Environmental assessment of plans and programmes in a transboundary context
The Espoo Convention and the SEA Protocol
The Convention on Environmental Impact Assessment in a Transboundary Context (also known as the Espoo Convention) was ratified by Finland in 1995 and has been in force since 1997. The Convention was drafted by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE).
All parties to the Convention are entitled to participate in environmental impact assessments conducted in Finland if the projects listed in the Convention are likely to cause significant adverse environmental impacts in their territories. Finland has a corresponding right to participate in assessments conducted in other countries whenever the projects under assessment are likely to have such impacts in Finland.
According to the Protocol on Strategic Environmental Assessment (the SEA Protocol) of the UNECE appended to the Espoo Convention transboundary consultations are needed if a plan or programme is likely to have significant environmental effects.
Cross-border impact assessment in land use planning
The Directive on the assessment of the effects of certain plans and programmes on the environment (the SEA Directive) and the SEA-Protocol mentioned above are underlying and implemented in Finnish Land Use and Building Act (132/1999, Section 199) and Decree (895/1999, Section 99).
According to the provisions in the Act and Decree the Ministry of the Environment is obliged to notify another state of any land use plans which are likely to have cross-border impacts. In addition, Ministry of the Environment and the regional environmental centre must see to it that authorities, natural persons and organisations of another state are provided with an opportunity to take part in participation and interaction procedures related to the compilation of the plan.