SUSTAINABLE PLANNING: THE NEED FOR STRATEGIC ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT-BASED MUNICIPAL PLANNING IN SAUDI ARABIA
HABIB M. ALSHUWAIKHAT
YUSUF A. AINA
The Saudi government has made some efforts in incorporating the principles of sustainable development into the planning process by establishing a framework for considering environmental consequences of development activities. The framework is guided by the General Environmental Code. The Ministerial Committee on the Environment (MCE) coordinates the environmental assessment of plans, policies and programmes prior to approval. However, the framework tends to focus on plans and programmes at the national level with little or no explicit provision for ensuring the assessment of municipal plans, policies and programmes. This paper evaluates the integration of environmental assessment into the municipal planning process and the plan documents. The findings indicate that the implementation of environmental assessment at the municipal planning level is minimal. Inadequate institutional framework and lack of effective environment assessment legislation are the main barriers to the implementation. Overall, the assessment shows that there is the need to improve sustainability planning practice in the Kingdom.
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