• Lydia Patricia Botero Baez
Modern phenomena as the rapid urbanisation growth, global economic crisis and an extended environmental crisis, are being tackled with actions that are reflected at different levels, such as the international, national and regional. Diverse initiatives are proposed in the direction of reaching a more sustainable development, and attempt to fill the gap between nature and our urbanisation needs. Acknowledging that natural ecosystems are providing ecosystem services to citizens, and contribute to health, development, and the improvement of the quality of life of dwellers in all dimensions.
In this context, the ecosystem approach calls for involvement of stakeholders and active participation of local communities for carrying out environmental assessments. Several reasons support this recommendation, among them: knowledge acquisition, shared decisions, transparency, long term effects prediction, broad and more innovative proposals for alternatives, etc.
This research has as a main objective to find the challenges, benefits and opportunities of increased engagement of Stakeholders, since early stages of environmental assessments, and when ecosystem services are integrated in the procedure of evaluation. Qualitative methods are used, such as: three cases of SEA from different countries, interviews to expert academics and practitioners, and general trends drawn with data from a survey among experienced environmental professionals; interesting findings are combined and analysed.
Collaborative planning gives framework for the understanding of how stakeholder’s participation serves as a mean to make the integration of ecosystem services into SEA. Features of the collaborative planning model, such as: knowledge integration, meaningful involvement, functioning governance and sustainable use of the area, are reflected in SEA.
At least three methodologies for integration of ecosystem services into SEA are highlighted, for which engagement of stakeholders is essential; besides the role of the actors in aspects of ecosystem services is well defined. However, it is evidenced that challenges associated to these practices need to be overcome. Methodologies require to be adapted to the socio-political, socio-economic and environmental context of each country or region where they are intended to be implemented. Time and economic resources are still the two major downsides of increased involvement of stakeholders, but they are presumed to be compensated by the quality in the outcomes of the SEA.
Publication date4 Jun 2014
Number of pages52
External collaboratorNIRAS A/S
Technical Director UK branch Mike Barker MBAR@niras.com
Information group
ID: 198542579