The key points to be learnt from the Baseline section are:
- Objectives are not the same as means. Objectives are what you are aiming at (the outcome). Means are how you get there (the input);
- Indicators measure whether you're getting there;
- Indicators provide a link between the strategic action's objectives, and baseline studies, impact prediction/evaluation, mitigation and monitoring;
- There are different types of indicators/targets, each with different strengths and weaknesses: pressure-state-response, aspirational-achievable-threshold etc;
- There are existing lists of indicators/targets that can be used as a basis for developing other SEA indicator/target lists;
- The indicators used in SEA must measure the right thing, and not some partial and skewed proxy for it;
- The main purpose for gathering information on the baseline environment is to identify constraints to the implementation and agreement of the strategic action, and problems that the strategic action should aim to resolve. Such information also provides a baseline against which the impacts of a strategic action can be monitored/tested;
- A strategic action's impact is the difference between the state of the future environment with and without the strategic action;
- One thus needs to consider likely future environmental conditions as well as current ones;
- There are already a range of State of the Environment baseline studies, although these are mostly at the national level and may need to be supplemented by more regional/local information; and
- Objectives, indicators, targets, the baseline, environmental problems and the links to other plans and programmes can be carried out before much is known about the strategic action. This can be compiled in a "draft SEA report" or "scoping report".
The interactive animation below provides a short exercise for revision on types of targets and indicators.
This is the end of the Baseline section; If you are unsure about anything please revisit the pages, and when you are ready, please move onto the next section.