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Environmental Impact Assessment Comparative Analysis in Lower Mekong Countries (Short Term)


Organization : Pact
Type : Nonprofits / องค์กรไม่แสวงหาผลกำไร
Date : 22 Sep 2014
View : 7685

Deadline : / /

Position:                                            Environmental Impact Assessment Comparative Analysis in Lower Mekong Countries (Short Term)

Organization:                                                Pact

Final Deliverable:                              February 27, 2014

Period of Performance:                   October 6, 2014 through March 16, 2015

Number of Days:                               Maximum of billable 45 days (over 5.5 month period)

Consultant Manager:                       Chief of Party




Pact Thailand is requesting the services of a consultant to prepare a comparative analysis of existing environmental impact assessment (EIA) regulations and policies in five Lower Mekong Subregion (LMS) countries – Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam. The analysis will specifically look at national-scale policies and regulations that address public participation in and inform the environmental review process for large-scale infrastructure development projects (i.e. hydro-power, mining and economic land concessions) in LMS countries in order to: determine the degree to which existing policies are already harmonized across the region; identify gaps, particularly related to public participation; and recommend opportunities for promoting a regional standard for EIA. The analysis will consist of a review of existing and relevant national laws, policies, and guidelines and existing literature pertaining to environmental impact assessment in the Lower Mekong countries, and a comparison with the environmental review process for large‑scale development projects applied by other regional institutions. Specific attention will be given to the processes applied by the Asian Development Bank and the World Bank, and potentially one additional ASEAN country. The results from the assessment will be used to inform efforts being undertaken by the Mekong Partnership for the Environment (MPE) project to support the development of a regional EIA standard for the Association for Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).



Background and Rationale

The Mekong Partnership for the Environment aims to advance informed multi-stakeholder dialogues in Lower Mekong countries on the anticipated social and environmental costs and benefits of regional development projects.[1] Large development projects with significant regional social, economic, and environmental impacts demand a creative approach that involves meaningful engagement across diverse stakeholders, including governments, banks and the private sector, civil society organizations (CSOs), and communities. The MPE project’s major objectives include:


Objective 1:     Increased capacity of civil society to influence development decisions that have significant anticipated social and environmental impacts;

Objective 2:     Strengthened regional platforms for multi-stakeholder participation in development decision making; and

Objective 3:     Increased public access to quality, timely information on environmental and social costs and benefits of regional development projects


National-level reform efforts related to EIA currently underway across the LMS point to opportunities to strengthen EIA policies and practices. While all five Lower Mekong countries have existing EIA legislation, these are currently being developed in some (e.g. Myanmar’s is the newest) and undergoing a process of revision in others (e.g. Cambodia’s new draft EIA law). While national EIA laws are generally considered satisfactory on paper, large gaps remain in effective implementation and compliance. This is particularly the case for transborder or regionally-invested projects in the hydropower, mining, and land sectors.





The objective of the consultancy is to conduct a comparative analysis of EIA laws, policies, regulations, and guidelines in the Lower Mekong Subregion countries – Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam – in order to determine existing regional harmonization, identify gaps, and recommend options for developing a set of standards that can accompany the EIA process in order to respond in a regional manner to social and environmental impacts from large-scale infrastructure projects.



Key Questions

The consultancy will examine existing and/or pending laws, policies, regulations, and guidelines in each LMS country, and any relevant literature, related to large infrastructure development (e.g. hydropower dams, mining, and economic land concessions) in order to answer the following four questions:

What are the specific provisions for public participation in EIA?

To what degree are the existing national EIA frameworks already harmonized across the LMS countries?

What major gaps exist, particularly with respect to public participation processes?

What specific recommendations can be made for strengthening the EIA process nationally and regionally, specifically with respect to meaningful public participation and stakeholder engagement?


The comparative analysis should consider as a framework the following key principles for effective EIA, including:

Project proponent bears the cost of application and assessment

Public participation at all stages of the process

Access to proponent information by civil society and government

Transparent process

Best available scientific information

Clear decision making

Effective compliance and enforcement (e.g. environmental mitigation plan and reporting)


The comparative analysis should pay particular attention to aspects of EIA related to strengthening public participation and stakeholder engagement and access to information to ensure that processes are inclusive, open and transparent, relevant, fair, responsive, and credible. This could include answers to the following specific questions:


What do the existing and pending EIA laws, regulations, or policies in each LMS country require project developers to do with respect to public participation?

What technical information is typically included in EIAs prepared for large‐scale development projects for hydro-power, mining, and economic land concessions?

What guidance is given to EIA preparers to inform this technical analysis and determine impact assessment?

What is the involvement of different governmental ministries, and who has final approval for the EIA?

What stakeholder groups are included in the EIA process and how are they identified and engaged?

What provisions exist for public participation in the EIA process, including review of draft laws, opportunities to input recommendations, and contributions to the design and implementation of EIA monitoring?

What, if any, formal processes allow for CSOs to participate in the EIA consultation process?

What provisions are in place to facilitate public access to information and at what point in the process? (e.g. scoping, assessing impacts, draft EIA review, and mitigation and monitoring)?

Are requirements in place to make EIA reports publicly available?

How is the public engaged? (e.g. notice in newspaper, government buildings, public hearing, how formal, exchange or one-way, etc.)

What guidelines are provided to EIA practitioners for meaningful consultation and public participation?

How, and to what extent, do EIA processes respond to priority concerns for civil society, including climate change impacts, health risks, and challenges for ethnic minorities and marginalized communities?

What sector-specific or general technical review guidelines exist that inform reviewers, and potentially preparers, of typical environmental and societal issues related to individual economic sectors (e.g. hydropower, mining, land concessions)?

What loopholes may exist that can weaken or undermine the implementation, review, approval, or enforcement of the EIA process, findings, and recommendations?

How does the mitigation plan and final approval relate to ongoing and future operations and monitoring?

What enforcement is required after the EIA is approved, and who enforces any mitigation plan included in the EIA?

What role is stipulated for CSOs in EIA review, approval, and enforcement?

What are the specific EIA thresholds for large-scale infrastructure projects, including hydropower dams, mining, and economic land concessions?



Specific sectors to be considered include: hydropower dams, mining, and economic land concessions. Consideration should also be given to issues related to social impact assessment (including health impact assessment), cumulative impact assessment, and transboundary impact assessment. The consultant may propose additional focal areas, sectors, and/or questions for Pact’s consideration as appropriate and relevant.


The consultant will also produce a summary of the environmental assessment requirements, methodologies, and approval and enforcement policies and practices of the Asian Development Bank and the World Bank, as well as one additional ASEAN country (e.g. Indonesia, Malaysia, or the Philippines) and include a summary comparison with the Lower Mekong countries. The additional ASEAN country will be finalized in consultation with Pact.


This comparative analysis is intended to inform the specific content for what a regional EIA standard for ASEAN might include and is complimentary to additional activities currently being undertaken by Pact to support MPE objectives.


Process and Specific Tasks

The consultant will conduct the following specific tasks:

Prepare detailed workplan and draft report outline

Review relevant legal and policy documents and guidelines pertaining to the EIA process applied in each of the six target countries, as well as other literature (see indicative list below)[2]

Consult with experts, MPE partners (e.g. Wildlife Conservation Society) and collaborators (e.g. Vermont Law School), and others as appropriate and necessary

Conduct comparative analysis and assessment of gaps

Preparation of a draft report summarizing findings and recommendations

Presentation on draft report to Pact

Preparation of a final report incorporating comments provided by Pact (following Pact validation with different stakeholder groups during December-January)

Presentation on final report to Pact

Compilation and organization of relevant laws, policies, and relevant documents


It is expected that this work will be carried out primarily as a desk review, with potential limited interviews/consultations as required, and in close coordination with the Pact MPE Manager. The consultant should provide a concise bimonthly summary of results to the Pact MPE Manager during the course of the consultancy.


The consultant will coordinate with MPE Program Officers in target countries as necessary and required.


The consultant will report all findings and recommendations to the Chief of Party, the MPE Manager based in Bangkok, Thailand.





Workplan and draft report outline

detailed work plan outlining the proposed review and analysis process, and a tentative outline for the proposed draft report

Draft report and presentation

draft report summarizing findings and recommendations, including powerpoint presentation summary

Final report and presentation

final report incorporating comments provided by Pact, including powerpoint presentation summary

Soft copies of all documents referenced/reviewed compiled and organized

Regular bimonthly written and/or oral briefings for the Chief of Party






The level of effort for this assignment is expected to be approximately 45 working days, plus reimbursement of pre-approved expenses directly related to carrying out the assignment.




At least five (5) years of demonstrated professional experience in the planning, development, and implementation of environmental impact assessments required, with some experience working with EIAs in one or more of the target countries of the Lower Mekong Subregion preferred;

Strong analytical skills and/or legal background required;

Demonstrated ability in effective written and oral communication required;

Experience working with the operational procedures and standards of the target countries and regional or international lenders and donors preferred;

Minimum of Master’s degree or equivalent in environmental science, natural resource management, environmental law, or other related field required.




Illustrative Documents for Review

ADB & AECEN (2010). Proceedings of Regional Workshop on Environmental Impact Assessment in Asia: Good Practices and Capacity Needs. Paper presented at ADB Headquarters, Manila, 9-10 June. Asian Development Bank and Asian Environmental Compliance and Enforcement Network.

AECEN & APAN (2011). Proceedings of Regional Workshop on Mainstreaming Climate Change Adaptation in Environmental Impact Assessment in Asia. Paper presented at Siam City Hotel, Bangkok, Thailand, 25-26 October. Asian Environmental Compliance and Enforcement Network (AECEN) and the Asia Pacific Adaptation Network (APAN).


AECEN (2009). Building Capacity for Effective Implementation of Environmental Impact Assessment in Asia: Rapid Assessment for Identifying Capacity Challenges and Programming Opportunities. Asian Environmental Compliance and Enforcement Network.

Dusik, J., and J. Xie. (2009). Strategic Environmental Assessment in East and Southeast Asia: A Progress Review and Comparison of Country Systems and Cases. The World Bank.

EASES (2006). Environmental Impact Assessment Regulations and Strategic Environmental Assessment Requirements: Practices and Lessons Learned in East and Southeast Asia. Environment and Social Development Unit, East Asia and Pacific Region of the World Bank.

Environmental Law Institute. (2009). Establishing a Transboundary Environmental Impact Assessment Framework for the Mekong River Basin: An Assessment of the Draft Mekong River Commission TbEIA Framework.


Environmental Resources Management. (2002). Development of an EIA/SEA System for the Lower Mekong Basin: Background Review and Proposed System. Mekong River Commission.

Li, Jennifer C. (2008). Environmental Impact Assessments in Developing Countries: An Opportunity for Greater Environmental Security? Working-Paper No.4. Foundation for Environmental Security & Sustainability.

Lohani, B., J.W. Evans, H. Ludwig, R.R. Everitt, Richard A. Carpenter, and S.L. Tu. (1997). Environmental Impact Assessment for Developing Countries in Asia. Volume 1 - Overview. 356 pp. Asian Development Bank.

NORPLAN (2004). Lao PDR Hydropower Strategic Impact Assessment: Final Report. NORPLAN for Lao PDR Ministry of Industry and Handicrafts and the World Bank.

Pact. (2014). Mekong Partnership for the Environment Regional Stakeholder Engagement Assessment (unpublished report).

Wood, C. (2003).  Environmental Impact Assessment in Developing Countries: An Overview. EIA Centre School of Planning and Landscape University of Manchester.



How to Apply

Interested candidates are invited to submit a cover letter and CV to Pact Thailand Human Resources Unit via by 30 September 2014.

Only short-listed candidates will be contacted.


[1] “Regional development projects” include are those that are primarily financed or implemented by private or government entities based outside of the country of implementation, and/or have the potential to cause significant transboundary social or environmental impacts.

[2] Including building off of MPE’s RSEA report, which also included an initial stocktaking of public participation provisions in national EIA legal frameworks

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