The Malta Sociological Association (MSA) has submitted its official feedback to the Gozo Regional Development Authority regarding the Gozo Rural Airfield proposal.
MSA notes that in section 6 ‘Potential Impacts and Benefits of the Proposed Intervention’, the document states that as regards ‘socio-economic impacts’, “To assess the expected socio-economic impacts and benefits of the proposed Airfield project, the Ministry for Gozo (proponent of the project) commissioned a Cost Benefits Analysis study.”. The findings of this study are then presented in two tables and six short paragraphs ( https://grda.mt/wp-content/
MSA holds that whilst a cost-benefits analysis study is a useful tool, provided it uses proper research methods and is peer-reviewed, in no way can this exercise be considered to provide an adequate social impact assessment.
MSA is therefore proposing that a social impact assessment (SIA) be commissioned on the development proposal. The SIA should be carried out by qualified sociologists through an open public call.
Various methods, both quantitative and qualitative, should be used within the SIA, to provide reliable and valid data. It should involve the participation of different stakeholders. Analytic indicators should be provided and the entire process should be subject to peer review by independent experts in the field. This could help identify shortcomings and possible improvements to the same SIA.
The SIA should not be a one-off exercise. It should be ongoing processes which engage with various stakeholders, and which reports back so as to ensure effective policy processes.
MSA refers to international SIA standards, for example those set by the International Association for Impact Assessment:
The MSA is at the disposal of the Gozo Regional Development Authority should it wish to discuss further.