Updated to: 20 August 2019Download as PDF
Contact & history
Country contact on SEA
Environmental Protection Agency
P.O. Box, M326
Location: 91 Starlets Road
Country's planning system
The National Development Planning Commission (NDPC) has an advisory role on national development policies and strategies and has issued guidelines to sector Ministries and Agencies and District Assemblies to prepare medium-term development plans. Sector plans and district plans have to be in line with the National Development Policy Framework (2018-2021) at national level.
History of SEA
Although Ghana has not provided a strong legal basis for SEA, nor any detailed procedural requirements, SEA practice has been steadily increasing in the past 20 years. A range of SEAs is undertaken, and there has been consistent SEA capacity development work ongoing.
As regards the conduct of SEA, a distinction can be made between first and second generation SEAs. First generation SEAs were being conducted as extended EIAs, following the same logic and structure but focussed at larger projects, i.e. integrated or complex programmes. Second generation SEAs have adopted a more process oriented approach. Specific SEA tools were developed as a result and spin off of the SEA undertaken for the Ghana Poverty Reduction Strategy in 2003-04.
Review of SEA practice in Ghana, EPA 2009, by Jan Joost Kessler, Evans Darko Mensah and Seth Larmie
Legal framework for SEA
With respect to current legislation, the question is to what extent it would cover the need for SEA. The EIA regulations refer to 'undertakings', including plans and programmes, which would suggest that a gap exists for policies. However, the whole regulation points more to EIA. It therefore seems to be better to work towards SEA legislation/regulations with properly defined guidelines and procedures.
The National Development Planning Commission in Ghana issues guidelines for the preparation of sector and district plans. There prescribe certain SEA tools such as a sustainability test. But NDPC guidelines do not appear to be legally binding.
First national detailed SEA regulation
Allthough there is no legal framework for SEA, there is the so-called Ghana SEA approach, characterized by a certain sequence of steps and a set of SEA tools. This approach was initiated by the experience of using SEA for the Ghana Poverty Reduction Strategy, which set a benchmark for subsequent SEAs carried out under the guidance of EPA.
The situation in 2016 was that there was a draft of the SEA regulation, but EPA had two minds about it, either to have it separate or to amend the current EIA regulation and change it into a part I and II. EPA was also working on amendment of the Environmental Act and Law and an update of the ESIA regulations. Early 2016, a consultancy was commissioned to assess the various options: (i) separate SEA regulation, (ii) SEA regulation part of EIA regulation, (iii) relying on SEA requirements by the National Development Planning Commission for sectors and districts and (iv) changes in the Act and Law. EPA preferred the second option, but there has not been any progress on this yet.
SEA brochure, Ghana EPA, 2009
Draft implementation framework for operationalizing SEA in Ghana, 2016.
Current enabling legislation for SEA
EIA regulations, 1999, which requires environmental assesment for undertakings which may impact the environment. In the definities section, 'undertaking' means any enterprise, activity scheme of development, construction, project, structure, building, work, investment, plan, programme and any modification, extension, abandonment, demolition, rehabilitation or decommissioning of such undertaking, the implementation of which may have a significant impact.
Therefore the regulations currently provide the enabling framework for SEA
Sector specific procedures/regulations
The approach to SEA as used in the various SEAs conducted in Ghana shows variation.
The SEA of the Ghana Poverty Reduction Strategy can be characterized by two different streams. One is the analysis of the GPRS in its totality at national level, the other is the analysis of district level plans. Both streams are aimed at mainstreaming environment and complement each other.
Sectoral SEA: in the different manuals and SEA applications there is a different sequence of steps and use of tools. Commenly encountered steps in sectoral SEA can be viewed under the heading 'SEA approach'.
District level SEA: a handbook has been prepared to outline the approach to be adopted for SEA at District level, including an elaboration of SEA tools, a proposed workplan and an outline of the resulting SEA report
Review of SEA practice in Ghana, feb. 2009, main report, chapter 5
The National Development Planning Commission (NDPC) has issued planning guidelines, which include a 'sustainability test' that examines the environmental and social impacts of the proposed projects and programmes as well as an 'internal consistency and external compatibility test'. Both are 'SEA tools'. See www.ndpc-cms.herokuapp.com, where these guidelines can be found both for sectors and for districts.
The first generation SEAs are oriented at identifying the environmental impacts of proposed PPPs and are thus being used as extended EIAs.
The manuals on SEA state that its aim is to provide decision makers with alternative choices for strategic action to be taken in a transparent manner with the view to achieving the desired sustainable development objectives. And, once the limitations of existing PPPs have been identified, SEA assists the policy or plan maker to refine the proposals and introduce more sustainable solutions.
At a later stage, the overall purpose of SEA was generally referred to as 'mainstreaming environment in PPPs.
Scope of SEA application
National policies and strategies, sector plans and district plans.
The SEA approach chosen in Ghana is rather EIA-based, applying the EIA procedure to planning.
Institutional setting for SEA
Central SEA authority
Environmental Protection Authority, particularly the SEA unit, plays a guiding and coordinating role in most SEA processes
Initiator of the SEA
The initiative to conduct SEA is generally taken by a donor, in collaboration with a sectoral agency an/or EPA. Most SEAs are conducted with a strong involvement of EPA whereby management responsibilities are generally shared with other government agencies, such as the National Development Planning Commission, sectoral ministries and agencies or districts.
Overview SEA procedure
Commonly encountered steps in sectoral SEA
Step 1: Preparation / screening:
• Writing the ToR
• Describing the PPP and its context
• Selecting the consultant/s
Step 2: Scoping:
• Identification of key stakeholders
• Consultation meetings
• Evaluation of existing institutions
Step 3: Assessment:
• Identification of environmental risks and opportunities (use of opportunities / risks analysis)
• Identification of sustainability issues (use of sustainability test)
• Development of advisory notes
• Refinement of draft policies
Step 4: Monitoring and evaluation:
• Development of indicators
• Development of a monitoring and evaluation plan
Step 5: Reporting, possibly including an SEA manual for the sector
In the different manuals and SEA applications according to the ‘Ghana SEA approach’, frequently the following sequence of basic steps to SEA can be found (see below). Reference is made to these steps but in practice not all SEAs follow these steps. In practice, some steps receive more emphasis (steps 1, 2, 4, 5 and 8) while others receive limited attention (steps 3, 6, 7 and 9).
Basic steps of SEA
Step 1: Screening. Understanding the context, writing the ToR, describing the PPP
Step 2: Scoping. Determining objectives and targets, scope of the SEA (content, timescale, key issues)
Step 3: Defining baseline conditions. Existing environmental conditions against which impacts can be measured, using quantitative and qualitative data.
Step 4: Evaluating the proposed PPP. Evaluate effectiveness of PPP.
Step 5: Predicting effects. Assessment of the environmental effects of the PPP.
Step 6: Developing environmental indicators.
Step 7: Considering alternatives. Alternatives to achieve the same objectives of the PPPs.
Step 8: Scope for mitigation. Recommendations are made for new or refined PPPs.
Step 9: Monitoring and evaluation.
SEA brochure, EPA, 2009
Implementing the SEA
Content of SEA report
In Ghana practise, the SEA report usually consists of 3 Volumes: an Executive Summary, a Process report and a Contents report.
Informing and influencing decision-making
Recommendations for decision-making
SEA in Ghana usually results in so-called Advisory notes for relevant planning and decision making.
Year of first SEA
First generation SEAs: mid nineties. Second generation 'real' SEAs from 2002 onwards
Review of SEA practice in Ghana, feb. 2009, main report
Annual no. of SEAs
Since 2002, around 20 'second generation' SEAs have been undertaken, which implies 2-3 SEAs per year.
Review of SEA practice in Ghana, feb. 2009, main report and personal communication, EPA
Central SEA database
There is no central SEA database. In the 'Review of SEA practise in Ghana' report of February 2009, an annex records the main characterictics of SEAs undertaken until 2009 in a systematic way (around 30). For 10 out of these, a more elaborate case study was made (appendix to main report). The case studies are a representative sample of first and second generation SEAs, district and sectoral level SEAs, and finalized and ongoing SEAs.
Review of SEA practice in Ghana, feb. 2009, main report
Review of SEA practice in Ghana, main report, Feb. 2009, by Jan Joost Kessler (Aid environment), Yaw Amoyaw Osei (Centre for Environmental Health Research and training), Evans Darko Mensah (REFAST consulting), Seth Larmie (SAL Consult), in colaboration with EPA. 71 p.
The report documents all SEA experience in Ghana until 2009. There also is a summary brochure of this review study, launched at IAIA 09 in Accra by EPA. The appendix of the study includes 10 case studies (see under 'case studies').
- SEA for Agriculture Sector Programming (2000)
- SEA for the Poverty Reduction Strategy for Ghana (2006)
- SEA for the integrated transport strategy for Ghana, on the website of the Ministry of Roads and Highways (2009).
- SEA for the Oil and Gas sector offshore (2013)
- SEA for oil and gas development Voltaian Basin, onshore (2015-2019).
From 'Review of SEA practice in Ghana' report of Feb. 2009, there is a 100p. appendix with 10 case studies (see below)
CASE STUDY 1: SEA OF GHANA EXPORT PROCESSING ZONE
CASE STUDY 2: SEA OF THE TRANSPORT SECTOR
CASE STUDY 3: CASE OF THE WATER POLICY AND WATER BASINS
CASE STUDY 4: ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH AND SANITATION POLICY
CASE STUDY 5: DISTRICT MEDIUM TERM DEVELOPMENT PLANS FOR 3 DISTRICTS
CASE STUDY 6: SEA OF MINING SECTOR
CASE STUDY 7: CASE OF THE ENERGY POLICY
CASE STUDY 8: SEA OF MAINSTREAMING DRYLANDS ISSUES IN DISTRICT DEVELOPMENT PLANS
CASE STUDY 9: SEA OF WETLANDS SECTOR 71
CASE STUDY 10: MILLENNIUM CHALLENGE ACCOUNT (MCA) PROGRAM - SOUTHERN ZONE SEA
CASE STUDY 11: BRIEF DESCRIPTIONS OF FIRST GENERATION SEAS
CASE STUDY 12: BRIEF DESCRIPTIONS OF SECOND GENERATION SEAs
IAIA-Ghana affilitate, which over 80 members of which around 25 are actively involved with its activities
- SEA Capacity development was part of the Water and Sanitation Sector Programme Support cooperation between the Ghanaian and Danish governments. It included development of specific SEA tools to be collected in a manual for the sector, including a tool for cost-benefit analyses, and development of capacity to apply SEA tools in water policies and programmes.
- The Netherlands Commission for Environmental Assessment has been working with the EPA to improve SEA practcie. It has, among other activities, advised on the SEA for the Poverty Reduction Strategy and both SEA related to the oil and gas sector (both offshore and onshore).
- SEA capacity building and awareness raising form a key component in each individual SEA according to the Ghana SEA approach. However, there is a need to further capacity building to ensure follow-up to initial SEA capacity building and to assure appropriate use of SEA. This is especially required at higher policy levels of Ministries and levels of decision-makers, but also at NGO level.
- On an aside, NCEA organized a workshop on SEA for CSOs in Ghana in 2018. The SEA scoping report for the Voltaian Basin oil and gas development was used as a case for SEA review, which led to more awareness on this particular SEA, on SEA practice in Ghana in general and to good exposure of EPA.