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SEA profile

Updated to: 14 August 2013

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SEA background

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Country contact on SEA

Contact details for the country contact on SEA.

Viceministry of Environment, Biodiversity, Climate Change and Forest Development Management   
Camacho Avenue # 1471 (between Loayza and Bueno streets)
Phone: (591-2) 2146382 - 2146383 - 2146385 - 2146374
Fax: 2146371 - 2146369


Country's planning system

Brief description of planning practice, specifically whether it take place more often at centralised or decentralised level, what kind of national level planning and sectoral planning takes place, etc.

At the national level, there is a National Development Plan (NDP).
Sector plans such as in the energy sector: the National Policy of Oil and Natural Gas and the National Strategy until 2017.
Examples for the environmental sector are the Strategic Forestry Development Plan, the National River Basins Plan, the National Nature Reserves Plan, the National Bio-commerce Program, and the National Wildlife Plan.

In specific areas, the following plans are relevant:

  • The development plans such as the Municipal Development Plans.
  • Municipal land management plans (PMOT).
  • Communal land (TCO) management plans.
  • Management plans for protected areas.

History of SEA

Brief description of the history of SEA in the country, including when it was introduced and any major milestones in its development.

The EIA legislative system from 1995, establishes the possibility of implementing Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA). The regulation on Prevention and Environmental Control stipulates that plans and programs formulated by the State are subject to the EIA procedure. In 2007 the Vice Ministry of Biodiversity, Forestry and Environment (in that period the national environmental authority) developed the Training manual on Strategic Environmental Assessment (Manual de Capacitación en Evaluación Ambiental Estratégica). The process of SEA implementation resulted in the preparation of the Strategic Environmental Assessment Regulation. A draft of this SEA regulation exists and has been updated, but in 2013 the regulations have still not yet been approved. However, since 2010 continuous efforts are made  to improve SEA capabilities in Bolivia.
In 2010, SEA of Río Madera was initiated. It was the first SEA conducted by the General Directorate of Environment and Climate Change under the Viceministry of Environment, Biodiversity, Climate Change and Forest Development and Management. The SEA was finalized in 2012. Also, other state ministries have developed SEA (e.g. regarding Hydrocarbon, Mining, Public Works and Water Resources).

Contact person of the Ministry of the Environment and Water.

Legal framework for SEA

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Framework/Enabling law

Name of first enabling legislation that sets the framework for SEA.

The Law of Environment no. 1333 of 1992.


Approving authority of enabling law

The authority that approved the enabling law for SEA.

Congress/National Assembly.

First national detailed SEA regulation

First national detailed regulation (procedural requirements) for SEA, through which SEA was operationalized.

The Viceministry of Environment, Biodiversity, Climate Change and Forest Development and Management is in the process of producing Strategic Environmental Assessment regulations. The draft has been under development for several years and it has been updated. However, no agreement has been reached regarding the legal form of the regulations: if it should be a Ministerial decree or a Supreme Decree. As a consequence, the regulations have not yet been approved (in 2013).

Sector specific procedures/regulations

Any existing sectoral procedure/regulations are listed here, as well as the authority that issued each.

The Hydrocarbons Law (art. 32 2005) establishes that oil and natural gas activities can only be performed in protected areas, forest areas and private natural heritage areas if a study of SEA of the plans, program and policies approves it. Article 132 clearly stipulates the obligation of SEA in sensitive areas: "It is not allowed to tender, authorize, or grant activities and works of oil and gas drilling projects in protected areas, RAMSAR sites, archaeological and palaeontological sites, as well as in places sacred to the communities and rural, indigenous and native people, that have spiritual value because of historic heritage, or other areas recognized because of their biodiversity, established by the competent authority. In exceptional cases, hydrocarbon activities are allowed in protected areas, if the study of strategic environmental assessment (SEA) established the viability of the activity within the framework of a comprehensive national sustainable development."


Any government issued guidelines on SEA (general or sectoral) are listed here, as well as the authority that issued each. Describes the legal status of the guidelines.

  • Handbook of Strategic Environmental Assessment (Manual de Capacitación en Evaluación Ambiental Estratégica) developed by the General Directory of Environment of the Vice Ministry of Biodiversity, Forestry and Environment (2007).
  • A Key sheet on Strategic Environmental Assessment in Bolivia (Evaluación Ambiental Estratégica en Bolivia) was also developed in 2011.

Contact person of Ministry of Environment and Water.

Objective SEA

The objective of SEA as stated in the above described legal basis.

The objective of SEA application is:

  • to incorporate a sustainable development approach in national planning, programs and policies.

Scope of SEA application

Describes for which planning processes (at policy, programme and plan level) SEA is required.

Application of SEA in national planning, policies and programs of particular sectors with a significant impact on economic and/or social development.


In general, the need to perform an SEA is manifested in the areas where extractive industries and/or construction of roads takes place in protected areas and/or indigenous territories.

Exemptions from SEA application

Are any specific types of plans explicitly excluded from SEA application?

Yes, policies, plans, program and strategic projects of an extraordinary nature, intended only for purposes of national defense, cases of disaster or emergency.

SEA approach

Describes the current overall SEA approach. Specifically: Has the country's SEA procedure been modeled on the existing EIA approach? Or has a separate SEA approach been developed?

Methodology of SEA procedure is separated from the EIA .

Institutional setting for SEA

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Central SEA authority

Is there a central authority in charge of the SEA system as a whole, responsible for issuing guidelines etc? If so, is it independent or linked to a higher body (e.g. ministry)?

The National Environmental Authority is the Viceministry of Environment, Biodiversity, Climate Change and Forest Development and Management. The Vice Ministry resides under the Ministry of Environment and Water.

Initiator of the SEA

Who initiates the SEA? Should the plan owner initiate and undertake the SEA or is an environmental authority responsible for undertaking the SEA. If an authority is responsible, which authority and at which level?

Initiators of the SEA can be the following:

  • Ministry of Environment and Water
  • Viceministry of Water Resources
  • Viceministry of Transportation
  • Ministry of Oil and Natural Gas
  • Ministry of Mines and Metallurgy
  • INRA

Contact person of Ministr of Environment and Water.

SEA procedure

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Establishing context

Implementing the SEA

Informing and influencing decision-making


SEA practice

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Year of first SEA

Mentions if SEA practice is carried out in a country. Information is provided regarding the beginn of SEA practice, even if there is/has been no legislation available (yet). If possible, the year when the first SEA was conducted is given (to be precise the year in which the SEA report was finalized).

The SEA of the Corridor Santa Cruz - Puerto Suárez highway in 2002.

Contact person of the Ministry of Environment and Water.

Annual no. of SEAs

Gives an estimation for the number of SEAs that are produced annually in this country.

Two SEA annually.

Contact person of the Ministry of Environment and Water.

Central SEA database

Is there a central database or library where information on SEAs is kept (i.e. where all SEAs are registered and/or copies are archived). If so, what is kept there and is this information publicly accessible?

Information is stored in the National System of Environmental Information:

Practice reviews

Any SEA practice review studies that have been done (by governmental agencies or others) are listed here. Where relevant, links to studies are included, and the main conclusions of the studies are summarised.


Case studies

SEA case studies on which information is available are listed here, including a link to case documentation, if available.

  • Strategic Environmental Assessment of the megaproject of the corridor North, La Paz - Guayaramerín - Cobija: promoted by the Inter-American Development Bank.
  • SEA gas pipeline Bolivia - Brazil: the World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank (funders) and the private company (PETROBRAS) developed the SEA to address the indirect impacts of the construction of the gas pipeline. The SEA points out that the investment has a great impact on indigenous communal lands and protected areas and weak institutions of government capacity.
  • SEA of the transportation corridor Santa Cruz - Puerto Suárez: promoted by the Inter-American Development Bank. This is one of the best documented cases of SEA in Bolivia.
  • Pilot: Puerto Busch (2004), an SEA study that has been transformed into an SEA of the Pantanal.
  • SEA for the Salar de Uyuni (2005). The results are the Terms of Reference for the realization of the SEA.
  • 2008 Terms of Reference for the SEA of the Río Madera dam (this SEA is related to hydroelectric dams in Brazil and Bolivia). In 2010, the SEA on Río Madera was conducted by the General Directorate of Environment and Climate Change. It was finalized in 2012.
  • 2009 Terms of References for the SEA for the construction of the road Villa Tunari-San Ignacia de Moxos, which crosses the protected area TIPNIS.
  • In 2009, the Ministry of Oil and Natural Gas initiated two SEAs for the exploitation of oil/gas in areas with high biodiversity values and inhabited by indigenous populations (protected areas Madidi and Aguaragüe). The first part of the SEA for Aguaragüe was finalized in 2012.
  • 2011: Terms of Reference for SEA Vivir con el Agua.
  • 2012: Terms of Reference for SEA INRA (will be finalized in 2013).

An overview of SEA's conducted in Bolivia is furthermore presented in the following section of the report "Las experienca de las evaluaciones ambientales estratégicas en Bolivia", Laats et al, 2012 (in Spanish).


Professional bodies

Professional bodies relevant to SEA practice, such as SEA Associations, Planning Associations, etc are listed here.

Within the General Directorate of Environment and Climate Change, a professional body on SEA exists.

Contact person of Ministry of Environment and Water

Capacity development

Sets out any ongoing training programmes (including professional and academic training) and major training events held in the past (with focus on recent events).

The NCEA has been involved with the Bolivian Ministries of Environment and Water and Energy with SEA capacity building since 2004, through workshops, contribution to manuals, advice on ToR/review and on drafting regulation.

Workshops on SEA, organized by the Vice Ministry of Environment, Biodiversity and Forestry in March 2005 in La Paz and others in May 2008 in La Paz, Cochabamba and Santa Cruz and 2009 again in La Paz.

In 2011 and 2012 another series of capacity building workshop took place.

SEA distant learning course in Bolivia (2013): The NCEA, with technical assistance of ITC-Enschede, has developed an SEA distant learning course. The course is hosted by the Universidad Loyola. The course builds on existing SEA experiences and on the lessons learned.
Furhtermore, the course (in spanish):

  • gives an update of SEA developments and more in depth SEA training;
  • aims to lead to improvement and better use of the SEA instrument;
  • provides more attention for steps in the SEA procedure which are still less developed, like SEA review and SEA monitoring.

SEA links

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Other relevant links on SEA

Other relevant links on SEA in the country are given here.

National System of Environmental Information: