Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) Unit was established in 2018 for the purpose of establishment and implementation of a legislative framework under the National Environmental Act (NEA) No. 47 of 1980 as amended, in order to introduce Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) to Sri Lanka and implementation of SEA process for policies, strategies, plans and programmes of the country.
A Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) is a systematic process for evaluating environmental implications of a proposed policy, strategy, plan or programme and provides means for looking at cumulative effects and appropriately address them at the earliest stage of decision making together with economic and social considerations. All Ministries, government departments, authorities, statutory boards, government institutions, provincial councils, institutions of provincial councils and local authorities who are responsible for implementing a policy, strategy, plan or programme are expected to carry out a Strategic Environmental Assessment for the particular policy, strategy, plan or programme during its formulation stage or amending process if there is a significant environmental effect which is identified through a ‘check list’.
The Central Environmental Authority (CEA) established under the NEA No. 47 of 1980 will be the administrator and the main implementing agency of SEAs in Sri Lanka. At the moment SEA Unit conducts SEAs in association with planning agencies on voluntary basis.
Functions of the Unit
1. Setting up of a legislative framework for introduction of SEA to Sri Lanka and implementation
2. Implementing SEAs
3. Conducting awareness programmes on SEA