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

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

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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.

Extra-territorial obligations Conference at Chulalongkorn University

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“Rights-based governance beyond borders” The role of extraterritorial obligations (ETOs). 

Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand

Co-organized by: the ETO Consortium; MA in International Development Studies (MAIDS) program, Chulalongkorn University; Focus on the Global South; the Asia-Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development; and the Stockholm Environment Institute 

Background 

Human rights provide a powerful tool for environmentally sustainable development. Many States in South East Asia and elsewhere still interpret their human rights obligations as being applicable only within their own borders. The attempt to ignore extraterritorial obligations (ETOs) and to limit obligations territorially has led to gaps in human rights protection (and environmental protection) in various international political processes including: the lack of human rights regulation and accountability of transnational corporations (TNCs); the absence of human rights accountability of Intergovernmental Organizations (IGOs), in particular international financial institutions (IFIs); failure to apply human rights law to investment and trade rules, policies and disputes; and the lack of implementation of the duties to protect and fulfill Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ESCRs) abroad.

These challenges were addressed in 2011 in the “Maastricht Principles on ETOs in the area of ESCRs” that summarized recent developments in international human rights treaty law. Strengthened ETOs will help to safeguard people’s rights in the region – including those of women, peasants, and indigenous communities who are often most at risk. ETOs also articulate clear standards for intergovernmental organizations, UN reform – and the international human rights framework more broadly. They are closely linked to issues on the borderline of environmental law and human rights. They help to redress the growing influence of corporations’ control over national and international governance mechanisms and to defend democratic international rule that respects, protects and fulfills economic, social and cultural human rights.

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