SEApp - transparency & participatory decision making

Increased transparency and public participation on European investment projects with major impact

Increased transparency and public participation in the process of developing and approving large scale European investment projects with substantial environmental impact
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Contesto della sfida

How can we increase the transparency and stakeholder involvement in the process of approving strategic, large national & European investment projects in transport, energy, agriculture, waste - to reduce the negative environmental impact of opportunistic investments?

Before bad infrastructure projects are being developed in a specific sector (a coal plant in the energy sector, a highway in the transport sector etc) and their environmental impact is assessed, bigger plans and programmes are being designed that set the direction of that specific sector - one such example can be a national transport master plan or a land use plan for a specific region. These types of higher-ups plans have to undergo a strategic environmental assessment which provides a critical opportunity in time to shift the direction of an entire sector and not just of specific project so they have a positive contribution to climate resilience and natures wellbeing. However, the public is very poorly consulted on this, there is little opportunity to bring forward alternatives, examples of nature friendly and climate friendly projects although the legislation at national and European level provides the opportunity for the public to shift completely the direction of the strategic planning in a sector through the SEA process. Cities, in particular, have a tremendous role to play in providing input for such strategic directions and are also negatively impacted by masterplans that don't take into account local realities.


  • How can we motivate civil society/experts to participate and become more involved in Europan strategic sectoral planning?
  • In which stage/moment in the Strategic Environmental Assessments (SEA) of European master plans can the public make the biggest difference?
  • What kind of information, examples of challenges from the field (local and national level) would be relevant to influence the direction of these sector plans so that they support SDGs and work towards climate resilience?
  • What is the most suitable tool to capture input from local/national stakeholders (information, examples, positions, data, etc) and ensure meaningful participation in the SEA process?
  • Is it possible that public participation in the SEA processes is coherent/applicable in a number of countries and regions? Is an online/digital platform for all, the solution?

View more info here about SEA!

Descrizione della sfida

We need to have a proper implementation of the SEA Directive in order to be able to identify unforeseen negative effects at an early stage or/and significant environmental effects of the plans or programmes. Also, though early involved, alternatives to the specific plan or programme can be designed.

The public can bring new information about the state of environmental factors, about the impact produced on the field, etc.. Public does not mean just ordinary people without expertise, include also local community, many experts who can participate in public consultation and improve the quality of the participation procedure.

Over time, the most relevant problems regarding the SEA process seem to be the involvement of the public in a very advanced stage of the plan/ programme and the lack of monitoring of the implementation.

In order to tackle these problems, we need to have/ use an innovative tool that can inform in time and enable local communities, SEA consultants and environmental practitioners to participate in the public consultation.

The tool will function as a process facilitator helping guide stakeholder inclusion, participation, content formation, dissemination and decision-making (with the mention that it is desired that in the future this tool to be used both in the network and also outside, especially among SEA consultants).

How can a tool improve the participation and increase the transparency on the SEA process and the quality of the resulting decisions by authorities?
Ideas could be focused on/ Solutions could focus on:

- improve the ongoing SEA processes, especially the monitoring stage
- how this new app/online platform can act as a strong advocacy tool
- how can be raise awareness and visibility – on SEA processes
- how can be the public inform in time about the ongoing SEA processes stages (mechanism for real time SEA processes and their stages)
- coalition building tool
- educational/learning tool
- access to data and best practices
- is or not recommended to store evidence of the SEA process (the limit of the platform?)
- this tool receives but will be able also to provide information - it is a two-way communication channel

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