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Cantillo Carrero, Andrea Maria, 2019. Engaging the plurality of values in the improvement of the Environmental Impact Assessment in Colombia : what’s the problem represented to be of the Colombian Environmental License Process?. Second cycle, A2E. Uppsala: SLU, Dept. of Urban and Rural Development



The Environmental License Process in Colombia is the tool which is used to decide if a project that will impact the environment of the country can take place, and under which requirements. The decision is made by assessing the impacts that potential projects can have in the environment and surrounding communities, presented in the Environmental Impact Assessment by companies who are interested in developing the project. However, due to the development of projects in the country, there continues to be numerous environmental impacts. For this reason studies have been done to identify which aspects in the process need to be worked on for the process to improve, which look into the implementation of the legislation that rules the process and compare it with internationally considered Environmental Impact Assessment best practices.

In this study, based on practice theory, I argue that in order to have a better understanding on why the process is not fulfilling its purpose, the views of the actors who take part in it need to be studied. I studied the problem representations which lie behind the proposals of improvement given by individuals from Environmental Authorities, Environmental Consultants and Non-Governmental Organizations through the use of Bacchi’s ‘What’s the problem represented to be?’ approach, which serves as a methodological and theoretical framework.

The representations identified do not compete against each other and make reference to: the process’ structures, the environmental impact assessment process, the decision making process, and the practitioners’ compliance with their responsibilities. They are a reflection of the actors’ responsibilities in the process and their interactions with other actors in it. It is seen that they were built under the assumptions that Colombian organizations cannot be trusted and that there is a need for more transparent accountability. Similarly, they are built under a discontent with the letter of the law being prioritized over the spirit of the law and the way participation is currently perceived in the process. However, not enough attention was given to the lack of governance in some regions of the country which affects the implementation of any measure to be taken. Lastly, the majority of representations gave the responsibility to an external actor; a situation which I argue to be problematic as it robs the practitioners from the power they have as agents to affect the process.

Main title:Engaging the plurality of values in the improvement of the Environmental Impact Assessment in Colombia
Subtitle:what’s the problem represented to be of the Colombian Environmental License Process?
Authors:Cantillo Carrero, Andrea Maria
Supervisor:Raitio, Kaisa
Examiner:Westberg, Lotten
Volume/Sequential designation:UNSPECIFIED
Year of Publication:2019
Level and depth descriptor:Second cycle, A2E
Student's programme affiliation:NM026 Environmental communication and management - Master's programme
Supervising department:(NL, NJ) > Dept. of Urban and Rural Development
(LTJ, LTV) > Dept. of Urban and Rural Development
Keywords:problem representations, practice, power, environmental impact assessment, environmental license process, environmental authorities, environmental consultants, non-governmental organizations, assumptions, effects, what’s the problem represented to be
Permanent URL:
Subject. Use of subject categories until 2023-04-30.:Legislation
Nature conservation and land resources
Deposited On:15 May 2019 10:39
Metadata Last Modified:04 Jun 2020 12:50

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