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Integrated Environmental Management (IEM)

( Article Type: Explanation )

Integrated environmental management (IEM) is a philosophy that is concerned with finding the right balance (sometimes called the 'golden mean') between development and the environment.

It provides a framework of published guidelines (available from the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism) to ensure that environmental considerations are taken into account at every stage of the life of a project, process or policy.


Example of Integrated Environmental Management

IEM considers the environmental elements in a 'cradle to grave' concept (i.e. from the inception of the idea right through to the decommissioning or the end of the project).

IEM is used in looking at, for example, the environmental impact of converting grazing land to the growing of wheat (project) It also looks at the environmental impact of increasing the wheat price (policy), which may encourage more marginal land to be put under wheat. In addition, it considers the impact of assistance programmes, such as the implications of encouraging new wheat farms (programmes).



The difference between IEM and an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is that IEM is a whole philosophy whereas EIA is just one tool or technique used to gather and analyse environmental information that is a part of the IEM process.


Did you know?  

IEM forms a part of the White Paper on Environmental Management Policy in South Africa and has been written into the National Environmental Management Act (No. 107 of 1998) and is thus formally and legally recognised.

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