Bonifazi rega iaia sea prague 2011

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Paper presented at symposium, SEA Implementazion and practive: Making an Impact? International Association for Impact Assessment, II Special Conference on SEA Prague, 21-23 September, 2011

Paper presented at symposium, SEA Implementazion and practive: Making an Impact? International Association for Impact Assessment, II Special Conference on SEA Prague, 21-23 September, 2011

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  • 1. MAKING AN IMPACT? SPECIAL CONFERENCE ON STRATEGIC ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT IAIA SEA PRAGUE II 2011THEME 11 SEA FOR POLICY-MAKING - LESSONS FROM EUROPE AND INTERNATIONALLY SESSION 11.2: HOW CAN POLICY SEA CONTRIBUTE TO GREENING GOVERNANCE? COOPERATION IN SEA IN A DECENTRALIZED GOVERNANCE SYSTEM Alessandro Bonifazi (Polytechnic University of Bari, Italy) & Carlo Rega (Polytechnic University of Turin, Italy) 21-23 September 201122/09/2011 Prague, Czech Republic
  • 2.  Research Design  Conceptual Background and Research Questions  Information about the Context  Methodology Discussion of key issues  What is the procedural and substantial nature of institutional cooperation in SEA?  How is institutional cooperation in SEA interfering with the environmental governance dynamics embedded in the existing planning systems?  What are the outcomes of institutional cooperation in SEA? Conclusions and Future developments 1/14 Overview of the presentation
  • 3.  Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) aims to insinuateecological rationalities into systems of governance (Bina, 2007) In real SEA processes:  issues are controversial (on scientific, epistemological and ethical grounds);  social and environmental aspects are intertwined; and  no single player is empowered with full decision‐making power (Bartlett and Kurian, 1999; Nilsson and Dalkmann, 2001; Nitz and Brown, 2001; Nooteboom and Teisman, 2003; Runhaar and Driessen, 2007) Institutional cooperation and public participation are allegedlydistinctive of SEA when compared to other forms of environmentalassessment 2/14 Research Design: Conceptual Background
  • 4.  Is the implementation of the SEA-Directive in Italycontributing to fostering institutional cooperation betweenplanning and environmental authorities?  What is the procedural and substantial nature of institutional cooperation in SEA?  How is institutional cooperation in SEA interfering with the environmental governance dynamics embedded in the existing planning systems?  What are the outcomes of institutional cooperation in SEA? 3/14 Research Design: Conceptual Background
  • 5. Competent Authority SR= Scoping Report RO= Reasoned Opinion SR RO SEA= Strategic SEA Environmental AssessmentPlanning Environ. ER= Environmental ReportAuthority ER Authorities Highly decentralised ITALY: lagging planning (some) REGIONS behind system and forerunnersenvironmental policy distributed (planning innovation) innovation environmental governance2/18 Research Design: Context
  • 6.  Desktop analysis of regional SEA systems inItaly, against the background of evolving national legislation 30 semi‐structured interviews with key SEA players inItaly (7 planners, 9 evaluators, and 14 civil servants in localand environmental authorities), covering also institutionalcooperationa dedicated questionnaire survey - only pilot studycompleted so far: 15 respondents (similar distribution ofroles as above), 10 regions covered (only 3 with at leastthree respondents), 150+ SEA processes considered, mainlyin the spatial planning sector 5/14 Research Design: Methodology
  • 7.  24 different (types of) environmental authoritiesreported, but only 6 more prominent (EnvironmentProtection, Health, Protected AreaManagement, Government Departments of Planning and ofEnvironment, and bordering Local Authorities, plus WaterCatchment Management Authorities in Southern regions) Bilateral (technical) meetings and multilateral “ad hoc”decision bodies, together with trans-organizational informalinteractions are considered the most effective methods tofoster cooperationKnowledge sharing is clearly the main contribution fromenvironmental authorities, followed by decision support (onboth SEA and planning processes) 6/14 Key Issue 1: What Institutional Cooperation?
  • 8.  As for the nature and modes of institutionalinteractions, it appears to be:  informative > consultative >> codecisional >> implementation-oriented  cooperative > negotiative >> competitive >> conflicting 7/14 Key Issue 1: What Institutional Cooperation?
  • 9. * *Government level where the CA for SEA of municipal spatial plans is established 8/14 Key Issue 2: Environmental Governance Reloaded
  • 10. SEA may play a key role under alternative governance arrangements, by alteringthe distribution of roles and powers PIEDMONT (IT) * CAMPANIA (IT) ENGLAND (UK) Regional Gov. / Provincial Regional Government National Planning Gov. / Municipal Gov. Inspectorate SEA Reasoned checked Opinion plan and draft plan plan ER Provincial Gov. Binding report Municipality covering all ER planning issues including SEASEA Reasoned EROpinion draft plan Local Municipal Technical Authority Municipality Body 9/14 Key Issue 2: Environmental Governance Reloaded
  • 11.  Despite it is a “Reasoned Opinion”, the final SEAstatement includes mainly binding prescriptions concerningboth the SEA process as reflected in the ER and theplan, but these are very seldom of a strategic nature the introduction of SEA arrangements (in the opinion ofrespondents):  had no significant impact on power distribution within multilevel governance relationships ,  resulted in a greater need of coordination among the many authorities involved, and  might raise the status of environmental authorities which were not in charge of issuing binding opinions 10/14 Key Issue 2: Environmental Governance Reloaded
  • 12.  The most relevant outcomes in terms of pursuing highpolicy objectives seem to be:  increased transparency and accountability  greater integration of environmental considerations in plan- making, whereas  a poor contribution is made to streamlining procedures and reducing time and cost burdens Some environmental policy sectors are being betterintegrated in planning through institutional cooperation inSEA, including:  SOIL PROTECTION (in terms of hydro-geological risk rather than land use and urban sprawl)  BIODIVERSITY  LANDSCAPE AND CULTURAL HERITAGE 11/14 Key Issue 3: Outcomes of Cooperation
  • 13.  Although all suggested items were deemed relevant, themost important LIMITING FACTORS for INSTITUTIONALCOOPERATION in SEA seem to be:  HIGHLY FRAGMENTED environmental governance systems  LACK OF ADEQUATE RESOURCES (human and financial), especially for local authorities  POOR ADAPTATION on the side of environmental authorities to the PARADIGM SHIFTS centred on cooperation, both in environmental assessment (from control to collaborative planning) and in planning (from government to governance) 12/14 Key Issue 3: Outcomes of Cooperation
  • 14.  The preliminary results (which will need to be reconsidered once thestudy is completed) suggest that no SEA player is able to triggersignificant improvements :  LOCAL AUTHORITIES are caught in between DECREASING FINANCIAL ENDOWMENTS and increasing environmental responsibilities (Bobbio, 2002; Owen et al., 2007).  PRACTITIONERS (Planners and Evaluators) operate in SHRINKING MARKETS and are bound to loyalty to commissioners (Dahler- Larsen, 2006).  ENVIRONMENTAL AUTHORITIES enjoy very different working conditions in terms of the strength of (and public support for) their institutional mandates Socio-economic dynamics at macro level (e.g. the erosion of local authorities’ financial capacity to deliver public policy) affecting institutional cooperation and the momentum of SEA at large are beyond the scope of our reflections, however… 13/14 Conclusions and Future Developments
  • 15. … to prevent SEA from being perceived as excess administrativeburden, serving purely conservationist goals and trapped into powergames within multilevel governance dynamics, we would argue for: better integration into planning systems, irrespective of whatevergovernance arrangements is in place SEA capacity-building within environmental authorities (training inplanning and evaluation; negotiating the overlaps and interconnectionsof tasks and expertise); resorting extensively to ICT-based tools for institutionalcooperation, by tapping into the “Digital Administration Code” agendaand related funding initiatives focusing scarce resources on truly strategic policies (e.g. theintroduction of environmentally harmful subsidies in the energy sector)and away from micro interventions currently falling under the scope ofSEA legislation 14/14 Conclusions and Future Developments
  • 16. THANK YOU Alessandro Bonifazi Ph.D. in Spatial Planning, MSc in Human Ecology Polytechnic University of Bari (Italy), Italian Ministry for the Environment email: a.bonifazi@poliba.it Carlo Rega Ph.D. in Spatial Planning, MSc in Environmental Engineering Polytechnic University of Turin (Italy) email: carlo.rega@polito.it22/09/2011