A Conceptual Analysis of Environmental Justice Approaches: Procedural Environmental Justice in the EIA Process in South Africa and Zambia

  • Pamela Towela Sambo

Student thesis: Phd


The Abstract of thesis submitted to the School of Law of The University of Manchester by Pamela Towela Sambo 7160514 for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in April 2012 is entitled "A Conceptual Analysis of Environmental Justice Approaches: Procedural Environmental Justice in the EIA Process in South Africa and Zambia."This study argues that the basis of all environmental justice variations is the consideration of fairness, equity and justice in the environmental processes that resolve environmental problems. A Procedural Environmental Justice Model (PEJM) has been developed for the purpose of evaluating the procedural environmental justice content of Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) legislation in South Africa and Zambia. EIA as a tool for mitigating adverse environmental impacts arising from development activities aims at identifying, predicting, evaluating and mitigating the bio-physical, social, and other relevant effects of development proposals prior to major decisions being taken. This makes it an apt case study for evaluating how procedural environmental justice works. The PEJM developed in this thesis is important because it can be used as a mechanism for evaluating how procedural environmental justice works in practice. Apart from developing the PEJM, this research provides an in- depth evaluation of procedural environmental justice and proceeds, in a novel manner, to focus on South Africa and Zambia. The concept of environmental justice originates from the civil liberties campaigns of the 1960s and the more recent Environmental Justice Movement in the United States. It was historically concerned with widespread distributive inequalities which manifested as discrimination mainly on the basis of race and economic status in environmental matters. In more recent years, environmental justice concerns have become more profound owing to the diversity and gravity of global environmental problems such as global warming and climate change, natural resources depletion and widespread air and water pollution. The effects of these global environmental problems have been predicted to affect inhabitants of developing countries more than those of the developed ones, thereby emphasising procedural environmental justice concerns.This research shows that in the present day environmental parlance, environmental justice should be increasingly used to connote inclusiveness in addressing global, national and grassroots environmental problems. There has been a distinct tendency to move beyond the traditional description of environmental justice as being distributive, or primarily concerned with the allocation of environmental advantages and disadvantages. This is due to the realisation that distributive environmental justice aspects are inadequate in addressing historical and present day environmental challenges. This research emphasises that environmental justice incorporates procedural, corrective and social aspects of justice. The promotion of inclusive participation or procedural environmental justice transcends all conceptions of the concept. Therefore, in order to promote environmental justice, environmental legislation must focus on procedural features that incorporate effective public participation mechanisms.
Date of Award31 Dec 2012
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorCarolyn Abbot (Supervisor)


  • environmental law, environmental justice, procedural environmental justice, Zambia, South Africa
  • Environmental impact assessment (EIA), Environmental Management Act of Zambia

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