Add your Insight
11 September 2020
Impact Assessment and Project Appraisal
Special Issue Editor(s)
Thomas B Fischer,
Environmental Assessment and management Research Centre, University of Liverpool, UK
Institute for Landscape Development, Recreation and Conservation Planning, BOKU Vienna, Austria
Pandemics, Planning and Impact Assessment
We are currently experiencing one of the most disruptive global pandemics many of us have seen in their lifetimes. This disruption does not only involve aspects surrounding the direct health consequences of the virus which is at the heart of it (COVID-19), but also substantial social and economic disturbance. Many countries across the globe have put in place mandatory stay-at-home measures, closing kindergartens, schools, businesses, and public places, thus implementing ‘lock-downs’.
Whilst the loss of life due to COVID-19 is tragic, there are numerous other impacts that are yet to be fully understood, including economic, social and environmental impacts. For example, many people have and will lose jobs and the World Bank estimates that 40-60 million people will be pushed into extreme poverty. Also, there are numerous health issues that go beyond the virus, including e.g. those related to mental health or domestic violence. Finally, we are seeing countries starting to reverse environmental rules with the intention to restart economies more quickly without having to adhere to ambitious environmental conditions.
Countries have reacted differently to COVID-19. Some have closed off regions (China), whilst others have literally quarantined their whole country with respect to the rest of the world (New Zealand). Some reacted late (thinking they would not be affected seriously), but then decisively, including many continental European countries, whilst yet others initially – and deliberately – went for what is called ‘herd immunity’ (the US and the UK) and then implemented very late shut-downs. Finally, there are countries with altogether different strategies, including Sweden, which is keeping e.g. schools and businesses open, but implementing some social distancing measures with the aim of slowly achieving immunity in the population, or South Korea which has an extensive testing, track and trace regime. Finally, there are countries like Brazil, where Federal government rejects any ‘lock-downs’ but where e.g. states are implementing various risk reduction measures. Whilst to date, we have observed very different death rates in different countries (which appear to be connected with different types of reactions), long term consequences will only become fully clear in the months and years to come.
With regards to how different countries have been and are reacting, we have a number of questions for this special issue which we hope some of you will engage with. All of our questions are connected with either the real or potential role of impact assessment, including:
How did your country (or a country / countries you know well) react and what was the basis for the reaction and the measures put in place? A pandemic strategy? A public Health Emergency Plan? Advice by particular virologists or other experts? An interdisciplinary task force with members from different disciplines? Something else (e.g. a particular political approach or a combination of approaches)? Who acted and who led the process? National government? Regions? Municipalities? Did any type of impact assessment (e.g. of a pandemic strategy) play a role? Or was an IA based approach supporting those devising responses? If IA doesn’t feature, what potentially role do you think IA could have played and what difference do you think IA could have made?
Furthermore, we’d like to know what impacts to date have been observed, with regards to e.g. health, economic and other impacts? Were any predictions made and have those been accurate? What are expected to be the long term impacts? Are any assessments of impacts of measures prepared and if yes, what disciplines contribute and what data are being used?
Finally, we would like to hear your assessment of what we can learn with regards to (a) possible IA of pandemic strategies and (b) IA in more standard situations, including for example in land-use and transport planning. What lessons should we take on board as IA practitioners? If you want to reply to these or you have other relevant questions, please send an EoI by 19 June 2020 to either Thomas B Fischer ([email protected]) or Alexandra Jiricka-Pürrer (a[email protected]), specifying author(s), affiliation, email, draft title and brief summary (circa 300 words) of the intended paper.
Looking to Publish your Research?
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All papers should comply with the general style of the papers published in Impact Assessment and Project Appraisal (IAPA). Please get a sense of the style of the journal by considering some of the latest papers published in IAPA.
For this special issue we particularly welcome shorter ‘letters’ that are up to about 2,000 words.
For other details, please consult the instructions for authors on the journal website.
The milestones and timelines for the special issue are as follows:
• Closing Date for Expressions of Interest – 19 June 2020
• Closing Date for receipt of full papers – 31 July 2020
• Closing date for return of final referee reports – 18 September 2020
• Revisions made by authors and papers returned to editors – 16 October 2020
• Round 2 revisions requested and returned, as required – November 2020
• Proof reading of page proofs from publisher completed – December 2020
• Publication – beginning of 2021
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