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Session descriptions


Panel sessions 

1.      Session name: The role of Impact Assessment as an Instrument for Sustainable Governance

Description: Impact assessment have been a part of the Nordic and Baltic legal systems for the last 25 to 30 years and even more in other European countries. The session discusses the role of IA as an instrument for Sustainable Governance. Questions we want to discuss in this panel are:

What is the role of IA in achieving sustainable governance? How strong is the role of IA in this regard? What are the potential for IA to influence strategic governance?

Chair: Lone Kørnøv, Danish Centre for Environmental Assessment, lonek....at....plan.aau.dk

Timing: Oct 1,  10:00-12:00

Panel members: Maria Partidario, Jos Arts, Holmfridur Bjarnadottir, Helen Sooväli- Sepping, Tiit Oidjärv, Kaupo Heinma


2.      Session name: Effectiveness in Impact Assessment

Description: The question whether or not impact assessment is making any difference has been discussed since the introduction of IA in the early 70-ies. Over the years, the concept of effectiveness has developed in IA literature. It is today recognised that there are several types of effectiveness – procedural, substantive, normative and transactive. Also, knowledge and learning are often regarded as one type of effectiveness. This panel aims at discussing various perspectives of effectiveness.  

Chair: Charlotta Faith-Ell, WSP/EKKI, charlotta.faith-ell....at....wsp.com

Timing: Oct 2, 9:00-10:30

Panel members: Thomas Fischer, Mathew Cashmore, Kaja Peterson, Sirje Pädam


3.      Session name: IA as a facilitator for achieving the Sustainability Development Goals

Description: IA is often the tool that introduce sustainability into planning. By doing that we argue that a more sustainable economy can be achieved by the society. Questions that will be discussed in the panel are:  
How can the role of IA be developed in order to better facilitate a sustainable economy? What is needed in the future for IA to continue to act as a facilitator for sustainable outcomes in society? 

Chair: Heikki Kalle, EKKI, heikki....at....ekki.ee

Timing: Oct 2, 15:40-17:00

Panel members: Kaja Peterson, Sanne Vammen Larsen, Rauno Sairinen, Age Poom, Lena Levin


Parallel sessions 

 1.      Session name: Biodiversity, ecosystem services, and Appropriate Assessment of Natura 2000 areas in IA

Description: Twenty five years after the Convention on Biological Diversity was opened for signature and the adoption of EU Habitat Directive, the world continues to see unprecedented loss of species and habitat. The ecosystem services that the lives of people depend on are generally unknown and undervalued. The European Commission estimates that by 2050, economic loss due to loss of ecosystem services will amount to 14 trillion EUR.  

The challenge is to better understand how to assess biodiversity values, identify dependence on and impacts to ecosystem services, design better mitigation measures, effectively monitor changes in biodiversity and ecosystem services over time, and implement adaptive management to manage uncertainties over the long term. 

The aim of this session is to bring together practitioners working with both policy makers responsible for shaping IA frameworks and scientists committed to finding practical ways forward. The session explores how to better integrate conservation science into planning processes and impact assessment. 

Chair: Kaja Peterson, SEI Tallinn, Kaja.Peterson....at....seit.ee          


2.        Session name: Strategic planning and SEA usage in industry and energetics

Description: The resource intensive nature and direct local impacts of industrial development has been the subject of EIA from the development of tool and has been thoroughly documented in the EIA literature. The need to assess impacts on a regional scale, as well as including the cumulative and global effects is an important part of the current EIA/SEA debate. New approaches have been initiated by developers, demands have been made by authorities of the scope of environmental assessment, and the need to coordinate action to address environmental impacts is recognised by policy makers.  

There is a clear correlation between energy demands and industrial operations.  While several industries have introduced initiatives that improve efficiency in energy-intensive operations, new energy demands are being created, e.g. in the high-tech sector as well as societal changes which calls for changes in the composition of energy supply.  

In this session the role of strategic approaches in the development of industry and energetics will be discussed. Papers examining actual application of SEA are especially welcomed, as well as those exploring the potential of SEA and identifying the needs for improved practice.  


Chair: Holmfridur Bjarnadottir, Reykjavik Energy/Veitur


3.      Session name:  Digital IA: Changing role of IA and data management practices in the age of BIG DATA

Description:  This session addresses the changing relation to data management in impact assessment due to the contemporary age of BIG DATA. Information society has brought along new kind of data as well as new tools for data acquisition, processing, analysis, evaluation, and dissemination. Continuous digitalization and crowd-sourcing opens up incredible possibilities for impact assessment, at the same time requiring new practices, processes, and way of looking at the role of IA among professionals and stakeholders. Rather from being adaptive, professionals need to take a proactive role in the process of IA digitalization.
We expect papers that critically analyse the changing role of data in IA as well as papers presenting new tools, practices, and concerns in IA-related data management and dissemination. 

    Chair: Age Poom, University of Tartu, age.poom....at....ut.ee

4.        Session name:  Climate change adaptation and mitigation in IA 

Description: Climate change adaptation and mitigation challenges sustainable development and IA has been pointed out as an important tool to help tackle this challenge. Addressing climate change in IA is not a new topic for IA research and practice, and this session aims at taking stock of the experiences in the area. Thus, papers and presentations on national best practice, guidelines etc. are especially welcome.

Chair: Sanne Vammen Larsen, Aalborg University, sannevl....at....plan.aau.dk


 5.      Session name:  Planning and IA in transport and logistics 

Description: Development of infrastructure and logistics networks generate a wide range of environmental impacts. Transport and logistics have been identified as one of the major drivers for land use change globally. Transport and logistics projects often have to deal with large-scale impacts (e.g. landscape and climate) as well as complex interrelationships between various environmental aspects. This session aims at discussing various aspects of impact assessment of transport and logistics infrastructure based on case studies from Nordic and Baltic countries. Issues that will be discussed are: How can environmental aspects be assessed in early planning stages? How can the environmental impacts of large-scale transport and logistics projects be communicated to the public? Which methods are used for impact assessment of linear infrastructure in the Nordic and Baltic countries?

 Chairs: Charlotta Faith-Ell, WSP/EKKI, charlotta.faith-ell....at....wsp.com

              Ulrika Gunnarsson-Östling, KTH 

              Jos Arts, University of Groningen, jos.arts....at....rug.nl


6.        Session name: Legal frameworks of IA and their effectiveness from the sustainability perspective

Description: This session will bring together experience in the field of law and its implementation as it relates to impact assessments. Aim of the session is to facilitate discussion on the issue of effectiveness in the context of EIA/SEA legislation and analyse varying legal mechanisms that promote or hinder impact assessment as a sustainability instrument.

Chair: Ismo Pölönen, University of Eastern Finland Law School, ismo.polonen....at....uef.fi

7.      Session name: IA in the Arctic

Description: The Arctic is receiving much attention these years, due to trends such as climate change, new industrial development and infrastructure projects. Many of these trends both supports and challenges sustainable development in the region, in terms of nature and environment as well as economic and social factors, and point towards an increased role for impact assessment the Arctic. This session will explore recent experiences with IA in the Nordic Artic with a focus on the role of IA in supporting sustainable development and on which lessons can be learned across the Nordic Arctic. 


 Chairs: Anne Merrild Hansen, Aalborg University, merrild....at....plan.aau.dk

              Sanne Vammen Larsen, Aalborg University, sannevl....at....plan.aau.dk 

 8.      Session name: Strategic planning and SEA – is there a need for spatial impact assessment?

Description: Integrating strategic planning and SEA has been a discussion topic for quite a long time already. Can we deepen the synergies by introducing new tools and guidelines? Should we find new mechanisms to cover the widening spectrum of expectations for impact assessment? 

 Chairs: Riin Kutsar, Hendrikson & Ko, riin....at....hendrikson.ee

              Pille Metspalu, Hendrikson & Ko, pille....at....hendrikson.ee 

              Holmfridur Bjarnadottir, Reykjavik Energy/Veiturholmfridur.bjarnadottir....at....veitur.is

              Tabita Gröndal, Sweco Environment AB


9.      Session name: Stakeholder engagement – critical reflections  

Description: Stakeholder’s engagement can be viewed from different perspectives. The most common ones are a management perspective (focus on who should participate issues) and an ethical perspective (focus on participation for democratic issues). Another perspective is a social learning perspective (focus on stakeholders' engagement as a dialogue). This session will pay attention to these diverse approaches on stakeholder’s engagement and how they can promote sustainable development. 

 Chairs: Antoienette Wärnbäck, SLU, Antoienette.Warnback....at....slu.se

              Siim Vahtrus, Estonian Environmental Law Centre, siim....at....k6k.ee


The list is not definite – more sessions are on preparation and final selection depends on the character of submitted abstracts.