Updated to: 09 October 2013Download as PDF
Country contact on SEA
Mrs R.R.Ellepola, DDG
Central Environmental Authority
Mrs. Kanthi de Silva
Central Environmental Authority
Environmental Impacts Assessment unit
History of SEA
In 2006, a cabinet memorandum was submitted by the CEA requiring that all major policies, plans and programmes be subjected to an SEA prior to implementation. This memorandum was subsequently approved by the Cabinet of Ministers. All Ministries, Departments and Authorities who are responsible for implementing a new policy, plan or programme are expected to carry out a Strategic Environmental Assessment for the new policy, plan or programme prior to its implementation. Although this does not equal a fully fledged SEA framework and although SEA still is not a mandatory requirement in Sri Lanka, it provides a basis for SEA practice in Sri Lanka.
Several pilot SEA’s have already been carried out in order test SEa in the Sri lankan context. In 2009, an SEA guide has been developed by the Central Environmental Authority.
Ramani Ellepola (2007) EIA in Sri Lanka. Presentation in PENTA – WII WORKSHOP ON ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT CURRICULAUM Dehradun, India 24-26 September 2007 Website CEA: http://www.cea.lk/SEA.php
Legal framework for SEA
A detailed legal framework for SEA has not yet been developed.
First national detailed SEA regulation
There are no SEA guidelines and procedures.
Sector specific procedures/regulations
There are no sector specific SEA guidelines and procedures.
The Central Environmental Authority has issued a 'Simple Guide to Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA)' in 2009. These guidelines are not legally binding and merely give recommendations to Ministries and other government agencies.
Scope of SEA application
The SEA guidelines recommend that SEA should be done for policies, (provincional, regional, district, local authority) plans, development programmes and strategic plans.
Exemptions from SEA application
The SEA guide suggests that strategic plans and programmes that relate to defense are excluded from the requirement for SEA. The same accounts for proposals that are prepared in response for a clear and immediate emergency situation.
Institutional setting for SEA
The SEA guide suggests a 'preliminary scan' to determine if there are important environmental effects of a policy, programme or plan. It provides questions that can be used to perform a preliminary scan.
Implementing the SEA
Content of SEA report
The not legally binding SEA guide suggests that an SEA report shall contain the following elements:
The existing situation in the particular sector and/or region.
The major goals and objectives of the policy, plan or programme.
The most pronounced environmental issues (adverse as well as positive) of the preferred options.
The significance of these environmental effects.
What can be done to avoid or lessen the negative effects and enhance the positive effects?
Details of consultations with any stakeholders including internal meetings with other sections as well as with external agencies and how the out comes of these consultations were integrated into the policy/plan/programme.
State how the findings of the SEA influenced the final policy / plan / programme.
State how the environmental effects associated with the policy, plan or progrmme will be mitigated and monitored and reported upon.
SEA guide 2009
Informing and influencing decision-making
SEA and planning decision-making
There are no legal requirements for obtaining a CEA approval for SEA's at presents.
SEA guide, 2009
Annual no. of SEAs
Central SEA database
C. Mackee J, J. Obbard and C. Briffet (2001). EIA in Sri Lanka: it's status and the potential for introduction of SEA. Journal of Environmental Impact Assessment, Policy and Management, vol. 3 no. 2 June 2001. pp 209-240.
SEA Case studies undertaken in Sri Lanka include SEAs for the:
- Hambantota solid waste disposal sites;
- Panadure development plan; and
- Trincomalee Development Plan.
In 2006, the Netherland Commission for Environmental Assessment gave two workshops on SEA. The first was an introductory work shop on SEA targeting members of TERP, MoE, CEA and UDA. The second workshop was organised particularly for UDA and town planning experts and environmental consultants involved with the townships development project of the Ministry of Urban Development and Water Supply.
Non-governmental SEA guidance
No information available.
Other relevant links on SEA
Sri Lanka EIA and SEA overview at UNU SEA wiki