Towards a strategic environment assessment framework in Kenya: highlighting areas for further scrutiny

Vincent Onyango, Michael Schmidt

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    8 Citations (Scopus)


    Purpose – This paper sets out to assess and analyses the key pillars of the SEA framework in Kenya, highlighting aspects that should be considered for further scrutiny and review, aiming at evolving a suitable context-specific Kenyan SEA.

    Design/methodology/approach – Content analysis of the SEA framework was done through desktop research. This was supplemented by a two-month internship at the National Environmental Management Authority in Kenya. The key documents prescribing and describing SEA in Kenya (legal documents, guidelines) formed a basis for interpretative analysis. International literature on SEA frameworks also formed a basis for analysis.

    Findings – Although the SEA framework is relatively complete, there are certain elements that are incomplete, e.g. environmental and sustainability standards have not been formally established. Some provisions are unclear or reveal internal incoherency within the framework. For example, the definitions of policies, plans, programmes and projects are not clearly differentiated for the purpose of the SEA framework. The framework is premised on “an early SEA” yet the key exercises of public participation and the triggering of the SEA exercise are both carried out late. There is need for SEA-EIA tiering and SEA definitions and purposes to be harmonized within the various documents of the framework. Sector-level SEA guidelines offer the most appropriate opportunity to address most of the substantive shortcomings of the framework.

    Practical implications – The results provide a baseline for departure towards further scrutiny and research in order to evolve a more homegrown SEA, as opposed to merely copyng what other countries have done. The highlighted areas are expounded on, with some suggestions given; in some instances no clear remedy is immediately obvious.

    Originality/value – The paper is a seminal instigator of interest into the Kenyan SEA framework, which is still very young and devoid of experience and tradition. It brings to light and questions some key issues that seem to have the potential to reduce the benefits and instrumentality of the SEA tool in meeting Kenya's interest.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)309-328
    Number of pages20
    JournalManagement of Environmental Quality: an International Journal
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 2007


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