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Strategic environmental assessment and monitoring: Arctic key gaps and bridging pathways
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Sustainable development, Environmental science and Engineering, Land and Water Resources Engineering. (Environmental Management and Assessment)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-2914-7538
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Sustainable development, Environmental science and Engineering, Land and Water Resources Engineering. (Environmental Management and Assessment)
Stockholm University. (Department of Physical Geography and Quaternary Geology)
Stockholm University. (Department of Physical Geography and Quaternary Geology)
2013 (English)In: Environmental Research Letters, ISSN 1748-9326, Vol. 8, no 4, 044033- p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The Arctic region undergoes rapid and unprecedented environmental change. Environmental assessment and monitoring is needed to understand and decide how to mitigate and/or adapt tothe changes and their impacts on society and ecosystems. This letter analyzes the application of strategic environmental assessment (SEA) and the monitoring, based on environmental observations, that should be part of SEA, elucidates main gaps in both, and proposes an overarching SEA framework to systematically link and improve both with focus on the rapidly changing Arctic region. Shortcomings in the monitoring of environmental change are concretized by examples of main gaps in the observations of Arctic hydroclimatic changes. For relevant identification and efficient reduction of such gaps and remaining uncertainties under typical conditions of limited monitoring resources, the proposed overarching framework for SEA application includes components for explicit gap/uncertainty handling and monitoring, systematically integrated within all steps of the SEA process. The framework further links to adaptive governance, which should explicitly consider key knowledge and information gaps that are identified through and must be handled in the SEA process, and accordingly (re)formulate and promote necessary new or modified monitoring objectives for bridging these gaps.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013. Vol. 8, no 4, 044033- p.
Keyword [en]
Arctic, strategic environmental assessment, hydroclimatic change, climate change
National Category
Environmental Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-136076DOI: 10.1088/1748-9326/8/4/044033ISI: 000329604900040ScopusID: 2-s2.0-84891934551OAI: diva2:670497
StandUpSwedish Research Council, 2007-8393

QC 20140207

Available from: 2013-12-03 Created: 2013-12-03 Last updated: 2015-05-25Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Beyond impacts: Contextualizing strategic environmental assessment to foster the inclusion of multiple values in strategic planning
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Beyond impacts: Contextualizing strategic environmental assessment to foster the inclusion of multiple values in strategic planning
2015 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Strategic environmental assessment (SEA) has the potential to improve strategic planning. However, meeting this expectation is a major challenge since SEA practice still constraints itself to assess the impacts of strategic planning initiatives. To advance the role of SEA beyond impact assessment, it has been argued that SEA needs to adapt to strategic planning contexts. Yet, there is a lack of consensus on how SEA should adapt to strategic planning contexts as these are complex, vary considerably and carry high levels of uncertainty. Against this background, the aim of this thesis is to contribute to the development of SEA by creating knowledge on ways in which it can be contextualized to different strategic planning situations. Three case studies addressing different values and strategic planning contexts were designed from which experiences on SEA conceptualization were drawn. The results show that developing strategic focused SEA frameworks that enhance dialogue, collaboration and knowledge generation on multiple values can address issues such as: the lack of data and objectives in developing planning contexts; gaps in knowledge and uncertainty associated to environmental monitoring in transboundary contexts; and the recognition of the importance of ecosystem services and their needed green qualities in urbanizing contexts. Based on the gained case study experiences, it is argued that SEA contextualization can mean addressing strategic planning intentions, identifying and engaging actors, deriving and prioritizing key values, collaborating to generate knowledge on key issues, and using this knowledge to shape strategic planning. Due to the complexity of the issues involved, contextualizing SEA is considered to be challenging to achieve and requires time and resources. However, based on the SEA case studies, it can be argued that the value added to strategic planning outweighs these requirements. Continuing to study the practice of context adaptable, strategic focused and participatory based SEA processes may contribute to advance SEA’s role beyond impact assessment and enable reaching its expected potentials.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH Royal Institute of Technology, 2015. viii, 44 p.
TRITA-LWR. PHD, ISSN 1650-8602 ; 2015:02
Strategic environmental assessment; Context; Values; Strategic planning; Participation; Ecosystem services; Monitoring
National Category
Environmental Management
Research subject
Planning and Decision Analysis
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-167968 (URN)978-91-7595-623-7 (ISBN)
Public defence
2015-06-12, D3, Lindstedtsvägen 5, KTH, Stockholm, 09:00 (English)

QC 20150525

Available from: 2015-05-25 Created: 2015-05-22 Last updated: 2015-05-25Bibliographically approved

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