ارزیابی زیست محیطی استراتژیک در دوران پست مدرن
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی||تعداد کلمات|
|5663||2003||16 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید||5160 کلمه|
Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Environmental Impact Assessment Review, Volume 23, Issue 2, March 2003, Pages 155–170
The increasing awareness of the findings of policy and decision making theory in the environmental assessment community has recently led to an intensifying debate on the theoretical foundations and the appropriate practical use of strategic environmental assessment (SEA). In this context, most of the recent suggestions on how to improve practice have been influenced—consciously or sub-consciously—by the post-modernist paradigm, focusing particularly on a better integration of SEA into ‘real’ decision making and procedural flexibility. There have also been suggestions that traditional project environmental impact assessment (EIA)-based SEA approaches are generally inadequate. Reacting to the latter criticism, this paper aims at defending ‘traditional’ systematically structured and normative approaches to SEA. While it is acknowledged that a purely professional and technological paradigm to SEA is something of the past, it is proposed that leaving the design of ‘flexible’ SEA to the will of proponents and stakeholders might ultimately render it incapable of protecting the environment.
Strategic environmental assessment (SEA) is a decision making support instrument for the formulation of sustainable spatial and sector policies, plans and programmes, aiming to ensure an appropriate consideration of the environment. SEA is the ‘big brother’ of environmental impact assessment (EIA) for projects, which has been applied to a large extent in many countries world-wide. Environmental assessment requirements were formulated firstly based on the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) in 1969 in the USA. Before its introduction, the consideration of environmental aspects in strategic and project decision making largely took place in an incremental manner, i.e. practice was to move away from problems rather than towards achieving objectives (see Meyer and Miller, 1984). In order to remedy this unsatisfactory situation, formal environmental assessment (EA)1 was introduced as a pro-active instrument for addressing environmental consequences before practical action. The procedural origins of EA are rooted in rational planning theory, developed in the mid-1950s (see Meyerson and Banfield, 1955) and widely discussed and propagated in the late 1960s and early 1970s (Faludi, 1973). Current understanding of SEA is that it is inherently marked by bounded rationality. While certain procedural stages are predefined, policy, plan and programme (PPP) objectives and targets are not defined within SEA, but taken from other sources, such as environmental action programmes or sustainable development strategies. Therefore, SEA is marked by instrumental rationality. Since the early stages of its development, environmental assessment has usually been perceived as a learning and negotiation process between multiple actors Caldwell, 1982 and Elliot, 1981. Based on the currently widespread perception that an instrument rooted in rational planning theory does not reflect ‘real’ decision making, many authors have suggested that SEA should not be predefined, but adapted to the process of the underlying PPP and act in a fully flexible manner. However, while this appears to satisfy the current post-modernist paradigm in planning, it is potentially at odds with the perception that ‘impact assessment and planning serve different but complementary functions’ (Berzok, 1986). Whereas SEA can ultimately benefit from the current debate on flexibility and adaptability, dominated by policy analysts, a reminder is needed that SEA is an applied instrument used by a variety of disciplines that is not only interpreted in one, but in several ways.2 Furthermore, opposite to what is often suggested, there is evidence that both, pre-structured and pro-active EIA and EIA-based SEA are actually effective in improving decision making in terms of a better consideration of the environment, at least at plan and programme levels of decision making in established planning systems (see Ortolano et al., 1987, Wood, 1995, Rees, 1999 and Fischer, 2002). Whilst it is probably fair to say that over the past 30 years the environmental assessment community has tended to follow policy analysis, decision making and planning theory debates somewhat from the sidelines, the suggestion that the foundations for EA approaches within decision science have been largely neglected in the environmental assessment literature (Weston, 2000) is debatable (see, for example, Lawrence, 2000, Lawrence, 1997 and Pearce, 1994). In fact, most of the issues of the current – supposedly innovative – debate have been previously discussed, for example by a number of authors in the early 1980s, claiming that EIA and the project process had to be integrated (Cornford et al., 1985) and proposing that values and preferences of affected populations needed to be incorporated in policy evaluation and decision making (Gardiner, 1980). Recent papers originating from different professional backgrounds that reflect different views of SEA include those by the policy analysts Kørnøv and Thissen (2000) for SEA and Leknes (2001) for EIA. While Söderbaum (2000) approached EA from an economist's perspective, based on institutional theory, legal aspects on SEA were addressed, for example by Marsden (1998). Current ‘environmental planning-led’ debates are reflected in the works of, e.g. Thérivel and Brown (2000), Partidário (2001) and Fischer (2002).
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
This paper suggests that the current tendency in the SEA debate to ask for more flexibility and adaptability needs to be more critically discussed. Based on the empirical evidence provided by different authors, it is concluded that structured and normative/objectives-led SEA approaches should not be prematurely abandoned. In this context, it is suggested that while the quest for increased flexibility and full adaptability of SEA to the underlying PPP process might fulfil the current post-modernist paradigm in decision making and planning, it is potentially at odds with some of the main reasons for conducting SEA in the first place. These particularly include a better consideration of the environment in decision making for sustainable development which is not likely to be achieved in the absence of objectives-led pre-structured approaches. Based on the empirical evidence obtained to date, it is suggested that an adequate set of agreed-upon rules for interaction and decision making is a necessary precondition for effective and efficient substantive deliberations between participants in the decision making process. The resulting procedural stages are said to follow closely ‘traditional’ systematic EIA-based SEA approaches. Furthermore, based on the degree of knowledge and the possible conflicts arising in a particular PPP situation, this paper suggests that the role of the planner can be defined in close connection with the likely degree of communication in SEA. This suggests that the more project oriented a particular decision making situation is, the less likely is communicative planning to work and intervention is needed in the interest of the common good. In this context, the planner should be encouraged to act as a mediator in policy situations, as an advocate in plan situations and as a technician in programme situations.