International Association for Impact Assessment

Results are in: Second survey on “Impact of COVID-19 on Impact Assessment"

  • Blog post by Executive Director David Bancroft

    Results are in:  Second survey on “Impact of COVID-19 on Impact Assessment

    Dear IAIA Members and Friends:

    The results are in from the second survey on “Impact of COVID-19 on Impact Assessment,” which was conducted in late July through early August. It had responses from over 700 individuals, while the first survey conducted in May 2020 had over 900 participants. We appreciate having so many respondents to both surveys – thank you. While we are still working on a comprehensive analysis of both surveys, we wanted to provide you with some highlights in this summary document.

    The demographics of the surveys were similar. Women were 42% of the respondents in each survey, and while in the first survey 67% of all respondents were 54 or younger, that number dropped to 62% in the second. Regional representation was similar as well, with the largest representation being from Africa both times, with 31% of total respondents in the first survey and 26% in the 2nd survey.

    Some notable results from the survey include:

    • 75% considered it very or extremely important to use the impact assessment processes to evaluate and provide oversight of proposed COVID-19 recovery programs and projects.
    • 48% felt that regulations, standards, and policies will be relaxed temporarily to stimulate the economy, or will be diluted permanently to address COVID-19 (which nearly matches the 49% of the first survey).
    • A plurality of respondents indicated that promoting integrated impact assessment was the most important way that impact assessment could reduce future disease outbreaks, with 34% preferring integrated impact assessment and cumulative effects, and 17% wanting expanded environmental assessment incorporating factors of risk.

    Travel restrictions are continuing to have an impact on impact assessment work, but it appears the ability to work remotely has improved the situation. Respondents who work remotely/at home were 36% and 39% in the first and second surveys, respectively. However, there was a notable drop in the number who found travel restrictions making their more work difficult, from 30% in the first survey to 20%in the second.

    Positive feelings about the pandemic stayed pretty constant, with 54% being able to spend more time with family compared to 56% in the first survey. It looks like the other piece of good news is that the immediate overwhelming of families by COVID-19 seems to have subsided, with 74% of respondents in the first survey saying they were providing direct support to relatives, organizations, and others in need dropping to 40% in the second.

    Respondents provided substantial feedback about how IAIA may help impact assessment professionals by providing additional services. Most of the recommendations are being considered, except for the one about IAIA’s providing members with better and more reliable internet service. (We are good – but not that good!) Additional webinar and training are certainly on the horizon. Now that IAIA knows it can take positions, we may use our voice to advocate for increased utilization of impact assessment processes with both public and private sector leaders. Also, we can accomplish more in partnership with other organizations than we can alone, so we may use the results of the survey to reach out to corporations, financial institutions, and civil society to build alliances that amplify our message. Watch this space for coming announcements.

    Lastly, I want to thank that team that has headed up the survey effort: Charles Kelly, Charlotte Bingham, Susie Brownlie, Peter Croal, Wes Fisher, Jo Treweek, and Bridget John. In this space in the coming weeks, you will see topical blogs shedding more light on the survey results.

    Be well and stay safe.

    Sincerely,

    David Bancroft

    Executive Director

    Tracking How Impact Assessment is Affecting the Practice and Profession of Impact Assessment

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