SEAMLESS, Strategic Environmental Assessment and Management in Local authorities in Sweden
The SEAMLESS (Strategic Environmental Assessment and Management in Local authorities in Sweden) project addresses gaps in the knowledge and practice related to integrated use of environmental policy tools, particularly Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) and Environmental Management Systems (EMS) in local authorities. The SEAMLESS project aims to explore conceptual foundations as well as feasibility of establishing better operational and methodological linkages between these tools for strategic environmental planning, assessment and management in the context of Sustainable Development Strategies (SDSs).
The SEAMLESS project is motivated, on the one hand, by the need to enhance the 'strategic' and participatory character of EMS in local authorities, particularly their ability to deal with environmental impacts of their plans and programs. On the other hand, the SEAMLESS project seeks to improve the effectiveness of SEA by linking its follow-up elements to management systems. Finally, the SEAMLESS project aspires to ensure more systematic implementation of SDSs at the local level.
The specific objectives of SEAMLESS include: 1) Formulation of a conceptual framework for the integrated use of SEA and EMS. 2) Benchmarking the good practice of such integrated use of strategic tools. 3) Evaluation of the existing practice of the integrated tools use in selected Swedish local authorities. 4) Identifying and piloting options for enhancing tools interaction. 5) Formulating recommendations for policy and capacity building in this area.
The SEAMLESS project will be based on contemporary environmental management and social science theories (e.g. theories on organizational learning). A wide review of research and institutional literature will be followed by case studies and pilot projects in local authorities. Seminars within and outside MiSt with practitioners and academic peers will not only disseminate research findings, but also contribute to achieving all of the research objectives. SEAMLESS is a joint proposal between LiU and IIIEE which have complementary competences in environmental assessment and management.
The relevance and value of SEAMLESS is in its focus on widely used tools: EMS and SEA, whose effectiveness it seeks to enhance. The proposal is closely linked with the key aspects of the MiSt programme: effectiveness, tiering and the concept of tools and explores its two key themes: legislation and public participation.
SEAMLESS' results will be disseminated via special reports, published academic papers, through international and national conferences as well as workshops within and outside MiSt.