Seminars and conferences

Members of the IMPERIA working group frequently presented the aims and results of the project both in national and international meetings. This list includes only the conferences and symposia with abstracts and presentations available in English.  


The Conference on the revised EIA directive in Luxembourg 12.11.2015


Tools and practices in EIA for systematic  impact significance assessment

Mika Marttunen: a talk about the results of the IMPERIA project.


IAIA15 in Florence, Italy


Members of the project team presented the results of IMPERIA in three different paper sessions and with two poster presentations. IMPERIA also hosted one of the sessions (Practical approaches to impact signficance assessment) with Mika Marttunen acting as a session chair. 

Challenges of transparency and clarity in EIS

Elisa Vallius, Sakari Grönlund, Jorma Jantunen, Jyri Mustajoki, Jenni Neste & Sanna Vienonen: talk in the session Social media and participation

IMPERIAImpact significance assessment framework

Jyri Mustajoki, Mika Marttunen, Joonas Hokkanen, Sakari Grönlund, Timo P. Karjalainen & Anne Vehmas: talk in the session Practical approaches to impact significance assessment.

Usefulness of the internet in public participation

Anne Vehmas: talk in the session The role of digital and social media to facilitate public participation

Results from LIFEproject IMPERIA (1.8.2012-31.12.2015)

Elisa Vallius, Mika Marttunen, Timo P. Karjalainen & Jyri Mustajoki: poster presentation

ARVI tool for impact significance assessment

Jyri Mustajoki, Mika Marttunen & Vesa Riekkinen: poster presentation


IAIA14 in Viña del Mar, Chile


MCDA methods supporting transparency and public involvement in EIA

Jenni Neste & Timo P. Karjalainen: talk in a session Modeling and decision support tools for environmental assessment: MCDA and GIS approaches

Abstract: The growing expectations of the environmental impact assessment (EIA) for quality, consistency and transparency are becoming increasingly demanding. To react to this development, stakeholder participation should be considered more systematically and extensively as a part of the EIA process. A multi-criteria decision analysis (MCDA) approach can provide a framework for the EIA and a platform for the proponents of the project and stakeholders to discuss the problems of the project. It can be used to focus on the most relevant issues and criteria for the assessment, and find the relevant divergence of the different alternatives from various points of view. We present a case study of a wind farm in Finland where MCDA tools were widely used. Some challenges occurred, e.g. choosing the right level of stakeholder familiarisation with the methods introduced, as well as the timing of the integration of the MCDA tools into the EIA process. However, the MCDA tools provided a deeper overall view of the different objectives of the project, as well as a systematic and transparent method of progressing in the EIA process. Our experiences showed that these methods suit in the EIA field and that stakeholders can be a crucial help in assessing the impacts of the project and the significance of the numerous impacts. There are also several other advantages to have intensive stakeholder participation, e.g. communication, assessing mitigation measures and compensation, and most of all to  negotiate the social license to operate in the project area.


Mika Marttunen, Timo Karjalainen, Jyri Mustajoki and Anne Vehmas: talk in the session Significance: How and why is it determined?

Abstract: Impact significance assessment is a combination of objective and subjective assessment, and can be characterized as a multi-criteria problem. In this article we propose a systematic and transparent approach where the impact significance assessment is realized together with experts and stakeholders. First, a preliminary significance evaluation framework is developed by the experts. Evaluation framework consists of criteria, indicators and scales. The framework is then refined based on the discussions with stakeholders and citizens. Thereafter, experts and stakeholders evaluate the significance of the impacts independently based on the criteria and scales defined earlier. In this phase Multi-Criteria Decision analysis can also be applied to support the evaluation task. MCDA can be used to calculate overall values with respect to severity/strength of the impacts and the value of the system. Finally, the results of the experts and stakeholders are compared and particularly the reasons for disagreements over the impact significance are identified and discussed. Finally a table and a x-y graph which summarize the significance assessment from experts and stakeholders perspectives are compiled. In this phase both parties can revise their earlier assessments. Experts’ and stakeholders’ opinions about the significance may differ because of differences in their knowledge, values as well as spatial and temporal assessment frames. One of the advantages of the proposed approach is that it enhances interaction and learning among experts and stakeholders during the process. The approach will be tested in a real-life EIA case.


Improving effectiveness of EIA by a MCDA approach

Timo Karjalainen, Jenni Neste, Mika Marttunen, Jyri Mustajoki and Olli-Matti Tervaniemi: talk in the session Scoping: Are we getting it right?

It has been stated that EIA influence on decisions is limited, and therefore there is a growing awareness of the developing needs of the EIA. According to the idea of assessment effectiveness, assessments are most likely to influence decision making when they are perceived credible (expertise), relevant (address key problems) and legitimate (assessment perceived as fair). Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis (MCDA) has many characteristics, such as the integration of diverse information and the handling of conflicting objectives, that make it very useful to support the entire EIA process. Thus far the MCDA cases in EIA processes have mainly focused on the ranking of alternatives instead of providing a framework for interactive and integrated assessment. In this article, we propose a systematic approach based on the practices and tools of MCDA for improving the relevancy and legitimacy of EIA. The approach described in this article is tested in a real-life EIA case of wind power park in Finland. One main difference of this new framework compared with the current EIA process in Finland is to focus more on the scoping phase in order to ensure that the most significant impacts of the project are included in the analysis. This helps to allocate resources on the important issues in the assessment and to avoid wasted effort on issues of little relevance. It also stimulates early collaboration between different parties of EIA.


Developing practices for supporting EIA with MCDA

Jyri Mustajoki, Mika Marttunen, Timo Karjalainen and Joonas Hokkanen: talk in the session Impact assessment innovation

Abstract: Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis (MCDA) is a systematic and transparent approach for supporting the analysis of multiple alternatives in complex problems involving multiple criteria. MCDA provides great potential for supporting Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) processes including a structured framework for evaluating different alternatives and a way to combine stakeholders’ subjective views about the criteria with objective measurement data about the alternatives. However, our earlier experiences suggest that the quality and effectiveness of MCDA depend very much on how well MCDA is integrated into the process and how interactive the use of supporting MCDA tool is. In this presentation, we discuss the application opportunities of the principles and tools of MCDA in EIA and identify good practices for applying MCDA to support EIA processes. We present a framework for computer-aided MCDA based stakeholder participation that aims to increase the quality of the EIA process without still being too laborious to carry out. This study is a part of the IMPERIA project funded by EU’s Life programme, in which one objective is to develop software tools for the practitioners. In software development, one challenge is that the responsible use of MCDA methods and tools require good knowledge of MCDA theory. However, we think that the specificity of EIA as an application area makes it possible to develop easy-to-use tools with such guidance that also EIA practitioners not familiar with MCDA are able to use the software. We also discuss what kind of process support is required from this kind of a tool.


IMPERIA project improves EIA practices in Finland

Elisa Vallius, Mika Marttunen and Timo Karjalainen:  poster presentation

Abstract: Improving environmental assessment by adopting good practices and tools of multi-criteria decision analysis (IMPERIA) is a partially EU-financed (LIFE+) project aiming to recognize and develop new tools and practices for EIA and SEA. The main objective of IMPERIA is to enhance exchange of knowledge, dialogue and influence of stakeholder participation in EIA and SEA processes, and thus increase the satisfaction of public, project executors and authorities. Project exploits the knowledge of different partner and co-operation organizations as the consortium brings together experts from Finnish Environment Institute, University of Jyväskylä, University of Oulu and two consultant companies. The goal of the project is to produce usable methods and practices, and efficiently enhance their use in practice. New MCDA and internet-based tools are developed for EIA and SEA and applied in three pilot projects. Practices, tools and guidelines are developed with special focus on applicability of these in practice, increasing public interest to EIA and SEA, and enhancing the effectiveness and usefulness of the processes.


Developing practices for supporting EIA with Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis 

Jyrki Mustajoki, Mika Marttunen, Timo P. Karjalainen, Joonas Hokkanen & Anne Vehmas: Paper published in the proceedings of IAIA13