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Toward an analytical strategic environmental assesment methodology

Objective

Problems to be solved
Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) of Policy, Plans and Programmes (PPP) forms part of the tools for the analysis and assessment of the environmental implications of human actions, of which the most well-known exponent is the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) of projects. The ANSEA project is based on the hypothesis that an efficient environmental assessment process of PPP should be founded on a strictly defined analytical study object, which differs and complements the one established in the classic context of an environmental impact assessment. The main theoretical attempt behind this hypothesis is to produce an analytically founded evaluation procedure. By "Analytically founded" we mean a methodology which will be valid in any circumstance (for every PPP) and which will have an identifiable and determinable object of analysis. Its application supposes a previously determined optimisation function that insures the meaning and robustness of the application' results. The working hypothesis that this project will try to demonstrate is that it is feasible and logically sound to focus the environmental assessment of PPP on the assessment of the policy formulation process in which the PPP is developed. If one supposes that this policy formulation procedure can be performed in a correct or incorrect way given the state of knowledge and a given amount of resources, the environmental dimension of this procedure consists in the environmental implications that will derive from the possibility that the policy decision-making process followed is actually flawed. The decision-making can be biased, i.e. deviate from a rationally founded decision making processes. In this case, it can lead to what we call "an environmental bias".
Scientific Objectives and Approach:
The main project objective is to validate and further develop the working hypothesis of the ANSEA methodology and to design practical assessment tools for ANSEA in the form of guidelines. The objective of the analytical Strategic Environmental Assessment (ANSEA) project is to provide an enhanced theoretical and methodological background to SEA to assist EU actions in this area, e.g. the implementation of the future EU Directive1 as well as activities on Assessment of Policies. The project combines theoretical work with the practical application of four detailed case studies, and is based on the collaboration among eight expert groups and users in seven EU countries, working under the guidance of a Scientific Board (SB) and an Advisory Board (AB).
The main objective will lead to a number of deliverables, the most important are:
1) Methodological Guidelines for an analytical SEA (ANSEA) of policies, plans and programmes compatible, in terms of their field of application, with the above-mentioned proposed Directive;
2) a theoretical basis for an ANSEA of PPP; the project objective is to scientifically formalise an analytical object of study for an ANSEA methodology;
3) Another objective of the project is the adequate dissemination of its results among the SEA community at European level. The proposed mechanisms include: the preparation of two books, a symposium, once the project is finalised and a project Webpage.
Expected Impacts:
The strategic impact of the proposal derivates from its innovative character and from the need to further develop its theoretical basis for SEA of PPP. The development of a complementary approach on SEA to those existing ones will produce a relevant strategic impact in the SEA community at European level and at other international fora. The proposal has all the innovation elements and it is proposed in a crucial moment for the development of the SEA policy field to enable it to have a significant strategic impact. This impact is twofold. On one side the results will have a significant effect on the scientific community working on SEA, and on the other side on potential final users of the methodology.1 Proposal for a Directive on Strategic Environmental Assessment on plans and programmes (COM(96) 511 final -96/0304(SYN) presented by the Commission to the European Parliament in 1997, and revised by the Parliament in 1998 and amended by the Commission in 1999.

Funding Scheme

CSC - Cost-sharing contracts

Coordinator

TAU CONSULTORA AMBIENTAL S.L.
Address
Santa Matilde 4
28039 Madrid
Spain

Participants (6)

ENVIRONMENTAL RESOURCES MANAGEMENT LTD .
United Kingdom
Address
Cavendish Square 8
W1M 0ER London
FUNDACAO DA FACULDADE DE CIENCIAS E TECNOLOGIA DA UNIVESIDADE NOVA DE LISBOA
Portugal
Address
Quinta Da Torre
2825 Monte Da Caparica
STOCKHOLM ENVIRONMENT INSTITUTE
Sweden
Address
Lilla Nygatan 1
Stockholm
THE INTERNATIONAL INSTITUTE FOR URBAN ENVIRONMENT
Netherlands
Address
Nickersteeg 5
2611 EK Delft
UNIVERSIDAD POLITECNICA DE MADRID
Spain
Address
S/n,ciudad Universitaria S/n
28040 Madrid
WUPPERTAL INSTITUTE FOR CLIMATE, ENVIRONMENT AND ENERGY
Germany
Address
Döppersberg 19
42004 Wuppertal