7233. SEA Manila Bay Sustainable Development Master Plan-Philippines

The city of Manila is growing fast, and faces major challenges in environmental management. The Government of the Philippines is developing an Sustainable Development Master Plan for the Manila Bay Area. The NCEA is providing advice on the possible application of SEA to this planning process.    

Advisory reports and other documents

04 Dec 2018: Other
SEA process advice - sustainable development plan Manila Bay
30 Aug 2019: Other
Update of SEA advice - sustainable development plan Manila Bay

Significant details

The Netherlands government supports the development of a master plan for the Manila Bay area. The expectations for this planning process to be integrated and inclusive are high, both locally and in the Netherlands. Midway through 2018, the NCEA met with the lead planning authority for this plan to explore whether Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) could add-value. Subsequently, the National Economic Development Agency (NEDA) asked the NCEA to advise in more detail how an SEA could be undertaken for the masterplan.

We put together a working group and prepared an advisory report. The report concluded that the Manila Bay planning process already contains elements that are also specific to SEA. In particular: the plan aims to integrate selected sustainable development concerns, and to consult stakeholders throughout its preparation. Nonetheless, an SEA could add value. It can play an important role in rendering decision-making more transparent and accountable. SEA can help to ensure that environmental and social impacts are carefully considered and debated, before decision options are chosen. Also, SEA methodologies can be usefully applied when designing decision alternatives, when engaging stakeholders, and when developing mechanism for plan implementation and monitoring. Consequently, we recommended commencing with an SEA for the masterplan straight away, and the advisory report set out how to integrate such an SEA into the masterplanning process. The NCEA presented her advisory report to the masterplan technical committee at the end of 2018.

Then, in June of 2019 NEDA requested the NCEA to update the advisory report, in the light of new developments in the master planning process. We reconvened the same working group that was responsible for the first advice. This working group reflected on the Master Plan report that was now available, and several institutional changes that had taken place, and revised their advice accordingly. In the updated advice, which was issued in August, the NCEA recommends to apply SEA to the different planning processes that are needed to achieve the objectives of the Master Plan, such as the planning of relocation, reclamation and sanitation. Rather than focussing on one single SEA for the Master Plan itself. The ownership for these SEAs would ideally lie with the agencies that are in the lead for said planning processes. In the advisory document more detailed recommendations are provided on how these SEAs could be undertaken.

Parties involved

Members of the working group

Tanya Burdett
Elmer Salita Mercado, MSc
Martin Smutný

Chair: Tanya van Gool
Technical secretary: Bobbi Schijf

Further details

Country: Philippines (The)

Last modified: 21 Dec 2023