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Strategic Environmental Assessment/EIA

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Home > Learning Resources > Strategic Environmental Assessment/EIA

Strategic Environmental Assessment/EIA is a siencetific and participative process for evaluating the environmental consequences or impacts of proposed policy, plan or programme in order to ensure they are fully integrated the sustainable development principles at the earliest appropriate stage of decision making.

This tool helps planners and decision makers to improve their policies, plans, and programs, specifically to make sure that the sustainable development principles are to be used as the basis and be integrated into the policies, plans, and programs. At a very minimum, the SEA process involves: 1) predicting the environmental impacts of a strategic action; and 2) using those predictions in decision-making.

SEA is usually a formal-legal tool of a given country in the form of a list of policies, plans, and programs; projects should be prepared supported by SEA. The implementation of SEA follows several stages as follows: 1) identification of PPP and environmental objectives and likely impacts; 2) Consideration of scenarios / screening; 3) Target setting and identification of alternatives; 4) options (scoping); 5) Analysis and report preparation and review; 6) Informed decision-making and approval; and 7) Monitoring and follow-up.

SEA could be effectivelly done under several conditions including: 1) environmental awareness of the decicion makers and planners, 2) environmental baseline, 3) group of experts, 4) and transparent policy and plan making process. Further, there are at least two principles which should be considered when applying SEA which are: 1) SEA should selectivelly cover all proposed policies, plans and  programmes likely to have significant environmental effects; 2) It should be undertaken by proponents of a policy, plan or programme and It should provide relevant information for formulation of proposals and for decision-making.

SEA could be effectivelly implemented under the condition that the decision makers are aware that their policies, plans, and programms are crucial and significantly could affect the sustainability of a given area.

This tool can be used to incorporate sustainable development principles in strategic decision-making related to urban development and management. In addition this tool could improve the strategic action by making it clearer, more internally consistent, involve the public or its representatives in the decision-making process, and educate decision-makers about the environmental impacts of their decisions. Specifically for SUSTAIN, this tool could be used as a part of comprehensive steps to prepare plans, to monitor and evaluate urban development and management on specific issue or theme such as: sustainablke urban tourism, climate change, urban transition management, urban infrastructure development, urban water management, and sustainable urban transport.