11. Other SEA systems

Many countries now have some type of SEA system: regulations requiring SEA, guidance recommending SEA (or various SEA procedures and techniques), and/or experience in carrying out SEAs.  The SEA-Wiki contains information about SEA systems from around the world.  Dalal-Clayton and Sadler (2005) and Schmidt et al. (2005) give excellent overviews of SEA practice worldwide to 2005.

Some of the better-know SEA systems are:

  • Australia's Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 requires a form of SEA, and various Australian states (notably Western Australia) have their own SEA-type systems 
  • Canadian Cabinet Directive on SEA 1990 (revised 1999) applies to federal policy, plan or program proposals; some provinces have their own SEA system
  • China's Environmental Impact Assessment Law of 2002 requires SEA of long-term plans at national, provincial and sector level, and of short-term project plans at local level  
  • Member States of the European Community are subject to the European SEA Directive - see Unit 10 
  • Hong Kong's EIA Ordinance of 1998 requires SEA, and more than 20 plans have been subject to SEA to date
  • New Zealand's Resource Management Act of 1991 does not specifically require SEA, but provides a general mandate for SEA 
  • South Africa has an 'SEA primer' and considerable SEA practice, though no formal SEA regulation
  • The US National Environmental Policy Act 1969 requires SEA for a range of federal actions - see Unit 9
In many countries, aspects of SEA are already being carried out anyway but just not called SEA.

Some of these systems focus more on policies, others more on programmes; some combine SEA with broader forms of sustainability appraisal, whilst others focus only on environmental impacts; some lead to very detailed, almost EIA-type assessments, whilst others lead to much more broad-brush, qualitative assessments.  The table below shows those countries whose SEA systems exemplify different approaches.

Approaches to SEA exemplified by different countries' SEA systems
Approach to SEA Country SEA Systems
Appraisal of policies
Canada, The Netherlands (e-test)
Appraisal of plans and programmes
USA, European Commission
Cumulative impact assessment
Canada, USA
Public participation in SEA
USA, South Africa
Technical "tools" for SEA (models etc.)
Germany, France
Integrating SEA in decision-making
New Zealand, The Netherlands

June 12, 2006 Uncategorized — brendan @ 4:22 pm

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