A Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) is a tool to anticipate, analyze and evaluate the likely environmental and health effects of proposed plans, programmes and other strategic actions. It should be integrated in the decision-making process and ensure public participation and consultations. As such, the purpose of SEA is to ensure that environmental considerations are integrated into strategic decision-making and to assist the authorities and decision-makers responsible for plans and programmes.
In the third EPR of Albania, it was noted that the SEA procedure is not always carried out in a proper manner, with some documents bypassing the SEA requirements altogether. Indeed, despite the adoption of the Law on Strategic Environmental Assessment No. 91/2013, challenges still remain for the relevant authorities and decision-makers to implement the SEA procedure or adopt a methodology for SEA.
To support Albania with these challenges, the UNECE has produced guidelines on the environmental monitoring programme of a plan or programme after issuance of the relevant environmental declaration. Given that one challenge faced by Albania is the lack of capacity for this evaluation, these guidelines will support the staff and decision makers responsible for plans and programmes. From a broader perspective, the improved application of SEA, as part of several tools to assess potential policies for environmental harms such as Regulatory Impact Assessments, will bolster the decision-making process in developing policies, plans and programmes that work in harmony with the environment.