Despite all efforts to publish guidance documents on cumulative effects assessment, a common understanding of cumulative effects assessment (CEA) is still lacking, hampering the development of a transparent and widely (globally) accepted approach. In the meantime, environmental impact assessments of projects or plans often attempt to address the issue of cumulative effects but mainly at a highly qualitative level and incomparable to other environmental impact assessments. The objective of the study reported in this document is: 1) to prepare and overview on how cumulative effects assessment is implemented in international regulation; 2) to identify adequate coverage of maritime activities by these regulations; and 3) to develop a check-list of factors which should be considered in relation to cumulative impacts, leading to preliminary recommendations for a harmonised, effective and - preferably - pragmatic approach to CEA. The focus in this document is on environmental issues in the OSPAR area.
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