The workshop on the Practical Application of Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) in Regional and Spatial Planning in Azerbaijan was organized as a virtual event on 15 October 2021, 10:00 – 16:00 (Baku time).
Meeting objectives, expected outputs and outcomes
The main objectives of the workshop were to:
- Further 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;
- Facilitate the exchange of experience in SEA for spatial planning from other Eastern Partnership countries;
- Facilitate the engagement of key stakeholders and continued exchange of experience on SEA in the national Regional and Spatial planning context.
The workshop was expected to facilitate expert-level discussion on the practical application of SEA for regional and spatial plans in Azerbaijan.
The workshop gathered up to 40 participants from the Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources, city planning authorities, Architectural Committee, selected line ministries/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 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. Spatial planning, including regional plans, is one of the biggest and most comprehensive sectors of SEA application with considerable developments over the past decades and the vast experience available, in particular, from countries in the European Union.
Since 2004, UNECE has been providing technical assistance and capacity-building support related to SEA and transboundary EIA, including in the Caucasus and Eastern Europe. The application of SEA in practice however remains rather limited in Azerbaijan 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.