• English

Study tour in Czech Republic fosters practical implementation of Strategic Environmental Assessment

Thirty eight representatives of Environment, Economy, Urban Development and Energy Ministries from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, the Republic of Moldova, the Russian Federation and Ukraine took part in a Study tour in the Czech Republic, from 1-5 December, on the practical application of Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) in various sectors of economy.

Participants met with representatives of the Czech ministries of Environment, Industry and Trade, Transport, and with representatives of other national authorities, consultants and non-governmental organizations involved in SEA on a daily basis. They learnt about the Czech SEA system, including legislation, institutional structure and procedures, and had the opportunity to get acquainted with first-hand experience on the application of SEA to the development of complex strategic plans in the waste management, energy and transport sector.

On Wednesday, 3 December participants visited Ostrava (Moravian-Silesian Region), one of the biggest industrial and most polluted cities in Europe. The Regional Authority of the Moravian-Silesian Region shared its practice in the use of SEA for urban planning and the reduction of its impact on the environment. The tour included a visit to Dolni Vitcovice, a former steel plant closed in 1998 after 170 years of activity, now turned into a unique historical and cultural site. The gigantic gas container (around 70 m wide and 33 m high) built in 1838 has been turned into a 1,500-seat concert hall.   

At the end of the tour the participants highlighted that environmental assessment tools like SEA are useful for strategic and land use planning as well as for the reclamation of industrial sites, not only to protect the environment but also to ensure economic, cultural and social benefits. However, significant efforts are still needed to prepare legislative frameworks and develop practices for the efficient application of SEA in the participating countries. The study tour was useful to support counties in strengthening the implementation of the EaP GREEN programme, which aims to address these challenges through drafting legislations, raising awareness on the benefits of SEA among various authorities, and carrying out training and pilot projects. It also allowed establishing a forum to exchange experience on SEA among experts in the region.

The study tour  was organized by the secretariat to the UNECE Convention on Environmental Impact Assessment in a Transboundary Context (Espoo Convention) and its Protocol on Strategic Environmental Assessment (Protocol on SEA) with the financial support of the European Union funded programme “Greening Economies in the Eastern Neighbourhood” (EaP GREEN) and the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency.

For further information, please visit: http://www.unece.org/env/sea/eapgreen.html