SEA- Increasing planning efficiency & reducing conflicts of interest
Land and biodiversity resources are limited in India and face tremendous pressures from urbanization and developments in different economic sectors specially the key sectors like industry and mining that require large chunks of land. The presently inadequate spatial land-use planning systems are creating major challenges for integrating ecological, environmental and socio-economic aspects in development planning. Limitation of piecemeal development is also significantly constraining the comprehensive assessment of impacts linked to fast proceeding development and growth of the country.
The European origin instrument ’Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA)’ could be an approach to address risks of unplanned and ill-planned development and land-use on biodiversity resources and ecosystem services, wildlife and human habitat and other environment assets in a holistic and systematic way. SEA could create the basis for developing and evaluating alternative options involving key stakeholders, to promote participatory decision-making process.
Considering the potential usefulness of the SEA tool for land use planning, the Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN) of Germany has funded a project on ‘Land-use Planning and Strategic Environmental Assessment’ within the frame of the CBD COP 11 Presidency. The objective of this project is raising awareness and development of human capacities in India for better application of integrated planning instruments such as SEA. These would be more relevant in the context of land-use/ spatial and socio-economic development planning for achieving sustainable development based on inclusive and environmentally compatible planning.
SEA – Scope of application in India
The MoEFCC - as one of the key counterparts of this project - recognises the strong need for integrated planning approaches. It also recognizes the potential role of SEA in the development of zonal master plans for the so-called eco-sensitive-zones, currently in the process of notification in all States under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986. Furthermore, the application of the SEA approach on a climate change relevant sector such as energy/ hydropower could help to minimize negative cumulative impacts, climate change adaptation and mitigation being one of the most important topics for MoEFCC.
The instrument SEA could be an appropriate and promising starting point for managing development better in an environmentally, economically and socially sound way in India.
Last Updated: October 8, 2015