Environmental Assessment for Water-related Policies and Developments

The course aims to provide participants with the knowledge and skills required to assess both project and policy level impacts of water-related developments

For whom?

This course is designed for students and professionals - from the academic, public or private sectors- who want to develop a good understanding of the process of impact assessment (IA). The course covers IA applications to assess the impacts and benefits of project and strategic interventions (e.g. policies, plans, programs or laws). To do that, it explains the similarities and differences between environmental and social impact assessment (EI/ESIA) and strategic environmental assessment (SEA). Beyond the basics, the course also covers methodologies and tools to integrate in assessments special concerns such as climate change, ecosystem services and biodiversity, human rights, water quality and groundwater.


  • Minimum a Bachelor's degree in environmental or social sciences, engineering, or management of natural resources.
  • Interest in understanding, from a multi-disciplinary perspective, how human interventions affect the interactions among socio-ecological and bio-physical processes.
  • Basic use of computer software for spreadsheets, drawing and word processing (e.g. Microsoft Office, Libre Office or Free Office).

Learning objectives

Upon completion, the participant should be able to:
  1. Elaborate on the similarities, differences, and complementarity of EIA and SEA and their application to support development decision and increase the sustainability of projects and strategic interventions in the water sector.
  2. Apply methods and tools used in EIA & SEA to conduct a desk-top assessment for a water-related project.
  3. Describe the importance of public participation in EIA & SEA and the roles of stakeholders, experts, regulators and proponents in those assessment processes.
  4. Analyse the barriers and drivers that influence the effective integration of EIA & SEA into the planning and approval processes for projects and strategic interventions in different countries

Course Content

  • Introduction to environmental assessment for water policies and developments
  • Principles of EIA and SEA, and legal and policy framework
  • EIA and SEA tools and methods
  • Case study (group and individual work): design an appropriate EA approach for a specific case
  • Effective integration of EA into the planning/project in developing and transition countries.


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