International Association for Impact Assessment

About IAIA

  • Impact assessment, simply defined, is the process of identifying the future consequences of a current or proposed action.

    IAIA is the International Association for Impact Assessment, the leading global network on best practice in the use of impact assessment for informed decision making regarding policies, programs, plans and projects.

    IAIA was organized in 1980 to bring together researchers, practitioners, and users of various types of impact assessment from all parts of the world. IAIA involves people from many disciplines and professions. Our members include corporate planners and managers, public interest advocates, government planners and administrators, private consultants and policy analysts, university and college teachers and their students.

    IAIA activities seek to (1) develop approaches and practices for comprehensive and integrated impact assessment, (2) improve assessment procedures and methods for practical application, (3) promote training of impact assessment and public understanding of the field, (4) provide professional quality assurance by peer review and other means, and (5) share information networks, timely publications, and professional meetings.

  • IAIA Members

    IAIA members number more than 1,700 and represent over 120 countries.  An additional 3000+ members are represented by IAIA Affiliates, active in Brazil, Cameroon, Germany, Ghana, Iran, Italy, Korea, Mozambique, New Zealand, Nigeria, Ontario (Canada), Portugal, Quebec (Canada), South Africa, Spain, Western & Northern Canada and Zambia.

    read more
  • IAIA Events

    IAIA's international conferences are held annually around the world and regularly welcome over 700 participants. Regional symposia are organized to make information exchange and networking opportunities available to those who might not be able to attend the international conferences, as well as to focus attention to specific issues.

    read more
  • IAIA Resources

    IAIA offers a variety of resources to help share best practices in the field of impact assessment.  Check out the numerous publications (including the widely-acclaimed professional journal, Impact Assessment and Project Appraisal), training opportunities, videos, Career Central jobs board, news blog, and more.

    read more
  • Ethical Responsibilities

    IAIA is committed to ethical and professional practice in all its operations. The statements on the following pages represent the foundational philosophy that underpins all IAIA activities and should inform the practice of its members. IAIA encourages the professional development of its members and environmental professionals and industry generally by providing a range of documents on best practice in impact assessment and related topics. These can be accessed online at > Publications.

    Click "read more" below to find out more about these ethical responsibilities:

    Professional Responsibilities: IAIA as an organization promotes the ethical and professional practice of its staff and members.

    Business Operations: To give effect to the IAIA value of promoting sustainability in the Association's business practices, the Association has adopted an internal policy to guide its activities.

    Professional Code of Conduct: IAIA encourages its members to make a personal pledge of commitment to a Professional Code of Conduct.

    read more

History of IAIA

  • The United States' National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) was signed into law on 1 January 1970.  It requires federal agencies to integrate environmental values into their decision making processes by considering the environmental impacts of their proposed actions and reasonable alternatives to those actions.  To meet NEPA requirements, U.S. federal agencies prepare a detailed statement known as an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).  It was the enforcement of this piece of legislation that provided the impetus for the creation of IAIA.

    In 1980, Charlie Wolf, Fred Rossini, and Alan Porter chaired an all-day session on integrated impact assessment for the American Association for the Advancement of Science's (AAAS) annual conference in San Francisco.

    During one of the sessions at the 1980 AAAS conference, Rossini, Porter, and Wolf discussed creating an impact assessment association.  The discussion continued over dinner in Chinatown.  At the end of the meal, fortune cookies were served.  The piece of paper inside Wolf's cookie read "you will do well to expand your business"— and the decision to begin the International Association for Impact Assessment was made.  The intent was to bring together all who were responsible for and figuring out how to conduct assessments which would meet the NEPA requirements for Environmental Impact Assessment. 

  • IAIA was incorporated in 1980 in the state of Georgia, USA, where Porter lived and worked.  Its first meeting was held in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, in January, 1981.  Porter was the first Executive Director, serving from 1981 to 1988.  Maurie Voland of Belhaven, North Carolina, USA, took over as Executive Director in 1988 and served in a part-time position until 1995.  The Headquarters of IAIA moved to North Dakota State University (NDSU) in Fargo, North Dakota, in 1995, when the Board appointed Rita Hamm as its Executive Director.  In 1999, the IAIA Headquarters moved off of the NDSU campus to its current independent location at 1330 23rd Street South, Suite C, Fargo, ND, USA.   IAIA HQ operates with six full-time employees.

IAIA History