SEA profile

Updated to: 09 October 2013

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Establishing context

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Screening process

The SEA guide suggests a 'preliminary scan' to determine if there are important environmental effects of a policy, programme or plan. It provides questions that can be used to perform a preliminary scan.

Implementing SEA

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Content of SEA report


The not legally binding SEA guide suggests that an SEA report shall contain the following elements:

  • The existing situation in the particular sector and/or region.
  • The major goals and objectives of the policy, plan or programme.
  • The most pronounced environmental issues (adverse as well as positive) of the preferred options.
  • The significance of these environmental effects.
    What can be done to avoid or lessen the negative effects and enhance the positive effects?
  • Details of consultations with any stakeholders including internal meetings with other sections as well as with external agencies and how the out comes of these consultations were integrated into the policy/plan/programme.
  • State how the findings of the SEA influenced the final policy / plan / programme.
  • State how the environmental effects associated with the policy, plan or progrmme will be mitigated and monitored and reported upon.

SEA guide 2009

Informing decision making

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SEA practice

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NCEA's capacity development activities

In 2006, the NCEA gave two workshops on SEA. The first was an introductory work shop on SEA targeting members of TERP, MoE, CEA and UDA. The second workshop was organised particularly for UDA and town planning experts and environmental consultants involved with the townships development project of the Ministry of Urban Development and Water Supply.

Relevant links on SEA

Sri Lanka EIA and SEA overview at UNU SEA wiki

Background information

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History of SEA

In 2006, a cabinet memorandum was submitted by the CEA requiring that all major policies, plans and programmes be subjected to an SEA prior to implementation. This memorandum was subsequently approved by the Cabinet of Ministers. All Ministries, Departments and Authorities who are responsible for implementing a new policy, plan or programme are expected to carry out a Strategic Environmental Assessment for the new policy, plan or programme prior to its implementation. Although this does not equal a fully fledged SEA framework and although SEA still is not a mandatory requirement in Sri Lanka, it provides a basis for SEA practice in Sri Lanka. 
 Several pilot SEA’s have already been carried out in order test SEa in the Sri lankan context. In 2009, an SEA guide has been developed by the Central Environmental Authority.

Ramani Ellepola (2007) EIA in Sri Lanka. Presentation in PENTA – WII WORKSHOP ON ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT CURRICULAUM Dehradun, India 24-26 September 2007 Website CEA:

Legal framework

Enabling law

A detailed legal framework for SEA has not yet been developed.

National detailed regulation

There are no SEA guidelines and procedures.


The Central Environmental Authority has issued a 'Simple Guide to Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA)' in 2009. These guidelines are not legally binding and merely give recommendations to Ministries and other government agencies.

Scope of application

The SEA guidelines recommend that SEA should be done for policies, (provincional, regional, district, local authority) plans, development programmes and strategic plans.

Exemptions from application

The SEA guide suggests that strategic plans and programmes that relate to defense are excluded from the requirement for SEA. The same accounts for proposals that are prepared in response for a clear and immediate emergency situation.

Institutional setting


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Mrs R.R.Ellepola, DDG
Central Environmental Authority
Telephone: 0112872388
Fax: 0112872296

Mrs. Kanthi de Silva
Central Environmental Authority
Environmental Impacts Assessment unit
Director EIA
Telephone: 0112876643
Fax: 0112872296