Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) for Wetlands: Overview
Whereas Environmental Impact Assessment is applied at the project level, the objective of Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) is to address the environmental consequences and stakeholder concerns in the development of policies and other high-level initiatives. Because SEA is integrated into the policy processes of individual countries, there is not one generally agreed SEA procedure. Nevertheless, SEA generally consists of the following phases: (1) visioning and objective setting; (2) technical assessment; (3) analysis and decision making; (4) monitoring and evaluation. SEA can be a standalone process alongside the regular planning process, but to influence policies effectively a stronger integration is necessary. Key factors promoting the effectiveness of SEA are a flexible approach that follows the decision-making process, participation of stakeholders, the political will to use SEA results, and good regulatory capacity and public relations for SEA. SEA can range from a mainly environmental focus to an integrated approach which also incorporates social and economic concerns.
KeywordsStrategic environmental assessment Wetlands Environmental policy and planning Stakeholder participation Decision-making
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