Environmental assessment in countries in transition: Evolution in a changing context

TitleEnvironmental assessment in countries in transition: Evolution in a changing context
Publication TypeJournal Article
AuthorsCherp, A.
Journal titleJournal Of Environmental Management
Pages357 - 374

Over the last fifteen years, Environmental Assessment systems of transitional societies of Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia have undergone dramatic change from appraisals integrated into centrally planned economies to formal procedures aimed to ensure interdisciplinary analysis of environmental impacts and linked to publicly accountable decision-making. In most Central European nations, EA systems have been radically reformed to approximate the procedures used in developed countries, particularly in the European Union. In contrast, EA in most of the former Soviet republics has been reformed more gradually and is still based on the so-called State Environmental Review procedure inherited from the USSR and substantially different from 'Western' EA. About one-third of the transitional countries tin the Balkans, the Caucasus and Central Asia) have, so far, failed to establish functioning EA systems. Throughout the region, there has been a gap between EA legislation and practice, especially concerning interdisciplinary analysis of environmental impacts, public participation, and utilisation of EA findings in decision-making. A key driving force in the reform of EA systems has been the change in their societal context, the so-called 'process of transition '. Three main policy agendas – environmental protection, reforms of decision-making, and conforming to international requirements – along with the institutional context of EA regulations and practice have influenced both the change of EA systems over time and the regional variations in the patterns of their evolution. This study suggests that an effective reform of an EA system should be context-sensitive, or be 'in gear' with the political and economic transition. Future EA research should consider their changing societal contexts and focused on practical effects of applying EA procedures. (C) 2001 Academic Press.


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Publisher linkhttp://dx.doi.org/10.1006/jema.2001.0438