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Transboundary environmental assessment (EIA/SEA procedures)

Strategic environmental assessments (SEAs) and environmental impact assessments (EIAs) are important tools for cooperation on transboundary environmental protection. Transboundary EIAs evolved from the Convention on Environmental Impact Assessment in a Transboundary Context (Espoo Convention), while transboundary SEAs have developed out of the subsequent UNECE Protocol on Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA Protocol). Germany implemented the provisions of these two international conventions with its Act on the Assessment of Environmental Impacts (UVPG).

If a project has the potential to cause substantial environmental impacts in another country, the competent authority notifies the relevant authorities at an early stage; if these authorities cannot be identified, the other country’s Espoo contact point is alerted with a view to ensuring transboundary participation in an environmental assessment procedure. In Germany, the authority which would be responsible for an equivalent domestic project takes the requisite measures in accordance with the UVPG.