Volume 10, Issue 35 (Spring 2021 2021)                   Serd 2021, 10(35): 1-22 | Back to browse issues page

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Motiee Langroudi S H, Dadvar Khani F, Yaghoot Hardani H, Ghadiri Masom M. Evaluating the effects and consequences of strategic initiatives for rural economic development Case: Khuzestan Province. Serd. 2021; 10 (35) :1-22
URL: http://serd.khu.ac.ir/article-1-3666-en.html
1- Professor of Human Geography, Department of Human Geography, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran , shmotiee@ut.ac.ir
2- Professor of Human Geography, Department of Human Geography, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran
3- PhD student in Geography and Rural Planning, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran
Abstract:   (706 Views)
In recent years, environmental concerns have been raised as one of the major global challenges and issues that affect countries both individually and collectively, so efforts to integrate the principles and aims of sustainability and environmental as well as economic and social considerations have become one of the main priorities of development planners and politicians, including rural development decision makers. In this regard, strategic approaches to environmental assessment are the most powerful methods and tools to achieve the aforementioned goal, which can be available to rural development planners and decision makers. These approaches are formal, systematic, and comprehensive processes that separately or integrated with planning systems identify, predict, evaluate, address, and mitigate biophysical, economic, and other aspects of development before making key decisions and adopting strategic actions. The approach is currently being introduced in many countries as a support tool for decision-making and a prerequisite for the approval, prescribing, implementation of economic policies, plans and programs, and economic investment projects. Today, due to the extraordinary capabilities of strategic approaches to environmental assessment, their application in the rural development planning and decision-making system is considered as an inevitable necessity. Based on the experiences of several decades of development planning in Iran, focused on rapid economic growth has led to neglecting environmental, economic and social considerations in various national, regional and local development activities and initiatives. rural areas, as a result, are not exception from significant and uncontrollable damage to human and natural environment. This is especially true for Khuzestan Province in south west of Iran, especially its rural areas, which are directly dependent on natural resources and environmental capital for their livelihood and are subject to many development projects. By such an approach, the purpose of this study is to conceptualize the strategic approach of environmental assessment in rural development planning. In addition to its application to screen environmental effects and consequences of the strategic plan of economic development of counties in Khuzestan, as one of the most important and effective strategic initiatives for rural and urban settlement development.
The present research is applied based on the purpose and type of research, and descriptive and survey (analytical) methods in terms of nature and method. Strategic environmental screening of the strategic plan of economic development in Khuzestan Province has been done in the framework of fuzzy Delphi technique and with the advice and survey of 26 responsible practitioners in various fields related to rural planning and to 33 key environmental components. According to this framework, two basic conditions such as the percentage of consensus of experts equal to / or more than 75%. Moreover, the condition of standard rank based on the definite value of environmental importance equal to / or above the threshold (0.7) was considered as acceptance environmental significance criteria. The opinions of the expert group were collected and analyzed using a checklist and a screening matrix based on a 7-point Likert scale.
Discussion and conclusion
Strategic environmental screening findings showed that, from the perspective of the expert group, the effects and environmental consequences of the strategic plan of economic growth and development for Khuzestan counties on 25 key environmental components, including the effect on biodiversity and habitats, population (concentration and migration), human welfare and livelihood, environmental health, flora (vegetation), soil, surface water resources, air quality, climatic conditions, material assets and renewable and non-renewable natural resources, rural landscape, land use, waste generation, rural and urban settlements, transport and communications, industrial structures, national and international protected and natural areas, national and international protected cultural areas, densely populated areas, areas with intensive land use. All of these components are in “noticeable” level and in the future can cause the formation and aggravation of environmental problems and issues.  Screening findings also showed that based on the consensus of the Expert Group (POC) and definite values of environmental importance (Amax/CV), the effects of strategic initiative on 8 environmental components including risk and impact on human health, animal cover, groundwater resources,  architecture and ancient values,  hazardous substances into the environment, the effect on areas with different protection regimes and other environmental components are less than the threshold of 0.7 and in the form of "non-noticeable". Given that, it can be concluded that the strategic plan of economic growth and development of Khuzestan counties for many screening criteria and key environmental components are vital. Furthermore, its implementation can have significant effects and consequences and irreversible damage to the environment of rural and urban areas. Thus, based on the findings of strategic environmental screening, the need for accurate environmental and technical assessments of the strategic initiatives to identify and analyze the effects and, if necessary, review, modify, improve or change the designed content and strategies. Also, it is recommended to anticipate and prepare appropriate mitigation actions.
Full-Text [PDF 1586 kb]   (378 Downloads)    
Type of Study: Research | Subject: Special
Received: 2021/06/15 | Accepted: 2021/04/30

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