By Mekong Partnership for the Environment
Bangkok, Thailand, September 7, 2016
USAID-supported Mekong Partnership for the Environment (MPE) is strengthening Thai communities’ knowledge on Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) processes for large-scale development projects that may have impacts on the environment and their communities.
MPE partner; Community Resource Centre Foundation (CRC) organized a two-day National Meeting on “Community Participation in Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA)” 28-29 August 2016 in Bangkok, Thailand. Thirty representatives from community-based organizations, government ministries, academia, and affected communities participated in this national event, in which participants from diverse walks of life discussed the ongoing development in EIA policies and how to improve public participation in EIA for future development projects in Thailand.
Dr.Arpa Wangkiat, Lecturer from Rangsit University and member of MPE’s Regional Technical Working Group (RTWG) on EIA presented updates on the group’s draft Regional Guidelines on Public Participation in Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA). The Guidelines are being developed by government and civil society leaders from across the Mekong region and will be brought to public consultations in each Mekong country in October. Some of the participants in the CRC meeting are also invited to be part of Thailand’s public consultation process, which will be held in Bangkok on October 19. (Visit RTWG for more info.)
The workshop provided significant opportunities for all participants to share and discuss ways forward to strengthen public participation in EIA. “I have learned a lot about the real life cases or experiences from local communities when they were confronted with development projects in their own hometowns.” said Ms. Chanakod Chasidporn of the National Economic and Social Development Board, a meeting participant and RTWG on EIA member. “The event really reinforced the significance of public participation in EIA and any effort to improve participation in EIA should be encouraged,” Ms.Chasidporn added.
At the workshop, stakeholders also examined key comments and recommendations on the regional guidelines on public participation from the six community trainings previously completed by CRC. Discussions followed, covering the nation’s direction in legislation related to EIA and public participation, and prioritizing key issues for this network to continue working on. Following this workshop, CRC will consolidate all the feedback for the final national recommendations and submit to Office of Natural Resources and Environmental Policy Planning and Law Reform Commission of Thailand for national EIA reform.
The partnership between MPE and CRC increased communities’ knowledge and skills about their role and responsibilities in EIA processes. MPE expects the increased knowledge on EIA processes to enhance communities’ effective engagement, ensuring better compliance with EIA laws for development projects and more responsible development in Thailand and across the region.
This is an outreach announcement from the USAID-funded Mekong Partnership for the Environment (MPE), a key supporter of The Mekong Eye.
Lead Photo: The participants discussed comments and recommendations on the regional guidelines on public participation. Credit: MPE