The Wetland Book pp 2077-2082 | Cite as

Social Impact Assessment for Wetlands

  • Frank VanclayEmail author
Reference work entry


Social impact assessment (SIA) comprises the processes of analyzing, monitoring, and managing the social consequences of planned interventions, such as projects, plans, programs, or policies. SIA arose alongside environmental impact assessment (EIA) in the early 1970s to focus on the social (rather than biophysical environmental) impacts. Social impacts are changes that occur as a result of the planned intervention to how people live, work, play, and interact with one another, their culture, community and political systems, their environment, health and well-being, personal and property rights, and their fears and aspirations. SIA consists of an analysis of the communities likely to be affected by the planned intervention (stakeholder analysis), and collection of baseline data to enable measurement of change over time. Alternative options for the intervention and for mitigating potential impacts are identified. A monitoring plan to monitor change over time is developed and an adaptive management process to address unanticipated changes is implemented. An agreement making process between the communities and the developer should be facilitated, including an Impacts and Benefits Agreement (IBA) and a Social Impact Management Plan (SIMP). Finally, processes should be put in place to enable proponents, government authorities, and civil society stakeholders to implement arrangements implied in the SIMP and IBA and to incorporate management action plans into their own organizations. A grievance mechanism should be established to ensure that people with complaints against the proponent have a mechanism by which their concerns can be heard and resolved.


Social impact assessment Social licence to operate Social performance Free, prior and informed consent Human rights 


  1. Esteves AM, Franks D, Vanclay F. Social impact assessment: the state of the art. Impact Asses Project Apprais. 2012;30(1):35–44.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Esteves AM, Vanclay F. Social development needs analysis as a tool for SIA to guide corporate-community investment: applications in the minerals industry. Environ Impact Assess Rev. 2009;29(2):137–45.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Franks D, Vanclay F. Social impact management plans: innovation in corporate and public policy. Environ Impact Assess Rev. 2013;43:40–8.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Hanna P, Vanclay F. Human rights, Indigenous peoples and the concept of free, prior and informed consent. Impact Asses Project Apprais. 2013;31(2):146–57.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. João E, Vanclay F, den Broeder L. Emphasising enhancement in all forms of impact assessment: introduction to a special issue. Impact Asses Project Apprais. 2011;29(3):170–80.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Kemp D, Vanclay F. Human rights and impact assessment: clarifying the connections in practice. Impact Asses Project Apprais. 2013;31(2):86–96.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Slootweg R, Vanclay F, van Schooten M. Function evaluation as a framework for the integration of social and environmental impact assessment. Impact Asses Project Apprais. 2001;19(1):19–28.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. United Nations. Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights: Implementing the United Nations “Protect, Respect and Remedy” Framework. United Nations Human Rights Council 2011. UN Doc. HR/PUB/11/04.Google Scholar
  9. Vanclay F. Conceptualising social impacts. Environ Impact Assesst Rev. 2002;22(3):183–211.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Vanclay F. International principles for social impact assessment. Impact Asses Project Apprais. 2003;21(1):5–11.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Vanclay F. The potential application of social impact assessment in integrated coastal zone management. Ocean Coast Manag. 2012;68:149–56.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Vanclay F, editor. Developments in social impact assessment. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar; 2014.Google Scholar
  13. Vanclay F, Esteves AM. Current issues and trends in social impact assessment. In: Vanclay F, Esteves AM, editors. New directions in social impact assessment: conceptual and methodological advances. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar; 2011. p. 3–19.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Cultural GeographyUniversity of GroningenGroningenThe Netherlands

Personalised recommendations