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Title: Strategic environmental assessment for sustainability: A review of a decade of academic research

This paper examines the strategic environmental assessment (SEA)–sustainability relationship over the past decade, from 2000 to 2010, focusing in particular on the incorporation of sustainability in SEA. A total of 86 papers from the academic literature containing the terms ‘sustainability’ or ‘sustainable development’ and ‘strategic environmental assessment’ were identified and reviewed. Several common themes emerged by which SEA can support sustainability, including providing a framework to support decision making for sustainability; setting sustainability objectives, ensuring the consideration of ‘more sustainable’ alternatives, and integrating sustainability criteria in PPP development; and promoting sustainability outcomes through tiering and institutional learning. At the same time, our review identified many underlying barriers that challenge SEA for sustainability, including the variable interpretations of the scope of sustainability in SEA; the limited use of assessment criteria directly linked to sustainability objectives; and challenges for decision-makers in operationalizing sustainability in SEA and adapting PPP development decision-making processes to include sustainability issues. To advance SEA for sustainability there is a need to better define the scope of sustainability in SEA; clarify how to operationalize the different approaches to sustainability in SEA, as opposed to simply describing those approaches; provide guidance on how to operationalize broad sustainability goals through assessmentmore » criteria in SEA; and understand better how to facilitate institutional learning regarding sustainability through SEA application. -- Highlights: ► There is significant potential for SEA to support sustainability in PPP development. ► However, there are still many barriers in place that challenge SEA for sustainability. ► The scope and approaches to sustainability in SEA must be better defined and described. ► Guidance is needed to link impact assessment criteria to sustainability objectives. ► Focus on how to facilitate institutional learning regarding sustainability is required.« less
Authors:
 [1] ;  [2]
  1. School of Environment and Sustainability, University of Saskatchewan, 117 Science Place, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada S7N 5A5 (Canada)
  2. Department of Geography and Planning, School of Environment and Sustainability, University of Saskatchewan, 117 Science Place, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada S7N 5A5 (Canada)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22246896
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Environmental Impact Assessment Review; Journal Volume: 42; Other Information: Copyright (c) 2012 Elsevier Science B.V., Amsterdam, The Netherlands, All rights reserved.; Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT STATEMENTS; ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS; ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY; ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION; SOCIAL IMPACT; SOCIO-ECONOMIC FACTORS