The training workshop on the “Practical Application of Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) in Regional and Spatial Planning” was held on 26-27 April 2021.
Meeting objectives, expected outputs and outcomes
The main objectives of the workshop were to:
- enhance capacities for the application of SEA in Azerbaijan in line with the requirements of the UNECE Protocol on SEA, EU SEA Directive and the national legislation on SEA;
- support the Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources in raising awareness about the SEA, SEA-related regulatory framework and its application; and
- facilitate the engagement of key stakeholders and exchange of experience on SEA in the Regional and Spatial planning context.
The workshop is expected to help to further engage relevant stakeholders to participate in SEA implementation effort and to facilitate expert discussion on practical application of SEA in Azerbaijan.
The meeting gathered up to 40 participants from the Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources, sectoral ministries and agencies as well as environmental NGOs active in this area.
Following the principles and procedures laid down in the UNECE Protocol on SEA to the Convention on Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) in a Transboundary Context (Espoo Convention) and in the European Union’s Directive on SEA (2001/42/EC), Azerbaijan is implementing the SEA to allow for identification of the most sustainable and cost-effective strategic development alternatives and attracting new investments, while safeguarding and improving the environment.
The application of SEA in practice however remains rather limited in the country as the overall institutional capacities for SEA require significantly more strengthening to be fully fit for purpose. There is still a need to support environmental, health and sectoral planning authorities through capacity-building and awareness-raising activities addressing, inter alia, relevant procedures and challenges as well as respective roles of different authorities and stakeholders in the implementation of SEA procedures.
This workshop was the first of two SEA training workshops under the EU4Environment workplan for Azerbaijan. Along with the workplan’s other SEA-related activities, it promoted the more systematic and effective application of SEA in accordance with the UNECE Protocol on SEA, EU SEA Directive and the national legislation on SEA. It was dedicated to the application of SEA in the context of Regional and Spatial Planning, which constitute a very significant but also specific and challenging domain of SEA application. The workshop was facilitated by SEA consultants to UNECE.