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Updated to: 09 October 2013

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Distinguishing features of the EIA/SEA system

On April 3rd 2005, Estonian Environmental Assessment legislation in its current form was born. This page describes the current EIA/SEA procedure (after 31st December 2011, small specifications have been made since 2005).
Environmental Impact Assessment is to identify, assess and describe the expected environmental impacts of proposed activities and analyze prevention or mitigation options and selection of the most suitable solution
Strategic environmental assessment aims at raising awareness of decision makers and as a result of environmental conditions for a sustainable environment for the development of the plan or the addition of the composition of the development plan.
The EIA system is going to clarify and become more abstract when the Environmental Code Act with the special part of the Act will come into force.

Administrative system: relevant features

According to the Constitution, Estonia is an independent and sovereign democratic republic wherein the supreme power of the state is vested in the people. The people exercise their supreme power of the state on the elections of the Riigikogu (The Parliament of the Republic of Estonia). Estonia is a parliamentary state.
Although, the President of the Republic is the head of
state of Estonia, the Riigikogu and the Government of the Republic possess most of the legislative and executive power. Legislative power is vested in The Riigikogu and
executive power in The Government of the Republic in Estonia. The functions of executive power are divided into areas of government managed by ministries. Estonia is divided into 15 administrative counties, which are made up of municipalities.
Most activities subject to EIA/SEA are dealt with by the municipal council or responsible department within the municipality. For plans, the competent authority can be at all three administrative levels, depending on the type of plan.
The Government of the Republic exercises executive power either directly or through government agencies.
All matters of environment are managed by Keskkonnaministeerium (Ministry of the Environment) and by the departments under it. The most influential are: Keskkonnaamet (Environmental Board) which implements the state’s policies on the use of the environment and nature conservation and to contribute to the development and improvement of legal acts and other official documents related to the environment;
Keskkonnainspektsioon (Environmental Inspectorate) which exercises supervision in all areas of environmental protection.

Relevant international conventions

Aarhus convention (signed 1998, ratified 2001)
Convention on Biodiversity (signed 1992, ratified 1994, redaction began  2002)
Espoo Convention (ratified 2010)
Ramsar Convention (ratified 1993, redaction began 2002)
SEA Protocol (signed 2003, ratified 2010, redaction began 2010

Environmental Standards: relevant features

In accordance with EU standards, environmental standards, norms and limit values have been established nationally on the following areas (among others):
- Air quality standards
- Effluent emission standards
- Noise standards
- Solid waste standards
- Water quality standards

Country specific terms or acronyms

- “Keskkonnamõju hindamine” - KMH for EIA,
- “Keskkonnamõju strateegiline hindamine” - KSH for SEA,
- “Keskkonnamõju hindamise ja keskkonnajuhtimissüsteemi seadus” – KeHJS for Environmental Impact Assessment and Environmental Management System Act.