Representative of VESDEC participated in the regional consultation on commonalities of environmental impact assessment (EIA) in Asean member states

Representative of VESDEC Participated in the Regional Consultation on Commonalities of Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) in ASEAN Member States and Advancing a Harmonized and Rights – Based Approach to EIA in ASEAN, 2-3 October 2019, Yangon, Myanmar

1. Objectives
a. As it is the follow-up activity to the third Workshop, the “AICHR Workshop on Rights-based Approach to Regional Management Strategy for an Effective Environmental Impact Assessment”, the proposed activity will focus on concrete steps towards the preparation of the above-mentioned compendium. This will constitute the next step towards the ultimate goal, that is a “Regional Framework for an Effective Environment Impact Assessment in AMS”. At the same time, issues that were not sufficiently addressed in the third Workshop, such as scope and form of a regional framework, trans-boundary element of EIA, establishment of inter-pillar working group, and which ASEAN body should take the lead on the development of a regional framework will be taken up again with the broader participation of all stakeholders.
b.  To achieve the objectives, the following themes are adopted for the proposed programme:
-  Consideration of current approaches to EIA in AMS: review of existing approaches, experiences from other regions, gaps and rationale/opportunities for a harmonized approach and the presentation of a draft compendium of existing national EIA procedures and commonalities in AMS that will serve as a useful basis for the development of a regional approach;
- To provide forum for the consideration of next steps for the development of a regional instrument (e.g. guideline or other approach) on a Rights-based Framework for Effective Environment Impact Assessment in AMS, Trans-boundary EIA and SEA: possible legal forms of different instruments, agreeing to the correct process, including discussion on possible inter-pillar task force or working group and terms of reference;
- To engage stakeholders and to mobilize resources: examining how to assemble and engage the right stakeholders and mobilize the necessary resources to advance the proposal.
2.  Expected outputs
       The outputs of the Consultations are:
a.  An updated compendium of existing national EIA procedures and commonalities in AMS and enhanced knowledge of the gaps and challenges in the implementation of the existing environmental laws, rules. regulations ,directives and procedures in AMS;
b. Enhanced cooperation between AMS and Dialogue and External partners on the implementation of human rights obligations to a safe, clean and sustainable environment in ASEAN;
c. Enhanced cooperation between the AICHR and relevant ASEAN sectoral bodies on the implementation of ASEAN’s commitment to build an environmentally-friendly ASEAN Community
3. Participants
List of participants is as follows:
1. AICHR Representatives                                                                                                
2. ASEAN Senior Officials on Environment                                                                  
3. ASEAN Working Group on Multilateral Environmental Agreements   
4. ASEAN Working Group on Nature Conservation & Biodiversity           
5. ASEAN Working Group on Water Resource Management                    
6. ASEAN Working Group on Coastal and Marine Environment                              
7. ASEAN Working Group on Environmental Education                                            
8. ASEAN Working Group on Environmentally Sustainable Cities          
9. ASEAN Working Group on Climate Changes                                                          
        10. Technical Working Group on Trans-boundary Haze Pollution                           
11. Technical Working Group on Trans-boundary Haze Pollution in the Mekong Sub-region                           
12. Representatives of AMS national ministries dealing with environmental impact assessment issues       
13. Regional Experts on EIA from AMS                                                                         
14. Regional Experts from other regions                                                                                                       
        15. USAID,JICA,SIDA,AECEN, RWI, AIGE and IGES                                  
16. Representative of UNEP                                                                                                            
17. Representative of UNDP                                                                                                            
18. Representative of UN ESCAP                                                                                   
19. Representatives of ASEC                                                                                                          
20. Relevant CSOs                                                                                                                             
21. Local CSOs   
Vietnam Delegation included Mr. Nghiem Viet Khai (a representative of MONRE) and Prof. Dr. Le Trinh, Institute for Environmental Science and Development (VESDEC), have presented on “The State of EIA Review in Vietnam (Mr.. Khai) and “Comparison of EIA Guidelines Between Vietnam and International Organizations and Gap Analysis” (Mr. Trinh). Summary of Mr. Trinh presentation is below.

        Melia Yangon Hotel: Venue of the Workshop              Prof. Le Trinh (3rd from right) in the Workshop
Summary of Presentation of Prof. Dr. Le Trinh (VESDEC) in the Regional Consultation on Commonalities of Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) in ASEAN Member States and Advancing a Harmonized and Rights –Based Approach to EIA in ASEAN, 2-3 October 2019, Yangon, Myanmar
Le Trinh, Prof. Dr., VESDEC, Vietnam
This presentation, included 30 slides,  is a summary of a part of our studies on the present safeguard policies and guidelines for environmental assessment – EA (EIA and environmental & social impact assessment – ESIA and SEA) of the international donors (WB, ADB, JICA, Sida), international organizations (UNEP, IAIA), over 20 countries, various research institutes and experiences in EA studies implemented by Institute for Environmental Science and Development (VESDEC) in the recent 25 years for over 20 International and over 60 national projects.
This presentation  provides the comparison and gap analysis on the EA requirements between some international organizations (mainly the WB) and Vietnam to support improvement of EA study quality and harmonization of EA guidelines.
From the comparison and analysis of gaps in EA procedures and requirements of the international organizations, many countries  and Vietnam it may found that:
1. EA guidelines are not the same between the international organizations and between the countries. In general, there are similar in the purposes, objectives and main contents to be studied. However, depending on policies of each organization and country and local conditions various different requirements in procedures, contents, public consultation,  environmental management plan,  report preparation and post – EA monitoring etc. may be found.
2. Comparing the EIA guidelines of  Vietnam in the Governmental Decree 40/2019/ND-CP and some international organizations it indicate that:
(i)  In general, Vietnamese guidelines are similar with the guidelines of some international organizations. However, there are only some gaps in requirements: Vietnam guidelines give very detailed and strict requirements in waste emission prediction and pollution treatment facilities, while do not give detailed requirements on ecological and social impact analysis and mitigation.
(ii)  To improve Vietnam EA quality and harmonize with the international guidelines the following suggestions are given to revise the Vietnamese guidelines in the future:
-  Stronger require to conduct impact analysis, mitigation and monitoring for ecological and social impacts, because they are the important components of “the environment” according to the definition in the Vietnam’ Law on Environmental Protection and they are also very practical subjects affected by development projects in Vietnam.
-  Require EIA study for areas potentially affected by project activities but not only for project area.
-  Conduct meaningful “public consultation”.
All above identified issues are considered by Ministry of Natural Resource and Environment of Vietnam in the process of preparation of a Circular to implement the Governmental Decree 40/2019/ND-CP.

Source: VESDEC Office