SEA profile

Updated to: 10 September 2019

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Overview SEA procedure

There are seven phases i) Establishing the Strategic Environmental Framework, (ii) Scope of the SEA, (iii) Model of Environmental Assessment, (iv) Analysis and Environmental Diagnostic, (v) Environmental assessment of options, (vi) Prevention and monitoring and (vii) Elaboration and consultation on final documents.

Guía práctica para formular evaluaciones ambientales estratégicas en Colombia, 2008, Herrera R.J., Bonilla Madriñan M., Bogotá

Establishing context

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Implementing SEA

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At the strategic level the evaluation of the alternatives consists of:

  • Evaluation of consistency of alternatives with environmental objectives of the plan
  • Identification of environmental criteria for the next phase of prevention and follow-up

Guía práctica para formular evaluaciones ambientales estratégicas en Colombia, 2008, Herrera R.J., Bonilla Madriñan M., Bogotá

Content of SEA report

  • Planning of the process
  • Analysis of the institutional framework
  • Stakeholders analysis
  • Identification of the institutional, territorial and environmental effects
  • Environmental objectives of the policy, plan or program and sectoral planning
  • The environmental diagnosis of the plan
  • Results of environmental assessment of the alternatives of the plan
  • Direct environmental management instruments
  • Strategic environmental dimension of the plan
  • Recommendations of the SEA to the process of elaboration of the plan
  • Consulted agencies
  • Sources
  • Monitoring plan
  • Summary

Guía práctica para formular evaluaciones ambientales estratégicas en Colombia, 2008, Herrera R.J., Bonilla Madriñan M., Bogotá

Informing decision making

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SEA and planning decision-making

The SEA is seen as an instrument of support for the incorporation of the environmental dimension into strategic decision-making. The SEA is prepared together with the preparation of the policy, plan or programme. The Ministery of Environment and Sustainable Development assists the responsible sectoral entities who have to formulate or implement the SEA, with the preparation of Terms of Reference, review of scoping and diagnostic documents, and progress in the formulation of the SEA, as well as discussion workshops with relevant stakeholders. At the same time, the Ministry itself also develops some SEAs in pilot sectors, to make progress in the conceptual and procedural aspects of SEA. 


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SEA practice

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Annual no. of SEAs

On average 1 per year

Central SEA database

The Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development manages a central database documents of the SEA which is accessible to the public. (The documents can be obtained upon request).

NCEA's capacity development activities

SEA workshops organized by the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development were conducted.

  • International workshop in Cartagena MAVDT-World Bank (2003)
  • Department National Planning (DNP) - conceptual and procedural model for SEA, Colombia (2004) and publication by DNP (2005)
  • International course on SEA in 2005 (with U. externado de Colombia and international expert Rodrigo Jiliberto.
  • 2005: workshops by MAVDT and IDEAM for subsectors (hydrocarbons, mining, energy, agriculture, infrastructure and transport)
  • SEA week Bogota and Cartagena, 2006, Colombia,  organized by MAVDT, World Bank, IAIA, EPA, and AECI.
  • Since 2006 the NCEA has been involved at the request of the ministry of Environment to assist with EIA and SEA through workshops, pilots, sector guidelines, assessment instruments.
  • 2018, Exchange workshop on SEA between Colombia and Central American countries

Relevant links on SEA

Alexander von Humboldt Biological Resources Research Institute

Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development case studies of SEA (website in Spanish)

Background information

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History of SEA

Among the first strategic environmental assessment documents in Colombia was the environmental policy document (No. 3120) of CONPES; "Strategy for the improvement of the environmental management of the electric sector", approved in 2001. In 2003 an event of SEA in Latin America was held in Cartagena organized by the Ministry of Environment and the World Bank.

The National Development Plan for 2002-2006  "Towards a State Community” identified the incorporation of environmental sectoral planning processes as one of the main programs of national production and environmental sustainability. The plan stresses the importance of SEAs and the strengthening of the current environmental licensing process. This Plan was adopted through Law No. 812 of 2003. The law stipulates in its Article 8°:

  • “strategic environmental assessments should be executed for critical production sectors and for rural land use planning“ .

In 2006 general guidelines for the formulation of strategic environmental assessments of plans and programmes of the agricultural sector (10 in total, e.g. coffee, palm, flowers etc) were defined. The National Development Plan of 2010-2014 also followed the guidelines provided in the National Development Plan of 2002-2006.

Since 2006 the SEA system in Colombia is continuously further developed through workshops, events, publications etc. Until 2019, 20 SEAs have been executed.

Legal framework

Enabling law

At this time there is no legal basis for implementation of SEA. Sectors elaborate SEA voluntarily, with the help of the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development.

National detailed regulation

At the moment there are no regulations that require SEA for policies, plans and programs nor official procedures, scope and competences for SEA institutions.

Sector specific procedures/regulations

The Mining Law No. 1382 stipules in Article 40: The National Mining Management Plan, prepared by the Ministry of Mining and Energy must coordinate with the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development, given the effects on the environment, the location of the population and environmental land use possibilities. In any case the National Mining Management Plan will include strategic environmental analysis of the territory.


  • "Practical guide to formulate strategic environmental assessment in Colombia”, written by Herrera  R.J., Bonilla Madriñan M., Bogotá in 2008. The guide facilitates the elaboration of a SEA and as such helps to improve of planning instruments.
  • ”General guidelines for the formulation of strategic environmental assessment plans and programs of the agricultural sector”, prepared by MAVDT and the Colombia Farmers Society (Sociedad de Agricultores de Colombia, SAC), 2006
  • SEA Guide, published by CEPAL, 2009

Rodrigo Jiliberto Herrera, TAU Consultora Ambiental-España, Editor Marcela Bonilla Madriñán, Ministerio del Ambiente, Vivienda y Desarrollo Territorial-Colombia, Editor Manuel Alvarez Arenas, Lourdes Losarcos, Tau Consultora Ambiental-España

Scope of application

The scope is to apply SEA to plans, policies and programs that are important to national social and/or economic development and imply cumulative, synergic, indirect and longterm effects.

SEA approach

Methodology of SEA is different from the ESIA procedure. Both instruments are complementary. SEA is a framework for future projects that require an environmental license through the elaboration of an EIA.

From SEA guide for Colombia, 2008

Guía práctica para formular evaluaciones ambientales estratégicas en Colombia, 2008, Herrera R.J., Bonilla Madriñan M., Bogotá


Institutional setting

Central SEA authority

The sector Ministry or entity that develops the economic or social policy, plan or program is in charge of the SEA. The Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development (previously the Ministry of the Environment, Housing and Territorial Development, MAVDT) is the authority that provides asistance and support to the responsable entities in the elaboration of the SEA.

The Ministry promotes the inclusion of SEA as a strategy to incorporate the environmental dimension in the sectoral or territorial planning process.

Initiator of the SEA

The Sector Ministry has to initiate the process of SEA. 
The Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development functions as adviser in the process.


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Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development

Calle 37 No. 8-40
Bogotá D.C
Tel: (0057) - 1 - 3323434 / 3323400