The process of environmental impact assessment started at the beginning of the 1970s. During the following years, general interest in environmental management has steadily increased in both developed and developing countries. During this period, the awareness of the importance of environmental protection and our knowledge of the complex and dynamic inter relationships between environment and development issues has improved significantly as well.
Neither developed nor developing countries form homogeneous groups in terms of their approaches to environmental management or the progress they have made in managing their environment. Generally speaking, formal assessment as an integral part of national efforts to manage the environment properly is less advanced in developing countries compared to the Western nations. The environmental conditions in many countries in transition are also different. Overall, most countries now require an environmental assessment of all major development projects. However, the actual implementation of this policy varies significantly from one country to another, and some times even from one part to another within the same country. Furthermore, it should be noted that whereas some developing countries, such as the Philippines, required environmental impact assessments of major development projects as early as in 1977, a few important industrialized countries, such as the Federal Republic of Germany, institutionalized similar requirements only about a decade later.
Numerous developing countries have already made EIA mandatory for clearance of projects. Organizations such as the World Bank and Intervii