Environment and development

Strategic Environmental Assessment in Development Practice

A Review of Recent Experience

Published on February 13, 2012

Also available in: French

book

The principles of sustainable development play an integral role in making development assistance work at the level of policies, plans and programmes. In response to the  Paris Declaration call to “… develop and apply common approaches for ‘Strategic Environmental Assessment’ at sector and national levels” among donors and partners, the Guidance on Applying Strategic Environmental Assessment was endorsed in 2006 by members of the OECD Development Assistance Committee, representatives of developing countries receiving aid, the United Nations Development Programme, the United Nations Environment Programme, the World Bank and many other agencies. Since then, a growing number of countries at all levels of development have legislation or regulations prescribing the application of Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA)  and many more are introducing it as part of their policy tools. This is creating unique opportunities for better policy making and planning by incorporating environmental considerations into high-level decision-making and opening new mechanisms to build consensus on development priorities within governments themselves and between governments and societies.

Many development co-operation agencies and their partners are already making good progress in applying SEA. This publication presents the nine most interesting case studies of SEA in progress, selected from a total 100.  These nine cases highlight that SEA can:
• Safeguard environmental assets for sustainable poverty reduction and development;
• Build public engagement in decision making;
• Prevent costly mistakes by alerting decision-makers to potentially unsustainable development options at an early stage in the decision-making process;
• Speed up implementation of projects and programmes;
• Facilitate co-operation around shared environmental resources and contribute to conflict prevention.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Foreword and Acknowledgements
Acronyms
Executive summary
Policy Statement on Strategic Environmental Assessment
Introduction
SEA in developing countries
Vietnam: Strategic Environmental Assessment on the Quang Nam Hydropower Plan
Bhutan: Strategic Environmental Assessment and environmental mainstreaming
Namibia: Strategic Environmental Assessment of the Millennium Challenge Programme
Mauritius: Strategic Environmental Assessment on the sugar cane sector
Benin: Strategic Environmental Assessment of the Poverty Reduction Strategy
Ghana: Strategic Environmental Assessment and its evolution
Sierra Leone: Strategic Environmental and Social Assessment of the mining sector
Honduras: Strategic Environmental Assessment on Municipal Development Plans
Montenegro: Strategic Environmental Assessment on the National Spatial Plan
Conclusion
Annex A: Capacity development for Strategic Environmental Assessment
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