By Mekong Partnership for the Environment
Chiang Mai, Thailand, August 3, 2016
Regional experts from government and civil society finalized the draft set of guidelines for engaging the public in Environmental Impact Assessment processes. The Guidelines will next be reviewed by the public in a coordinated series of region-wide public consultations in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam beginning in late September and wrapping up in October.
During the fourth meeting of the Regional Technical Working Group (RWTG) on EIA, the 25-member group, supported by the USAID-funded Mekong Partnership for the Environment (MPE), debated the details around project scoping, stakeholder identification, transboundary impact, gender approaches and other issues. By the end of the July 27-29 event held in Chiang Mai, the 15 government and 10 civil society members reached consensus that the draft was ready for public comment and discussed how to best get input from governments, business, communities and others on how to improve the Guidelines for practical use.
This ground-breaking group of government agencies and civil society organizations have been working since late 2016 on the Guidelines, united by the common goal of ensuring that people affected by development projects have input into decisions affecting their lives. The Guidelines are intended to be used by Mekong-region countries and companies who want to minimize risks, conflict and environmental damage when planning projects such as hydropower dams, power plants, mines or industry. Members envision the Guidelines serving as a regional reference for national policy reforms and practices. The long term vision sees the Guidelines ultimately being used by ASEAN, as part of a social and environmental safeguard framework for quality investments across the increasingly integrated region.
The working group and their Guidelines are key MPE achievements toward improving multi-stakeholder dialogues and increasing more effective community engagement in the development of infrastructure projects. MPE co-facilitates the group with the Asian Environmental Compliance and Enforcement Network (AECEN).
For more information on the RTWG and public consultations across the Mekong region, please visit here. Stay tuned for information on upcoming public consultations in September-October, as well as an online consultation platform to be hosted on Mekong Citizen.
This is an outreach announcement of the USAID-funded Mekong Partnership for the Environment (MPE), a key supporter of The Mekong Eye.
Lead Photo: The RTWG on EIA members and National Advisors at the fourth meeting of the group in Chiangmai, Thailand , Credit AECEN