CHARACTERIZING PROJECT AND STRATEGIC APPROACHES TO REGIONAL CUMULATIVE EFFECTS ASSESSMENT IN CANADA
JILL A. E. HARRIMAN
BRAM F. NOBLE
Advancing cumulative effects assessments (CEA) to the regional scale, spatially and strategically, has been well argued but slow to evolve. Part of the problem is that "regional" CEA is a flexible concept, varying considerably in form and function from the project to the more strategic levels. This paper steps back from current discussions of assessment frameworks and methodologies to present a typology of regional approaches to CEA based on its multiple characteristics, functions, and expectations. Drawing upon current literature and interviews with international practitioners, we conceptualize regional CEA from two broad perspectives: EIA-driven approaches and SEA-driven approaches, illustrated with Canadian case examples. Each approach to CEA has its own merits that make it suitable to address particular types of cumulative problems at different tiers of assessment, and each of which can be expected to deliver different types of assessment results. The failure to fully recognize this "one conceptâmultiple form" characteristic is, in part, why the EA community has struggled in developing supportive methodological and institutional frameworks for regional CEA. We demonstrate that many of the disappointments with CEA are not the result of EIA-driven applications per se, but rather the result of mismatched CEA frameworks and expectations.
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