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Assessing Environmental Impacts

A Global Review of Legislation

image of Assessing Environmental Impacts

This report provides an overview of the current status of national legislation and institutional arrangements of relevance to EIAs and SEAs across the globe, as well as emerging issues and trends. It does this primarily through providing examples from a wide selection of countries of their EIA/SEA arrangements and in relation to the different steps of the EIA/SEA processes. These steps include: (1) Screening; (2) Scoping and Impact Analysis; (3) Review of the EIA/SEA report; (4) Decision-making; (5) Follow-up and Adaptive Management and (6) Public Participation as a cross-cutting issue.

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SEA systems – Legal and institutional frameworks for SEAs

The triggering point for SEAs is the intention of a government agency to adopt a plan, programme or policy. A key difference to the EIA process is that instead of project proponents, whether private or public, legal SEA requirements are generally “only” binding for public institutions. Therefore, SEAs are generally initiated by the same public institution and only in some cases overseen by another body, for example a central environmental authority. Due to these characteristics of SEAs, political commitment, including a feeling of trust in the potentials of the SEA process, as well as the backing up of the SEA process by legislation, are considered important elements for SEA effectiveness [104].

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