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The Role of Strategic Environmental Assessment in the Implementation of the Water Framework Directive; Example from Sweden

Author(s): Berit Balfors; Monica Hammer; Ulla Mortberg; Malin Larsson; Andrew Quin

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Abstract: The implementation of the EU Water Framework Directive (WFD) is expected to promote sustainable governance of water resources following an ecosystem approach. A core feature of the WFD is the water planning cycle which, through an iterative process, encourages the development of management strategies to help reach the goal of good status for water bodies in river basin districts. As part of the water management cycle, a Strategic Environmental Assessment is a valuable aid which can help to evaluate and assess the impacts of alternative management strategies. This paper analyses the role of SEA in the implementation of the EU Water Framework Directive and the integration of SEA in the water management process. The paper is based on experiences from an on-going research project of the North Baltic Sea Water District in Sweden. In accordance with the WFD, Sweden has formed five River Basin Districts (RBDs), introducing a new regional administrative level in Sweden. The case study concerns one of the five districts; North Baltic RBD. A number of different methods have been used to collect and analyze data: interviews, workshops, GIS-based methods, and modeling. The results indicate a mismatch in the organizational settings in the North Baltic RBD that affects the possibility of linking the SEA process with the WFD programme of measures. A synchronisation of the processes for preparing the programme of measures and the SEA can contribute to an improved exchange of knowledge and integration of outcomes of the SEA in the programme of measures.


Year: 2012

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