Colombia

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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.

Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development
Directory of Sectoral Sustainable Development 
Calle 37 No. 8-40
Bogotá D.C
Tel: (0057) - 1 - 3323434 / 3323400
Website: www.minambiente.gov.co 

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.

Planning at national level is coordinated by the National Planning Department (DNP) of the National Economic and Social Policy (CONPES) Council. The DNP coordinates and formulates national development policies. The Directory of Urban Development and Environmental Policy (DDUPA) is part of the DNP, it coordinates the participation in sectoral environmental management. The DNP and the DDUPA participate in the process of SEA.

Each sectoral ministry develops general plans. For example the national plan of mining development 2007-2010, the sectoral plan for tourism 2011-2014 (proposal).
The ministries also develop plans and programs in relation to environmental management. For example the environmental plan for the conservation of biodiversity in areas of interest to the National Agency of Oil and Gas Sector.

At district and municipal level the following plans are elaborated:

  • Development plans such as the municipal development plans
  • Territorial Planning

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.

Among the first strategic environmental assessment documents in Colombia was the environmental policy document (No. 3120) of CONPES; "Strategy for the improvement of the environmental management of the electric sector", approved in 2001. In 2003 an event of SEA in Latin America was held in Cartagena organized by the Ministry of Environment and the World Bank.

The National Development Plan for 2002-2006: "Towards a State Community” identified the incorporation of environmental sectoral planning processes as one of the main programs of national production and environmental sustainability. The plan stresses the importance of strategic environmental assessments (SEAs) and the strengthening of the current environmental licensing process. This Plan was adopted through Law No. 812 of 2003. The law stipulates in its Article 8°:
“strategic environmental assessments should be executed for critical production sectors and for rural land use planning“ .

In 2006 general guidelines for the formulation of strategic environmental assessments of plans and programs of the agricultural sector (10 in total, e.g. coffee, palm, flowers etc) were defined. The National Development Plan of 2010-2014 also followed the guidelines provided in the National Development of 2002-2006.

Since 2006 the SEA system in Colombia is continuously further developed through workshops, events, publications etc.

Legal framework for SEA

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Framework/Enabling law

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

At this time there is no legal basis for implementation of SEA. Sectors elaborate SEA voluntarily, with the help of the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development.

First national detailed SEA regulation

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

At the moment there are no regulations that require SEA for policies, plans and programs nor official procedures, scope and competences for SEA institutions.

Sector specific procedures/regulations

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

The Mining Law No. 1382 stipules in Article 40: The National Mining Management Plan, prepared by the Ministry of Mining and Energy must coordinate with the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development, given the effects on the environment, the location of the population and environmental land use possibilities. In any case the National Mining Management Plan will include strategic environmental analysis of the territory.

Guidelines

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.

  • "Practical guide to formulate strategic environmental assessment in Colombia”, written by Herrera  R.J., Bonilla Madriñan M., Bogotá in 2008. The guide facilitates the elaboration of a SEA and as such helps to improve of planning instruments.
  • ”General guidelines for the formulation of strategic environmental assessment plans and programs of the agricultural sector”, prepared by MAVDT and the Colombia Farmers Society (Sociedad de Agricultores de Colombia, SAC), 2006
  • SEA Guide, published by CEPAL, 2009

Rodrigo Jiliberto Herrera, TAU Consultora Ambiental-España, Editor Marcela Bonilla Madriñán, Ministerio del Ambiente, Vivienda y Desarrollo Territorial-Colombia, Editor Manuel Alvarez Arenas, Lourdes Losarcos, Tau Consultora Ambiental-España

Objective SEA

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

The aim of SEA is to incorporate sustainable development in the strategic planning of the country.

Scope of SEA application

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

The scope is to apply SEA to plans, policies and programs that are important to national social and/or economic development and imply cumulative, synergic, indirect and longterm effects

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 is different from the EIA procedure. Both instruments are complementary. SEA is a framework for future projects that require an environmental license trough the elaboration of an EIA.

SEA tiering with EIA

Are there any provisions for tiering of EIA and SEA?

No.

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 sector Ministry or entity that develops the economic or social policy, plan or program. The Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development (previously the Ministry of the Environment, Housing and Territorial Development, MAVDT) is the authority that provides asistance and support to the responsable entities in the elaboration of the SEA.

The Ministry promotes the inclusion of SEA as a strategy to incorporate the environmental dimension in the sectoral or territorial planning process.

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?

The Sector Ministry has to initiate the process of SEA. 
The Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development functions as adviser in the process.

SEA procedure

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Establishing context

Implementing the SEA

Scoping process

Is there a distinct scoping process? Who is responsible? Who is involved? What methods (if any) are prescribed (overlays, matrices, etc)?

There are seven phases i) Establishing the Strategic Environmental Framework, (ii) Scope of the SEA, (iii) Model of Environmental Assessment, (iv) Analysis and Environmental Diagnostic, (v) Environmental assessment of options, (vi) Prevention and monitoring and (vii) Elaboration and consultation on final documents.

Participation in scoping

If here is distinct scoping, is participation part of this process? Who is involved and how?

Consider recommendations in the determination of the scope of the SEA

Alternatives

Are there any requirements for the alternatives to be considered in the SEA? How should alternatives be selected, ranked, compared?

At the strategic level the evaluation of the alternatives consists of:

  • Evaluation of consistency of alternatives with environmental objectives of the plan
  • Environmental Impact Assessment induced by each alternative on the sectoral environmental system
  • Identification of environmental criteria for the next phase of prevention and follow-up

Guía práctica para formular evalauciones ambientales estratégicos en Colombia (MAVDT 2008)

Content of SEA report

If documentation is required, what should be contained in the SEA report?

  • Planning of the process
  • Analysis of the institutional framework
  • Stakeholders analysis
  • Identification of the institutional, territorial and environmental effects
  • Environmental objectives of the policy, plan or program and sectoral planning
  • The environmental diagnostic of the plan
  • Results of environmental assessment of the alternatives of the Plan
  • Direct environmental management instruments
  • Strategic environmental dimension of the plan
  • Recommendations of the SEA to the process of elaboration of the plan
  • Consulted agents
  • Sources
  • Monitoring plan
  • Summary

Guía práctica para formular evaluaciones ambientales estratégicas en Colombia, 2008, Herrera R.J., Bonilla Madriñan M., Bogotá

SEA review

Describes the requirements for SEA review. Specifically: Who reviews the SEA? An independent body? Environmental Authority? Is the review approach similar to EIA review in the country?

Review committee

Informing and influencing decision-making

SEA and planning decision-making

What is the formal role of SEA in decision-making on the plan? Is SEA approval needed before a planning decision can be made?

The SEA is seen as an instrument of support for the incorporation of the environmental dimension into strategic decision-making. The SEA is prepared together with the preparation of the policy, plan or program. The Ministery of Environment and Sustainable Development assists the responsible sectoral entities who have to formulate or implement the SEA, with the preparation of Terms of Reference, review of scoping and diagnostic documents, and progress in the formulation of the SEA, as well as discussion workshops with relevant stakeholders. At the same time, the Ministry itself also develops some SEAs in pilot sectors, to make progress in the conceptual and procedural aspects of SEA. 

Monitoring

Monitoring requirement

Is there a requirement for implementation of decisions to be monitored? What is the role of SEA outcomes in this monitoring? What provisions exits for action to be undertaken if environmental problems occur?

Develop an environmental monitoring system of the Plan.

SEA practice

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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?

The Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development manages a central database documents of the SEA which is accessible to the public. (The documents can be obtained on request).

http://www.minambiente.gov.co/contenido/contenido.aspx?catID=348&conID=1853&pagID=3858

Case studies

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

  • Document of CONPES No. 3120: Paper on strategies for improved environmental management of the electricity sector in the year 2001.
  • Guidelines for an SEA of the energy connection Colombia-Panamá
  • SEA for the policies for fuels and their pricing in Colombia
  • SEA for the control of water contamination
  • SEA for hydrocarbon exploration and exploitation en Colombia
  • SEA for program for sustainable exploitation of Carbon en Central Cesar
  • Guidelines and recommendations for sustainable development programs for ten agriculture sectors such as coffee, banana, corn, pig, and cotton, produced in 2006 by MAVDT and Colombia Farmer Society in coordination with the specific producers
  • Final report; strategic environmental assessment (SEA) for the formulation of policy on environmental health for Colombia, with emphasis on air polution in urban centers. MAVDT, 2008
  • Strategic environmental assessment of policies, plans and programs for biofuels in Colombia, with emphasis on biodiversity (2008, MAVDT)
  • SEA of the program for sustainable development of minerals (PASM) in the Sabana of Bogotá (prepared by Ministry of Mining and Energy through energy and mining planning unit)
  • SEA for sustainable development of tourism on the island Baru, district  Cartagena de Indias.
  • SEA for the plan for expansion of electrical generation and transmission Cartagena de Indias (in preparation)

http://www.dnp.gov.co/ documentos Consep http://www.minambiente.gov.co/documentos/3995_310809_linea_prog_caficultura.pdf Ministerio de Ambiente, Vivienda y Desarrollo Territorial. Palacios-Lozano M.T., Camacho A., Cammaert C., Rincón S.,Guzmán L.,

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).

SEA workshops organized by the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development were conducted.

  • International workshop in Cartagena MAVDT-World Bank (2003)
  • Department National Planning (DNP) - conceptual and procedural model for SEA, Colombia (2004) and publication by DNP (2005)
  • International course on SEA in 2005 (with U. externado de Colombia and international expert Rodrigo Jiliberto.
  • 2005: workshops by MAVDT and IDEAM for subsectors (hydrocarbons, mining, energy, agriculture, infrastructure and transport)
  • SEA week Bogota and Cartagena, 2006, Colombia,  organized by MAVDT, World Bank, IAIA, EPA, and AECI.
  • Since 2006 the NCEA is involved at the request of the ministry of Environment to assist with EIA and SEA through workshops, pilots, sector guidelines, assessment instruments.

SEA links

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Other relevant links on SEA

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

Alexander von Humboldt Biological Resources Research Institute

Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development case studies of SEA (website in Spanish)