رویکردهای مبتنی بر جامعه برای ارزیابی زیست محیطی استراتژیک : درسهایی از کاستاریکا
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
|5690||2009||10 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Environmental Impact Assessment Review, Volume 29, Issue 3, April 2009, Pages 147–156
This paper describes a community-based approach to strategic environmental assessment (SEA) using a case study of the Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad's (ICE) watershed management agricultural program (WMAP) in Costa Rica. The approach focused on four highly interactive workshops that used visioning, brainstorming and critical reflection exercises. Each workshop represented a critical step in the SEA process. Through this approach, communities in two rural watersheds assessed the environmental, social and economic impacts of a proposed second phase for WMAP. Lessons from this community-based approach to strategic environmental assessment include a recognition of participants learning what a participatory SEA is conceptually and methodologically; the role of interactive techniques for identifying positive and negative impacts of the proposed program and generating creative mitigation strategies; the effect of workshops in reducing power differentials among program participants (proponent, communities, government agencies); and, the logistical importance of notice, timing and location for meaningful participation. The community-based approach to SEA offers considerable potential for assessing regional (watershed) development programs focused on sustainable resource-based livelihoods.
Environmental assessment (EA) is now more commonly being used as part of development activities, even when those activities are in response to natural disasters such as the Asian Tsunami (Spaling and Vroom, 2007). It is also now increasingly common for planners of development programs to be faced with the question of how to assess the sustainability of a proposed development program at the regional scale in order to comply with donor demands, regulatory requirements and with the complexity of multiple household and community interventions (McDonald and Brown, 1995, Randolph, 2003, Prachoom, 2005 and Perlack et al., 2001). Practitioners of strategic environmental assessment (SEA) may be quick to offer a solution to this problem—after all, SEA is a formalized, systematic and comprehensive process of evaluating the environmental impacts of a policy, plan or program and its alternatives. As Partidário (1999, p. 64) notes, [It] is a systematic, ongoing process for evaluating, at the earliest possible stage of publicly accountable decision-making, the environmental quality, and consequences, of alternative visions and development intentions incorporated in policy, planning, or program initiatives, ensuring full integration of relevant biophysical, economic, social and political considerations. Some also feel that sustainability goals, such as those held by governments and donor agencies, are more likely to be advanced and realized if SEA is implemented (Lawrence, 1997, Partidário, 1999, Petts, 1999 and Thérivel and Brown, 1999). Noble (2006, p. 9) purports in this regard, that “[A]dvancing the sustainability initiative will require increasing the application of EA principles beyond the project level to address environmental issues at the strategic levels of policy, planning and program decision-making. This can be accomplished through strategic environmental assessment (SEA)….SEA is based on the notion that the benefits of sustainable development trickle down from policy decisions to plans, programs, and eventually to individual projects” (see also Partidário, 1999). Further, Vicente and Partidário (2006, p. 698) indicate that SEA has the potential to help decision-makers to identify options that meet sustainability aims…” As such, SEA is “generally presented as the assessment tool that addresses the environmental implications of decisions made before or ‘above’ the project level” (Partidário, 1999, p. 60; see also Connelly and Richardson, 2005 and Vicente and Partidário, 2006). It is an extension of EA, but has to be “resource-led rather than activity-led, not least because it is emerging in response to the challenges of sustainable development. SEA deals with concepts rather than particular activities and has to provide for cross-cutting environmental and sustainability objectives to be achieved” (Petts, 1999, p. 7; see also Partidário, 1999 and Vicente and Partidário, 2006). In practice, however, SEA is “still quite new and relatively limited in terms of its adoption” (Noble, 2006, p. 196). Various reasons have been offered as to why this is the case despite the noted perceived benefits of implementing SEA as part of the policy, plan and program development processes. These include reasons such as: the lack of political will to subject policy, plan and program decisions to such an invasive public process; lack of a common understanding of the roles SEA can play and should play in decision making; challenges in meaningfully engaging the public in such a forward-looking process, especially when there is no immediate project at hand; lack of approaches and methodologies for how to do SEA; financial constraints; lack of agreement around the need for, and benefits of, SEA; and, problems finding a government authority willing to co-ordinate and take responsibility (Noble, 2005, Noble, 2006, Noble, in press, Partidário, 1996 and Petts, 1999). It has been suggested that solutions to some of these problems may in fact rest in how SEA is implemented. As Connelly and Richardson (2005, p. 397) note, there are evident weaknesses in the technocratic approach to SEA and they contend that perhaps “good SEA is participative”. They point out that participatory, deliberative approaches to EA is asserted as the new orthodoxy, and that the social learning that occurs through such approaches help in the shared understanding of values. Partidário (2006) establishes further that there is likely a greater underlying need for open deliberation in SEA as compared to EIA. Connelly and Richardson (2005, p.398) indicate that such a “deliberative approach is characterized by an openness to different views, rational argument, and usually a presumption that the outcome will and should be a consensual decision, which incorporates gains for all involved”. We have contributed to and support this line of thinking in relation to the need for more deliberative participation in EA and the positive learning benefits of such an approach (Doelle and Sinclair, 2006, Sinclair and Diduck, 1995, Sinclair and Diduck, 2001, Sinclair and Diduck, 2005 and Sinclair et al., 2008). Within this context we have also tested community-based approaches to EA (CBEA) in the development scenario. In contrast to the assessment approach often used for large projects, CBEA “has been adapted in an innovative way to smaller, community-based projects that utilize natural resources for basic livelihood needs” (Spaling, 2003; also Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), 2005, Neefjes, 2000 and Pallen, 1996). Typical projects include boreholes, gravity water systems, small reservoirs, agro-forestry, fish ponds, construction of latrines, clinics, schools, and small bridges. Since these projects interact directly with bio-physical systems, many already stressed, there is potential for resource degradation through over-extraction, land-clearing, soil erosion, contamination and other forms of exploitation. Application of EA to these projects is emerging as a way to facilitate management of local resources and ensure continued project benefits (Spaling, 2003, p. 152). In community-based approaches to EA, a participatory forum facilitates a process of communal dialogue and collective decision-making that includes: the development of goals, the sharing of knowledge, negotiation and compromise, problem-posing and problem-solving, the evaluation of needs, the definition of goals; and research and discussion usually around questions of justice and equity (Ameyaw, 1992, Meredith, 1992, Neefjes, 2000, Neefjes, 2001 and Spaling, 2003). This process helps communities clarify values, be more adaptive and pro-active, respond to change, develop an appreciation for the human/ecological interface, set personal and communal goals, and participate in a process where they are heard (Keen and Mahanty, 2006 and Meredith, 1992). Various practical guides and best practice suggestions also now support the emergence of CBEA. The CIDA (2005) handbook for EA of community development initiatives offers guidelines on using participatory rural appraisal tools for conducting EAs of small community projects. The USAID (2007) has also developed guidelines for small project activities that hold similar adaptations. In their report for small-scale activities in Africa, best practices are laid out for effective environmental management, in which they state that community participation is critical to each practice (USAID, 2007). Finally, the Calabash project, which has been largely supported by the World Bank and CIDA, has developed a set of policy guidelines for southern African countries regarding EA processes for development projects and public participation (SAIEA, 2005). It emphasizes integrating community consultation into the EA process with special consideration given to traditional knowledge. With this positive experience at the project level, and given some of the challenges in implementing of SEA—particularly the participatory challenges and the lack of techniques and methods—the purpose of our work was to consider whether a community-based participative approach to strategic assessment could work and if so what lessons might be gained from using this approach in the development context. It seemed reasonable to us as well, that if community support for SEA was forthcoming, it may become more politically palatable. Finally, given our experience working with CBEA, we wanted to test the same approaches at the strategic level, in part because we could see the clear potential of one of the touted benefits of SEA—that being demonstrated added value at the downstream project-assessment level.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
Partidário, 1996 and Partidário, 1999, Noble, 2005 and Noble, 2006, Connelly and Richardson (2005), Thérivel and Brown (1999), and CIDA (2005) articulated the need for context appropriate and participative SEA methodologies to be created. By adapting and elaborating upon the community-based approach and participatory methods found in CBEA (Neefjes, 2001 and Spaling, 2003) and linking these with the basic elements of a SEA (Noble, 2005, Noble, 2006, Partidário, 1999 and Thérivel and Brown, 1999), this work establishes that more local, highly participative approaches to SEA are possible and perhaps desirable—at least in the context of assessing regional (watershed) programs in the developing-world. The case study revealed that people with little to no experience with EA were able to effectively participate in a participatory and structured SEA process. They were able to articulate preferred options, potential effects and mitigation approaches with relative ease, especially those for the physical works components of the proposed program. The results also reveal that through this process participants were able to think more critically, even about some of the impacts of activities they were already undertaking on their farms. In the end, they learned and a more robust preferred program was the outcome. The case study has also revealed that a participatory CBSEA approach can accrue many benefits including: meaningfully engaging community members in a natural resources management decision-making process, facilitating a more comprehensive assessment of incoming programs, individual and social learning outcomes, and facilitating a transition towards sustainability. These conclusions indicate that there can be great value in doing a SEA at the community level, at least in relation to programs. As well, community participants from the rural communities that we worked with saw great value in the process. They were able to articulate their vision for ICE's WMAP Phase II and think through the impacts and mitigation strategies for various components of the program. As a result, many participants understood how important this early consideration of potential impacts can be in making the resulting program much more sustainable when implemented. They also realized though, that the impact of their input on the final program ICE might implement had yet to be clarified. In this way, CBSEA has the same power-sharing challenges as CBEA (Spaling, 2003) in that re-aligning power to communities is difficult for most proponents and governments, and such re-alignment did not take place in this case. Such sharing may be an even more acute challenge in trying to get meaningful community input into decisions at the normative strategic thinking stage (i.e., SEA) as opposed to the operational development stage (i.e., EA). Our work has not elucidated how best to go about this change, but does indicate that it is likely the community will be willing to participate in such deliberations if they are forthcoming and will have a significant amount to offer. It is worth noting though, that ICE employees also learned through the process and recognized great value in its application. In addition to this deficiency, the case study also showed that alleviating some of the shortcomings in the SEA undertaken is going to require practitioners to spend even more time with the community. As noted above, VECs were not clearly articulated, as more time was needed to allow people to think about potential effects. There just was not time to compare those effects in a meaningful way to what the community valued. As well, no final assessment of the preferred plan was completed, again due to time constraints. While all the components were assessed, the final preferred overall package was not. On reflection, we feel that we were relatively efficient in the use of the time we had and do not see the opportunity for improved efficiency in this way, rather another half day at least is needed with the community. In our case, we think the community would have been willing to commit this effort, but others may not. Like EA and CBEA, community-based approaches to SEA will only become more robust through further application. We feel that the approach used in our work, in combination with the lessons we have learned, provide a solid foundation for future testing of a CBSEA approach. Research is showing the benefits of community-based approaches to EA. We feel that this research shows at least in a tentative way that the same sorts of benefits may accrue with community-based strategic assessment. In fact, we see opportunities for greater community and proponent satisfaction and benefits because discussions are occurring at the normative or early planning stage. We look forward to seeing if these translate into value-added benefits in community-based project level assessment. If nothing else the CBSEA enabled neighbours to meet each other, outsiders like ourselves, and institutional representatives, and collaborate in a way they were not accustomed to, with learning directed toward sustainability as an outcome.