Environmental Procedures - 22 CFR 216

Mission environmental officers are appointed by the Mission Director. Mission environmental officers assist and advise mission staff and their implementing partners and contractors in preparing documents on new activities and monitoring compliance on ongoing activities, in accordance with the Code of Federal Regulations (22 CFR 216, “Environmental Procedures”).

While the mission environmental officer assists and advises on environmental requirements, the strategic objective team leader and activity managers share the responsibility and accountability for meeting environmental requirements. The ultimate responsibility is with the Mission Director. Typically, mission environmental officer duties are only part of the full range of tasks of a USAID staff position.

Regional environmental advisors are typically based in select missions and support all the field offices in their geographic regions. Regional environmental advisors provide supplementary professional support, training, compliance auditing, compliance evaluations, and regional coordination on 22 CFR 216 matters to Mission Directors, strategic objective teams, activity managers, and mission environmental officers.

Bureau environmental officers are based in Washington, DC, and oversee and monitor compliance with 22 CFR 216 across all operating units in the bureau. The bureau environmental officer decides and approves all 22 CFR 216 documents and ensures that all staff in his or her bureau are aware of and trained in 22 CFR 216 procedures and standards.

The Initial Environmental Examination is the first step in USAID’s environmental assessment process. The Initial Environmental Examination is a document that details the effects of a proposed action on the environment. It evaluates the program activities with respect to environmental impact potential and establishes mitigation actions, including the monitoring and evaluation required from project design through implementation. The Initial Environmental Examination also determines the threshold decision, which is a formal agency assessment that determines whether a proposed agency action is a major action significantly affecting the environment. Threshold decisions are divided into the following categories:

  • Categorical Exclusion (no risk of environmental impact).
  • Negative Determination without Conditions (no impacts).
  • Negative Determination with Conditions (some risk of environmental impact).
  • Positive Determination (significant risk of environmental impact).
  • Deferral (activity is not developed enough to make a determination).

If sufficient detail is available at the time of development of the Initial Environmental Examination, this document also establishes environmental baseline data to be collected before activities commence.

Environmental Review documents are completed by implementing partners when specific project locations and activities are further defined after the contract is awarded and more detailed analysis is needed. These documents can include a variety of assessments, but they are meant to determine the scope and extent of additional environmental evaluation, mitigation, and monitoring necessary to fulfill Federal environmental requirements.

Environmental Mitigation and Monitoring Plans detail the measures required by the Initial Environmental Examination or the Environmental Review documents that will be implemented to lessen (or mitigate) any potential environmental impacts of an activity. These plans determine indicators or criteria for monitoring their implementation and effectiveness, and lay out who is responsible for mitigation and monitoring, as well as the frequency with which mitigation and monitoring data will be reported to mission staff.

Although compliance with USAID’s environmental requirements is mandatory, the internal processes by which missions and strategic objective teams must meet these requirements are largely unspecified. Each strategic objective team or operating unit is expected to develop its own processes or system.

Source:  AUDIT REPORT NO. 9-000-10-004-P MARCH 9, 2010

This information is derived from audit reports of the Office of the Inspector General. The source refers to the audit report, which is available on this site as part of the Audit Database Project: an educational tool for compliance with USAID regulations.  Please see the disclaimer of this site before using this information.

Tags: Environmental Assessments

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