Bangkok EIA Workshop Report now available online

The Mekong Partnership for the Environment (MPE) and Asian Environmental Compliance and Enforcement Network  (AECEN) in December 2014 gathered EIA practitioners from government and civil society to discuss EIA policy and practice as a tool for advancing sustainable development. Read about highlights and lessons learned in the project report.

Cambodia – Draft EIA Law for Community Consultation

The draft EIA law is available for public consultation and comment.

Revised Draft Cambodia EIA law Eng 27 Feb 2014 – Clean


Stimson Centre/NREM Conference in Chiang Rai

Stimson Centre/NREM Workshop

The Stimson Centre partnered with Natural Resources and Environmental Management Centre at Mae Fah Leung University to a hold a workshop on Solutions to Equitable Hydropower Development Planning in the Lower Mekong Basin.

Matthew Baird, Environmental Counsel, presented a paper on the Legal Issues Surrounding the Mekong Main Stream Dams. This paper highlighted the increasing legal and financial risk for Mekong River hydro-power, including the Xayaburi Dam, as a consequence of the developments of environmental law in Thailand and also the development of EIA and Transboundary EIA in Cambodia, Thailand, Myanmar, Vietnam and China.

Abstract of paper

The development of large-scale hydro-power faces many challenges. One of the significant legal risks is associated with the failure of the project proponent to undertake adequate assessment of the environmental and social impacts of the hydro-power project. Compliance with domestic Environmental Impact Assessment Regimes is, of course, a fundamental prerequisite for project approval and is also required by IFC in order to secure funding. However the consequences for the failure of a project to fully comply with EIA law is not so clear.

Recent decision in Thailand highlight a growing legal risk associated with the failure to comply with domestic legal obligations. Both the decision on the Stop-Global Warming Association against the 300 THB Billion Flood Mitigation Scheme in 2013 and the recent 2014 decision on the legal challenge to the Xayaburi Power Purchase Agreement has shown that failure to comply with domestic EIA laws can have significant legal and financial repercussions.

An analysis of these decisions leads to the overwhelming conclusion that the legal and financial risk for main-stream dams is increasing. The significance of that risk raises doubt as to the viability of future main-stream dams. One analysis of the current legal environment may also raise the question of lender-liability for environmental and social harm, whereby the banks and other financial institutions will be required to provide compensation for such harm.

In the context of the Mekong River Basin a further legal risk is the development of Transboundary EIA obligations. Under the present arrangements for the Mekong River Commission, there is a need for Prior Notification, Prior Consultation and Agreement. The failure of host-countries to following these procedures can also increase the legal risk for proponents, construction companies and financial institutions.



Cambodia EIA Workshop Mondulkiri 24 July 2014

Cambodia EIA Workshop Mondulkiri July 2014

Fourth Consultative Workshop on Draft EIA, Mondulkiri, Cambodia

Mondulkiri, Cambodia.


The Fourth Consultative Workshop on the draft Cambodian Environmental Impact Assessment Law was held at the Emario Mondulkiri Resort in Mondulkiri Province  on the 24 and 25 July 2014. This Consultative Workshop brought together 140 participants from across the provinces as well as NGO representatives and the corporate sector. The Workshop was hosted by Vishnu Law Group and the EIA Department of the Ministry of Environment.


The aim of the Workshop was to explain the details of the draft EIA Law and to receive feedback on the draft law. Previous workshops have been held in Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Sihanoukville.


The Workshop was opened by His Excellency, the Secretary of State of the Environment Yin Kimsean.


Presentations on the draft EIA law were made by the Director of the EIA Department H.E Danh Serey. He took the Workshop through the operative sections of the draft EIA Law. And too questions from the floor, including a number of questions from indigenous groups.


Matthew Baird outline the key principles of EIA and mechanisms that can be used to achieve the principles of EIA. The key aim of EIA is to achieve sustainable development and create sustainable societies. Matthew identified the following seven key principles of EIA:

  1. Proponent Bears the Cost of the Application and Assessment;
  2. Public Participation at all stages of the process;
  3. Access to proponent information by civil society and government;
  4. Transparent process;
  5. Best available scientific information;
  6. Clear decision-making;
  7. Effective compliance and enforcement – Environmental Management Plan and Report.


Matthew also identified the application of five key mechanisms to achieve principles of EIA. These are:

1               Reliance on participatory approaches;

2               Precautionary principle;

3               Intergenerational Equity;

4               Conservation of biological diversity and ecological integrity; and

5               Improved valuation, pricing, and incentive mechanisms.


Professor Richard Frankel presented on Transboundary Impact Assessment and the fees and charges for EIA.


There will be 2 further workshops looking at the form and contents of the draft EIA Law. It is anticipated that the draft EIA Law will be presented to the Council of Ministers in 2015.

Leaders, royals work to stop illegal wildlife trade threatening elephants, rhinos

By Laura Smith-Spark, CNN
February 11, 2014 — Updated 1913 GMT (0313 HKT)

London (CNN) — The illegal wildlife trade takes the lives of 100 elephants a day, and rhino poaching increased by 5,000% between 2007 and 2012.

The six remaining subspecies of tiger are endangered, two of them critically. Three other tiger subspecies are already extinct.

Statistics like these are the reason it’s time to treat the effort to stop the illegal wildlife trade “like a battle, because it is precisely that,” says Britain’s Prince Charles.

He and his son, Prince William, are among the high-profile global guests due to take part in the London Conference on the Illegal Wildlife Trade on Thursday, hosted by the UK government.

Meeting with His Excellency Say Samal, Minister of Environment of the Kingdom of Cambodia.

Meeting 28 November 2103 with H.E. Minister of Environment and Vishnu Law Group.

I had the privilege of paying a courtesy visit to H.E the Minister of Environment at the offices of the Ministry of Environment in Phnom Penh. Together with layers from the offices of Vishnu Law Group, we discussed many environmental challenges facing Cambodia.

In our broadening discussion H.E. identified a number of key issues including waster management, climate change and the development of the new Environmental Impact Assessment Law.

Meeting 28 November 2103 with H.E. Minister of Environment and Vishnu Law Group.

Public Participation Meeting on Draft EIA law for Cambodia

Workshop on draft EIA Law, Siem Reap, Cambodia, December 2013.

Another public workshop was held by the Ministry of Environment and Vishnu Law Group to consider comments on the draft EIA Law. This was held in Siam Reap from 24 to 26 December 2103. Over 120 participants provided comments and suggestions on the draft EIA Law. For more information on the EIA project see the Vishnu Law Group webpage.

Workshop on draft EIA Law, Siem Reap, Cambodia, December 2013.

27th LAWASIA Conference 2014 – Bangkok, Thailand, 3-6 October.

LAWASIA is an international organisation of lawyers’ associations, individual lawyers, judges, legal academics, and others which focuses on the interests and concerns of the legal profession in the Asia Pacific region.

LAWASIA facilitates its members’ participation in the most dynamic economic region in the world. Since its inception in 1966, LAWASIA has built an enviable reputation among lawyers, business people and governments, both within and outside the region, as a committed, productive and genuinely representative organisation.


The 27th LAWASIA Conference will be held in Bangkok, Kingdom of Thailand from 3-6 October 2104.

Formal Launch of the Asian Judges Network on Environment

President Takehiko Nakao opens the Second Asian Judges Symposium on Environment at the Asian Development Bank headquarters, Dec. 3, 2013. (Photo courtesy ADB)

MANILA, Philippines, December 12, 2013 (ENS) – An Asian Judges Network on Environment has been formally launched in Manila, marking a new stage of cooperation among justices charged with enforcing environmental laws and helping to preserve Asia’s natural capital.

The three-day Second Asian Judges Symposium on Environment held last week drew eminent judges and representatives of courts, environment ministries, prosecutor’s offices, the legal profession, and civil society from the Asia Pacific region and beyond.

The Asian Development Bank hosted the event in partnership with the Supreme Court of Philippines, with Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno in attendance.

Other partners included the United Nations Environment Program, World Wildlife Fund, United States Agency for International Development, and the Freeland Foundation.

Bank President Takehiko Nakao told symposium participants, “ADB strongly supports the Network because we understand the critical role that Chief Justices and their senior judiciary play in improving environmental enforcement and strengthening the rule of law. This role includes making environmental decisions, developing environmental jurisprudence, and establishing environmental courts. It also includes championing and leading the rest of the legal profession, the law enforcement community, and broader public, toward credible rule of law systems that have integrity and promote environmental justice.”

Nakao said he is encouraged by recent developments to strengthen environmental law enforcement across Asia. “The Chief Justice of Indonesia announced his decree to certify specialist environmental judges and ensure they decide environmental cases,” he said.

“The Chief Justices of Pakistan and Malaysia have established environmental courts and judicial environmental training,” he said. “And the Chief Justices of Vietnam and Sri Lanka have committed to carry the torch forward in terms of the regional vision and national commitments into 2014,” Nakao told the symposium.

Responding to requests from across the region, the bank has established an on-line interface for all Asian Judiciaries to communicate landmark environmental judgments. The site contains the region’s environmental laws and Nakao said it will help “maintain a sense of community between face-to-face meetings.”

The bank has also supported delegations of Asian justices to join globally significant environmental events, including the Rio Conference, the Convention on Biodiversity, and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species,” said Nakao.

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