Towards Better Decision-Making
The Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei series on Economics, the Environment and Sustainable Development
Edited by Pietro Caratti, Holger Dalkmann and Rodrigo Jiliberto
For those of us who want environmental assessment (EA) to actually do something – improve decisions by ensuring that they integrate environmental considerations, rather than just produce handsome and useless reports – it is clear that the focus of EA needs to be firmly on the decision-making process. Only in guidelines and pipe-dreams does EA follow an elegant rational procedural path from screening through to monitoring, with a nicely assessed and massaged plan as a by-product (shown as a box labelled ‘revised plan’ pointed at by an arrow from the EA process). In practice, effective EA is all about making the right comment at the right meeting to get the right person to consider something that they had not thought of before. We are currently being bombarded with new legislation and guidance, with boxes and arrows, with idealized rational decision-making flowcharts. The European Directive on strategic environmental assessment requires legislation and guidance to be implemented in each of the European member states, and other countries worldwide are establishing procedures for strategic environmental assessment. This very timely book on ‘analytical strategic environmental assessment’ (ANSEA) deals head-on with the decision-making systems that these regulations and guidance documents are supposed to influence. ANSEA focuses on the quality of the decision-making process rather than on the impacts of the decision; on describing the decision process rather than the output of the decisions and ensuring full integration of environmental values in decision making. The approach was developed by an international star team with extensive theoretical and practical...