Mainstreaming environmental sustainability into development planning

Through this open educational resource on Strategic Environmental Assessment, you will examine how to construct predictions on the likely environmental impacts of major policy decisions, how to look at alternative policy scenarios and how to involve the public in the decision-making.

A new approach

Strategic environmental assessment is a new approach to environmental issues. It plays a key role in enabling nations and communities meet a whole range of objectives including tackling global warming and protecting biodiversity. By ensuring that decision-makers consider the environmental consequences of actions at the earliest possible stage, it helps find the best possible option in environmental, social and economic terms.

Open, rational decisions

The emphasis is on preventing environmental damage. It requires that each decision is made in a rational and open manner, and as such Strategic Environmental Assessment is a powerful tool that reinforces the principles of democracy and equity.


This open educational resource includes three components: a course module, a wiki and an instructional guide. The course module covers the following topics:

Why we need Strategic Environmental Assessment? What kinds of decisions (strategic actions) require an assessment? How do you undertake this assessment?

An online encyclopedia

The wiki provides you with access to an encyclopedia on Strategic Environmental Assessment. It includes information on the relevant legislation in each country as well as case studies of the implementation of this form of assessment in different sectors and in different countries. This encyclopedia is constantly being updated by you – the community of learners and the educators.

Instructional Guide

This learning resource was initially developed for students enrolled at Oxford Brookes University in the UK and international students enrolled in the Masters of Science Degree in Global Environment and Development Studies at Agder University College in Norway. It is possible for you to adapt and use in your own teaching programmes. This open educational resource contains sample assignments that you may build on and adapt.


Designed for students in the tertiary education (graduate and post-graduate) and for professionals and practitioners.

Design and Technology

The course module was developed using Wordpress and contains Flash video animations and interviews with the subject matter expert. The online encyclopedia was developed using Mediawiki. Compatibility has been tested with Explorer, Firefox and Safari.


Riki Therivel from Oxford Brookes University is one of the leading international experts in Strategic Environmental Assessment.

Copyright License

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share Alike 3.0

Project Title

Contribution to the UNU-Global Virtual University

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