Socio-Economic and Environmental Assessments (SEEAs)
Although the technical analysis that is undertaken as part of developing plan alternatives will have already revealed the main pros and cons of proposed management options, an integrated Socio-Economic and Environmental Assessment (SEEA) will allow decision makers to compare the merits of the recommended plan with other alternative plan scenarios in a transparent manner that supports decision making. For example, what types of improvement does a particular plan option provide over current management? Are projected impacts acceptable relative to the overall benefits? If impacts are not acceptable, how should the plan be revised?
SEEAs provide planners, stakeholders and decision makers with:
- Background information on the socio-economic and environmental context of an area and its communities, as well as an inventory of lands and resources.
- A description of the key socio-economic and environmental parameters that may be affected by a land use plan or initiative.
- An assessment of the expected socio-economic and environmental implications of the land use plan or initiative under consideration, relative to a base case.
The general approach is that a base case scenario is developed to serve as a basis for subsequent comparisons of alternative land use scenarios. Economic, social, and environmental implications are considered, and trade-offs and synergies are identified. To deal with the large number of complex and inter-related issues, the approach allows for the inclusion of quantifiable outcomes and for qualitative analysis of outcomes that are not quantifiable. Components of cost-benefit analysis and economic impact analysis provide the main analytical tools in the framework.
Separate socio-economic assessment (SEA) and environmental risk assessment (ERA) reports are usually produced first, then summarised and integrated in an SEEA report.
The SEA report considers the following categories of implications:
- Economic Development – by sector, such as forestry, mining, oil and gas, tourism, recreation, agriculture, trapping, and botanical forest products.
- Social Implications – expected impacts on community populations, jobs and incomes, and other aspects of well-being.
- Specific Aboriginal Implications – the implications for First Nations’ unique social, cultural and economic values.
- Provincial Government Finances – revenue and expenditure implications.
- Net Economic Value – or economic rent, a measure of overall implications for provincial well-being.
The ERA report is an assessment of the interactions between land use and resource management scenarios and environmental values. Current conditions are compared against historic “natural” range of variation and predicted future ranges in differing management scenarios.
The SEEA guidelines provide a framework for analysis and presentation.
Click here for additional information on SEEAs including guidelines, methods, and links to individual SEEA reports.
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The allocation and management of Crown land and coastal marine resources plays a key role in expanding and diversifying the economy, sustaining environmental values, and promoting the health and well-being of all British Columbians.
FLNR administers, allocates, adjudicates, documents and manages Crown land tenures for a number of land programs. As well, FLNR is responsible for promoting adventure tourism, coordinating permitting processes for clean energy projects, creating opportunities to develop and market some Crown land parcels, and developing and implementing land and coastal marine plans and agreements.
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In 2008, the BC Government committed to improving consultation and respectful engagement with First Nations. Benefits of this work—to government, First Nations, proponents, and the public—include enhancing meaningful government-to-government relations with First Nations, creating a positive investment climate by providing certainty and predictability, and reducing the heavy consultation workload for all parties.
The First Nations Initiatives Division (FNID), a division of the Integrated Land Management Bureau, is leading a shift in business to the “Virtual integration” of aboriginal relations. Virtual Integration is a government initiative to implement common, policies, procedures and tools across all the natural resource agencies. FNID works with all Natural Resource Agencies to deliver Virtual Integration through two main business lines:
- Coordinating interagency consultation with First Nations, comprising i) an aligned policy framework, ii) regional economic development priority setting, including shared business planning and resource sharing, and iii) coordinating multi-authorization project consultation.
- Negotiating strategic agreements with First Nations that will improve the Province’s investment climate, reduce the consultation volume for all parties, create enduring forums for government-to-government engagement and achieve the goals of the Transformative Change Accord.