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
Chapter 2: Setting the ground for a new approach to SEA
Rodrigo Jiliberto 2.1 INTRODUCTION The methodological and practical challenges faced by SEA can only be overcome if some of the basic assumptions of environmental assessment are further developed. There are two possible ways of doing this. The first one is strictly theoretical, while the second is a historically pragmatic approach. A theoretical approach is worthwhile and useful, but it requires a timeframe which surpasses a project timeframe. On the other hand, there are enough empirical facts and experiences accumulated on SEA to allow setting a new ground for SEA on a historically pragmatic basis. There are three facts that support the development of a new ground for SEA. ● ● ● First, the short history of SEA has demonstrated the difficulty of assessing the environmental impacts, effects and consequences of complex strategic decisions like PPP. This has a very sensible and practical effect. Since an SEA primarily centred on the impact/effects concept is not useful in supporting sound decision making, given the uncertainty surrounding the impact estimation, the assessment has had to expand its analysis to a broader number of aspects to deliver consistent information for decision making. Second, a detailed analysis of past experience shows that SEA goes much further than the pure assessment of the environmental effects of decisions. What a careful analysis shows is that SEA has attempted to improve the consistency and quality of the decision-making process (DMP) by introducing a set of decisional criteria. SEA attempts to affect complex DMP by making them sensitive to decisional criteria, allowing...
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