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Title: The changing Chinese SEA indicator guidelines: Top-down or bottom-up?

In the last decades, China has introduced a set of indicators to guide the Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) practice. The most recent indicator system proposed in 2009 is based on sector-specific guidelines and it found its justification in past negative experiences with more general guidelines (from 2003), which were mostly inspired by, or copied from, international experiences. Based on interviews with practitioners, researchers and administrators, we map and analyse the change in the national guidelines. This analysis is based on a description of the indicators that makes it possible to discern different aggregation levels of indicators and then trace the changes occurring under two sets of guidelines. The analysis also reveals the reasons and rationales behind the changes found in the guidelines. This analysis is inspired by implementation theory and a description of some of the more general trends in the development of SEA and other environmental policies in a recent Chinese context. Beside a more top-down, intentional approach specifying indicators for different sectors based on Chinese experiences from the preceding years, another significant change, following the new guidelines, is a more bottom-up approach which gives more discretion to practitioners. This entails a call for practitioners to make decisions onmore » indicators, which involves an interpretation of the ones present in sector guidance. Highlights: • Focusing on the new Chinese national SEA guidelines proposed in 2009 • Mapping and analysing the most recent change in the indicator system • Revealing the reasons and rationales behind the changes found in the new guidelines • A top-down intention specifying indicators for different sectors • A bottom-up effect in giving discretion and interpretation of using indicators.« less
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Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Environmental Impact Assessment Review; Journal Volume: 44; Other Information: Copyright (c) 2013 Elsevier Science B.V., Amsterdam, The Netherlands, All rights reserved.; Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States