3. SEA and Climate Change Nexus
3.1 SEA – Definition, Legal Context and Guidance
Appropriate deﬁnition of SEA that explicitly include the dual dimensions of environment/climate change stated by Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism, South Africa in their SEA guidelines such as ‘SEA is a process of integrating the concept of sustainability into strategic decision making that involves identifying the opportunities and constraints that the environment and socio-economic conditions present for future development’. This deﬁnition through highlighting the environmental prospects and limitations, made the dual nature of climate change issues (e.g. potential to increase/decrease greenhouse gas emissions and vulnerability to climate changes and hazards) more apparent and thus increased the likelihood to be acknowledged and addressed (DEAT 2007; cited in Posas 2011b).
In European Union (EU) member countries, SEA is explicitly obligatory under the EU SEA Directive - 2001/42/EC (EC 2001) to consider the signiﬁcant effects related to ‘climatic factors’, which is progressively understood to include ‘climate change’. Multilateral development banks and international development agencies also requires SEAs for many of their projects in client countries and express pledge to consider climate change (Therivel 2004; Fischer 2007; Posas 2011a).
Additionally, Kørnøv and Wejs (2013) stated two major relationship between the EU SEA Directive and the climate change agenda. First, the directive provides a significant opportunity for the incorporation of climate change concerns in plans and programmes generally within all sectors. Second, the directive provides a foundation for securing that, speciﬁc ‘climate change plans’ are developed with a systematic consideration of effects linked with a broader concept of the environment.
The most usually recognized EIA based SEA practice comprises of seven main procedural stages – screening; scoping; analysis of alternatives; report preparation and review; decision making; follow up and monitoring; and consultation and participation (Therivel 2004; Fischer 2007). From the perspective of climate change and related hazard inclusion, scoping is perhaps the most important stage. Climate change and disaster risk should be clearly mentioned in the scope of the SEA and in the ‘terms of reference’ of policies, plans and programs - PPPs (Environment Agency et al. 2007; OECD 2008; Larsen et al. 2012). Moreover, the available literatures and guidelines till date suggest that climate change should be accounted in SEA in relation to alternatives, greenhouse gas emissions reduction and monitoring and in relation to stakeholder involvement and biodiversity conservation (Burdge 2008; Larsen and Kørnøv 2009; Byer et al. 2012; Kørnøv and Wejs 2013).