Part I : What is SEA?

SEA is essential for informed decision-making. The aims of SEA are:

  • To facilitate the search of sustainable development options or alternatives.
  • To provide environmental information (including both adverse impacts and benefits) at the earliest stage of PPP formulation processes within a decision-making framework.
  • To inform decision makers and the public about the environmental and sustainability implications of PPPs so as to improve decision making processes.
  • To address cumulative environmental impacts that cannot be fully addressed by individual project Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA).

These aims assist in achieving the following objectives:

  • Promoting full consideration and integration of environmental implications at the early planning stage of major strategic PPPs;
  • Seizing opportunities to enhance environmental sustainability and quality; and
  • Avoiding environmental problems and identifying environmentally-friendly options .

What SEA addresses?

  • Both environmental impacts and benefits
  • Cumulative environmental implications
  • Needs and alternatives
  • SEA aims to integrate, not just mitigate
  • Facilitate policy formulation
  • Be an iterative process in most of the cases


Why is SEA Important?

  • SEA serves as a vital step to achieve sustainable developments by incorporating the principles of sustainable developments into PPP and ensuring them being developed on a sustainable manner;
  • SEA can test out alternatives at a policy level before proceeding with site specific projects;
  • SEA can take up a pro-active role to steer developments toward environmentally “robust” areas or away from environmentally sensitive areas; and
  • SEA can oversee cumulative impacts of relevant projects simultaneously at a higher level.


Why and how SEA can make a difference?

The cumulative environmental implications of local polices, plans and programmes (PPP) would lead to global environmental problems. SEA, however, can help avoid or reduce cumulative impacts by comprehensive assessment at a strategic level during PPP formulation.
SEA can act as a bridge between the proposed policies, plans and programmes (PPP) and the environment and the society. It is a systematic process, with multi-stakeholder involvement, for analysing and evaluating environmental implications of proposed policies, plans and programmes, for assisting in strategic or planning decision-making; and for following up strategic or planning decisions.