Planning a SEA change: designing a robust framework for strategic environmental assessment in Nova Scotia
Whynacht, Christopher R
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Strategic environmental assessment (SEA) provides governments, and other organizations, a method to formally incorporate environmental dimensions into strategic planning and policy evaluation exercises. Nova Scotia is unlikely to achieve the legislated goal of developing sustainable prosperity without using a process like SEA. This thesis modifies common SEA guidance and theory to make the method more procedurally robust, consistent, and transparent. I argue that SEA requires a stable framework which adapts to evaluate a wide range of strategic actions using a standardized process. This thesis also suggests that more focus on developing rigorous evaluation criteria during scoping activities may avoid producing shallow and superficial assessments. This proposed SEA framework was designed for Nova Scotia, but may also appeal to decision-makers, process managers, and interested parties in other jurisdictions that want a consistent process for evaluating the environmental effects of strategic actions.