PACT Mekong Partnership for the Environment Bangkok, August 2015

Presentation by Matthew Baird, Environmental Counsel Asia, at the Shared Solutions: Safeguarding Sustainable Development in the Mekong Region. A Symposium hosted by Thailand ONEP, PACT and the Mekong Partnership for the Environment, USAID, Sweden, and the Stockholm Environment Institute. The presentation was on EIA in the Mekong Region examining the developments in EIA in the five countries in the Mekong Region over the past 4 years.

Shared Solutions: Regional Symposium of Sustainable Development

Opening roundtable
Opening roundtable

Opening roundtable

Over 140 representatives from Government, NGO and the private sector gathered in Bangkok, Thailand to shared strategies and experiences on safeguarding sustainable development in the Mekong Region. The Symposium was hosted by PACT – Mekong Partnership on the Environment, Thailand’s Office of Natural Resources and Environment, USAID, Government of Sweden, and the Stockholm Environment Institute.

DR. Vinod Thomas, Director General of the Independent Evaluation at the Asian Development Bank, gave the keynote presentation on the Business Case for Social and Environmental Safeguards in Infrastructure Lending.

Matthew Baird, gave an opening presentation at the Plenary Session giving an overview of the significant developments in Environmental Impact Assessment in the Mekong Region. He highlighted some of the common themes and challenges in the region.

This was followed by a panel presentation from senior officials from EIA Units in the region. Each of these EIA Directors provided some interesting experiences on the challenges faced by government on EIA.

Impact Assessment and ASEAN Economic Community

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I was fortunate to be invited to present at the Impact Assessment and the ASEAN Economic Community: A Way Forward for Regional Cooperation. This Regional Workshop was held in May 2015 in Hanoi, Vietnam. The Workshop was hosted by the Vietnam Environment Administration, AECEN and Pact with funding by USAID.

The Workshop examined the role of Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) in promoting sustainable development in the Mekong Region and ASEAN.

My presentation was an overview of EIA in the Mekong Region with particular emphasis on public participation.

Vermont Law School EIA Clinic with MOECAF in Myanmar

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Vermont Law School has recommenced a program from 2014 working closely with the Ministry of Environment Conservation and Forestry of Myanmar.The program provides for a monthly clinic on EIA Assessment and Review with the Environment and Conservation Division of MOECAF. It is a great learning environment as the new EIA Procedures are about to enter into force. I also gave a presentation on Day 1 on a Regional Analysis of EIA Laws within the region. The after session included an overview on Public Participation in EIA in Myanmar and an examination of some of the potential issues that ECD will have to address once the EIA Procedures are approved. IMG_0548

Myanmar Govt launches Environmental Information Portal

The Ministry of Environment Conservation and Forests (MOECAF) has launched an environmental information portal. Supported by the ADB and GMS-EOC, the portal aims to provide information on environmental matters.

“The Myanmar Environmental Information Portal (MEIP) is a one stop shop for anything related to environment in Myanmar. It aims to capture the complete picture of environmental state, trend and decision making in Myanmar.

The information is organized in four categories – interactive charts, maps, e-library and news – and can be accessed quickyly through a combination of thematic menu’s, filters and search functions.

The MEIP is managed and maintained by the MOECAF Environmental Conservation Department with contributions from all Myanmar government organizations. The ADB GMS Core Environment Program provides technical and capacity support.”

The Portal can be accessed at http://meip.gms-eoc.org:8080

 

 

National Consultation Workshop on draft EIA Law, Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

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IMG_9291

The Second National Consultation Workshop on the draft Law on Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) was opened by H.E Dr. Say Samal, Minister of Environment, on Tuesday 17 March in Phnom Penh.

H.E the Minister said: “The new Environmental Impact Assessment Law marks an important shift to more transparent and accountable environmental management. With the new Law, we will be able to ensure that all future development complies with the government’s nature conservation and environmental protection standards. This Law will be the centrepiece of environmental management for many years to come.”

The new EIA Law will mandate the conduct of a comprehensive and transparent EIA for all types of development projects, including dams, large plantations and urban construction projects. The draft EIA Law provides provisions for access to information and public participation. These will provide “communities and other affected persons unprecedented rights to be informed and participate” in the planning and assessment of development projects.

The draft EIA Law also provides innovative and best practice provisions on climate change, transboundary impacts, and strategic environmental assessment.

Comments and questions are being sought on the draft EIA for consideration and assessment by the EIA Working group with includes the Ministry of Environment, Vishnu Law Group and EIA expert Prof Richard Frankel and Matthew Baird, Environmental Counsel.

The draft EIA Law has been under development since 2011, in a collaborative process between the Ministry of Environment and Vishnu Law Group. To date there have been six consultation workshops throughout Cambodia with hundreds of submissions received over the process.

Ms. Sao Kagna, Manager of Vishnu Law Group, said: “Vishnu has been very pleased to collaborate with the Ministry to create this Law. Stakeholders from all over the country have been very enthusiastic about the very transparent and inclusive way that this Law was created.”

International Workshop for EIA system and its Implementation in Asia held by IGES and MOE Japan in Tokyo in February 2015

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H.E. Danh Serey, Director Department of EIA Cambodia.

An International Workshop for Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Systems and Implementation in Asia was held in 24-25 February, 2015, Tokyo, Japan, organised by the Ministry of the Environment Japan (MOEJ) and the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES), supported by the Asian Development Bank (ADB). The workshop aimed to introduce a summary of the six country research on challenges and opportunities to strengthen the EIA system and its implementation; discuss how to address four key common challenges identified in the country research (upstream EIA/Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA), quality of EIA, information disclosure and public participation, and environmental management plan and monitoring) among participants; and identify how to strengthen the EIA system and its implementation through collaborating with international communities.

Participation in the workshop involved representatives from 15 Asian countries (Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Republic of Korea, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Maldives, Myanmar, Pakistan, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Viet Nam), Australia and the United States; international organisations (ADB, International Finance Corporation (IFC), Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC), Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), United States Agency for International Development (USAID), World Bank and others); private sector; academics and NGOs.

For more information IGES EIA Workshop February 2015.

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. http://www.aecen.org/events/environmental-impact-assessment-policy-and-practice-mekong-region-safeguarding-sustainable-de

Presentation to Myanmar MOECAF, September 2014

EIA Presentation

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

 

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