the world,” Makhudu said.

The new EIA regulations, in terms of the National Environmental Management Act (NEMA) came into effect on 3 July 2006.

The regulations sought to streamline the process while addressing concerns raised by stakeholders over timeframes, duplication, and inter-governmental cooperation.

EAPs will have access to an online registration system for entering their qualifications and work experience to prove competence for registration at www.eapasa.org.

The objectives of EAPASA include assuring the public, authorities, and developers that practitioners are competent and ethical; to promote the progressive transformation and restructuring of the profession such that it is representative of the demographics of the country, focusing specifically on support for candidate black people, women, youth and people with disabilities as well as to promote general awareness of the purpose and practice of environmental assessment in South Africa.