About Mekong Citizen

A multimedia platform to share the stories and voices of citizens across the Greater Mekong

 

The Greater Mekong Subregion includes 6 countries, covers 2.6 million square kilometers, and is called home by more than 300 million people.

It is a region undergoing rapid development, which will bring significant water and environmental change to the area.

Mekong Citizen is a platform to raise awareness, increase education, and foster dialogue on these different issues. The idea started with the Mekong documentary, which examined hydropower development on the Mekong River and its impact on citizens from across the region.

Mekong Citizen has since expanded to be a place for all to share stories about environmentally-related issues in the region. Topics range from agriculture and deforestation to local livelihoods and gender issues to river health and fisheries impact and more.

These stories come from organizations working in the region, university students, journalists, and individual submissions. As this initiative grows, so does the ability of each story to inform the regional dialogue. Be involved.

 

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MPE Home

Mekong Partnership For the Environment

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As growth accelerates across the region, stronger PARTNERSHIPS, increased PARTICIPATION, and access to INFORMATION – across borders and sectors – are crucial for achieving responsible development. Increasingly, new dams, mines, roads, industrial zones and other projects are connecting communities and countries creating a more integrated region.  Integration will distribute both benefits and risks throughout the region. To reduce the risks, inclusive decision-making practices need to be strengthened. Governments need to provide proper oversight. Business needs to be a strong partner. Information needs to be shared. And citizens need their voices heard.

Mekong Partnership for the Environment (MPE) brings together regional governments, civil society and the private sector to support responsible development that makes sense economically, but still protects communities and the environment. Through partnerships, working groups and networks, we promote better informed decision making around large-scale development. We support robust Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) policy and meaningful participation of citizens.

Our vision is a Mekong region where social equity and environmental sustainability provide the foundation for regional prosperity.

 

WHAT IS MEKONG PARTNERSHIP FOR THE ENVIRONMENT?

Mekong Partnership for the Environment is led by Pact, an international NGO, along with a consortium of local partners, including Internews, Stockholm Environment Institute, Wildlife Conservation Society, East West Management Institute, and others. We support constructive engagement between stakeholders to facilitate socially and environmentally responsible development decision-making processes in the Mekong region. We work with partners in Cambodia, China, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam. Our primary donor is the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

 

WHAT DOES MPE AIM TO ACHIEVE?

MPE supports responsible investment and participatory decision-making practices, such as Environmental Impact Assessments, to increase sound social and environmental safeguards for regional development. We take three approaches:

STRONG PARTNERSHIPS: We bring together civil society, business and governments because long-term prosperity depends on regional collaboration among all partners. MPE aims to advance social and environmental safeguards through robust EIAs and environmental and social risk management tools for investors. Governments can ensure clear policies and effective implementation. Businesses can work together to support common standards that are clear and fair. Banks can minimize risk by investing responsibly. And civil society can ensure community input so projects gain public support. MPE supports, networks and platforms to develop partnerships across stakeholder groups that help them reach these goals.

MEANINGFUL PARTICIPATION: We help civil society to constructively engage in development decisions because the impacts are increasingly being felt by citizens and communities across boundaries and borders. Community participation reduces the risk of conflict and can build stronger projects. Through events, research and program grants, and other activities, MPE supports civil society to help improve their capacity to participate.

ACCESSIBLE INFORMATION: We help decision-makers and the public get the vital information they need to make smart decisions. Businesses and governments need to know the impacts projects may have on communities and the environment. And the public needs access to that same information. Through networks, workshops, websites, research and other tools, MPE works with media, civil society and others to ensure information is accurate and available.

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WHAT DOES MPE DO?

MPE supports civil society, government and the private sector from across the Mekong region through our:

EIA Working Group: A multi-stakeholder Regional Technical Working Group on EIA to develop regional guidelines on public participation for EIA and advance regional collaboration on EIA policy

Civil Society Network: A “network of networks” of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) from around the region. CSOs access grants, dialogs with business and governments, and training to better participate in development decisions.

Journalist Network: The Mekong Matters Journalism Network, supporting, connecting and training over 100 journalists to report on regional development issues.

Finance Network: A Mekong Finance Sector Working Group connects with regional banks who are working towards broader adoption of responsible investment practices.

Info Portals: MPE supports three innovative regional websites:

  • The Mekong Eye: curated and original news from our network of journalists and regional media, along with maps, visuals, resources and expert opinion (www.mekongeye.com)
  • Open Development Mekong: a comprehensive storehouse of downloadable data on development trends, aggregated from across the region and presented on interactive maps (opendevelopmentmekong.net)
  • Mekong Citizen: local stories, videos, blogs and groups to give voice to regional practitioners, youth and other active citizens (www.mekongcitizen.org)

Events, Grants & Info Products: MPE supports regional practitioners through workshops, network events, program grants, journalist funds, research grants, analytical reports and other tools.

 

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  • Learn more about applying for grants for civil society activities or small research grants from MPE by visiting the Thailand procurement page.
  • Learn more about our Regional Technical Working Group on Environmental Impact Assessment
  • Learn more about the Mekong Matters Journalism Network that MPE supports by visiting the Earth Journalism Network
  • Check out The Mekong Eye for the best of the region’s environmental journalism
  • Click on the tabs at the top of this page for events, newsletters, press releases, resources and contacts

See more at: Pact

Download our info sheet: MPE_FactSheet_08_15

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MPE Events

UPCOMING EVENTS:

Fifth Meeting of the Regional Technical Working Group on Environmental Impact Assessment

As a result of the first four meetings of the RTWG on EIA, a first draft of the Regional Guidelines on Public Participation in EIA has been produced, translated into the five lower Mekong languages, and made available for public comment. During October 2016, national consultation meetings in each country were held to solicit additional inputs and feedback from interested stakeholders representing government agencies, private sector companies, EIA consulting firms, civil society organizations, academics, and others. In total, nearly 500 people participated and over 2,000 individual comments were received. A summary of the comments will be circulated to the RTWG members in advance of the fifth meeting. Feedback on comments received from the consultation meetings will help inform the main topics for discussion and decision-making at the fifth meeting.

The fifth meeting of the RTWG on EIA is planned for 09-11 January 2017 in Yangon, Myanmar to consider comments from the national consultations and revise and finalize the first draft of the Regional Guidelines on Public Participation in EIA. Discussions on the next steps and future directions of the RTWG on EIA will also be held.

 

 

RECENT EVENTS:

Public consultations on the Regional Guidelines for Public Participation in EIA New

The public consultations were conducted in October 2016 to introduce the draft guidelines and solicit inputs and feedback from interested stakeholders including private sector companies, NGOs, government agencies, academics institutes, and development partners.

Click on following public consultation meetings to see full press releases and media coverage:

October 5            Hanoi, Viet Nam

October 7            Ho Chi Minh City, Viet Nam

October 12          Vientiane, Lao PDR

October 14          Yangon, Myanmar

October 19          Bangkok, Thailand

October 28          Phnom Penh, Cambodia

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Community Engagement in EIA: A Regional Exchange and Learning Forum

September 21-23, 2016 -Yangon, Myanmar

50 representatives from non-governmental organizations (NGOs) across the Mekong region met in Myanmar to share successes and challenges in effectively involving local communities in environmental impact assessment processes.

At the “Community Engagement in Environmental Impact Assessment: A Regional Exchange and Learning Forumin Yangon, participants explored approaches to helping communities constructively engage with businesses and government to ensure sustainable and equitable development in the context of increasing infrastructure investment in the region

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The event was part of MPE’s work supporting constructive engagement among banks, business, government and civil society to facilitate socially and environmentally responsible development in the Mekong region. MPE is facilitating an expert group of regional NGO leaders and government officials to draft Guidelines for Public Participation in environmental impact assessment. The group is holding national consultations throughout the region in October to get feedback on the guidelines.

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Cambodian Banks Commit to Developing Sustainable Financing Principles

September 19, 2016 -Phnom Penh, Cambodia

The Association of Banks in Cambodia (ABC) took a first major step towards sustainable lending practices this week by committing to develop sustainable finance principles and ultimately work towards integrating environmental and social safeguards and lending standards into their business decisions.

Adhering to these principles can help banks lower investment risks while also preserving the environment and supporting local cultures and communities

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ABC’s sustainable banking initiative is being supported by the U.S. Agency for International Development’s (USAID)-funded project Mekong Partnership for the Environment (MPE), with partners Pact, Mekong Strategic Partners, and the Wildlife Conservation Society. The project aims to strengthen the social and environmental risk management capacity of Cambodian and other banks in the region.

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Community EIA Meeting in Thailand: “Any effort to improve participation in EIA should be encouraged”

August 28-29, 2016 -Bangkok, Thailand

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.

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Civil Society Leaders Meet with Cambodian PM, Receive Support for Ongoing Dialogues

CSO leaders credits MPE workshop for helping him with engagement strategies

August 22, 2016 -Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Two key civil society organization (CSO) partners of USAID-supported Mekong Partnership for the Environment (MPE), recently met the Cambodian Prime Minister and were able to earn his support for more formal mechanisms for dialogue between civil society and government.

Following an MPE workshop on CSO leadership, Executive Director of Development and Partnership in Action Mr. Mam Sambath, along with another Cambodian MPE partner Mr. Tek Vannara, Executive Director of NGO Forum on Cambodia (NGOF), attended the Forum on the Protection and Conservation of Natural Resources and met with Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen. The August 22 forum in Phnom Penh aimed to promote collaboration between government of Cambodia, development partners, CSOs, and local communities in natural resources, biodiversity and ecosystem conservation, and environmental protection in Cambodia.

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Stakeholders Confirm Need for Public Participation in EIA Processes During Cambodia’s National Public Consultation Workshop

August 09, 2016 -Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Key stakeholders related to EIA in Cambodia provided feedback on Cambodia’s draft national guidelines on public participation in the environmental impact assessment (EIA) process during the country’s first national public consultation workshop on 19 July 2016 in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, organized by the Ministry of Environment with the Vishnu Law Group and funded by the Mekong Partnership for the Environment (MPE). Over 170 participants, including representatives from government, affected communities, private sector, academia, NGOs, EIA experts and international and regional observers participated in the workshop and the majority strongly suggested that all development projects need to undergo EIA processes before any construction or operation begins. In particular, participants emphasized during discussions and through written comments that the EIA process must include proper conflict resolution processes and projects must obtain the consent of affected people. The development of Cambodia’s guidelines on public participation in EIA stiches together efforts at the regional level led by the Regional Technical Working Group on EIA, also supported by MPE.

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Regional Journalist Network Examines Dams, Diversion, Drought and Difficult Decisions

August 01, 2016 -Loei, Thailand

At the junction of the Loei and Mekong Rivers in Thailand, Journalists from around the Mekong region examined an example of the current mix of stresses on the environment and communities across the region. The workshop “Mekong Matters: Water Governance on the Mekong River” brought 15 journalists from Cambodia, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam together to examine how various water development projects are causing potentially irreversible changes to fisheries, farming, culture and water supply.

USAID-funded Mekong Partnership for the Environment facilitates the Mekong Matters Journalism Network, which partnered with Thai Society for Environmental Journalists (ThaiSEJ) for this event. The focus was on providing a rich and vivid field reporting experience for improving the reporting skills of the journalists. Journalism mentors, including the Mekong Eye’s editors and international trainers, guided groups of participants to investigate their story ideas through access to a balanced range of sources.

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The Fourth Meeting of the Regional Technical Working Group on Environmental Impact Assessment

July 27-29, 2016 -Chiangmai, Thailand

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.

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Cambodian Journalists Investigate Dam Impacts, Learn Reporting Skills and Plan for News Network

July 14-16, 2016 – Kratie province, Cambodia

Twenty Cambodian journalists from six Mekong provinces and Phnom Penh attended a three-day workshop in Kratie province to learn how to better report on the costs and benefits of hydroelectric dams and other development on the Mekong River.

The July 14-16 workshop was the second organized by Mekong Partnership for the Environment partner Cambodia Institute for Media Studies (CIMS), as part of their project connecting and training journalists who report on the environment. The workshop was divided into two part: journalism skills training and a field visit to communities who may be affected by dam construction and management.

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Community Awareness Raising for Public Participation in EIA

June 23-27, 2016 – Mandalay, Myanmar

USAID-funded Mekong Partnership for the Environment is helping communities in Myanmar understand the EIA processes related to development projects that may impact their environments and communities. On 26 June 2016, MPE partner Forests Resource Environment Development and Conservation Association (FREDA) conducted the first of two workshops on “Community Awareness Raising for Public Participation on EIA” in Mandalay, Myanmar. The next one will be held in Yangon in August 2016.

Around 40 members of community-based organizations participated in the activity, including representatives from the North-South-Lake communities along the Myit Nge River who were severely impacted by contamination of the waste water from the Mandalay industrial zone.  Most of the participants have no knowledge on these issues and the workshop allowed space for project affected communities and other community-based organizations to understand the new EIA procedures of Myanmar and how they could participate in EIA processes of future development projects in Myanmar. It also allowed them to share experiences and harmful impacts of development projects in their respective communities.

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Mekong Data Driven Journalism and Advocacy Workshop 

June 23-27, 2016 – Yangon, Myanmar

At the “Data, Development and the Environment: Mekong Data Driven Journalism and Advocacy Workshop,” from 23 to 27 June in Yangon, Myanmar, 26 journalists and representatives of Mekong-region environmental NGOs gathered to examine data about the costs and benefits of regional development projects, such as how power plants, hydropower dams or special economic zones may affect the environment and communities. Participants learned how to “scrape” the internet for data sets, clean the data, analyze it, and then how to tell stories using language and journalistic tools to make the data interesting and easy to understand. They also learned how to visualise data – how to turn numbers into attractive and easy-to-understand infographics.

The event, run by Phandeeyar, an Innovation Lab in Yangon. Phandeeyar’s workshop was organized with support from MPE partners Internews, Open Development Mekong, and Pact, which leads the implementation of MPE. The workshop is part of MPE’s Mekong Matters Journalism Network’s efforts to support journalists reporting on environmental issues.

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Webinar:  Public Participation in Transboundary Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)

15 June, 1015-1145 (UTC+7) Bangkok time

Mekong Partnership for Environment (MPE) in collaboration with the Asian Environmental Compliance and Enforcement Network (AECEN) organised the MPE Webinar Series on Public Participation in Transboundary EIA on 15 June 2016, hosted by Dr. Peter King. Over 50 Government officials from the EIA department, CSOs along with other EIA Practitioners across Asia and representatives from development partners registered for this event.

This is the third in the MPE Webinar Series designed to provide the Regional Technical Working Group on EIA and other attendees with an opportunity to understand the processes of decision-making on projects with transboundary effects and consider if the adaptation of more transparent, legitimate and active participation approaches can reduce the transboundary impact of development projects.

The session was proved to be quite successful, with receiving over 20 questions from attendees which mainly addressed the importance of integrating TbEIA to be part of the Regional Guidelines on Public Participation in EIA from the very outset and not considered as separate criterion. The topic of the Fourth MPE Webinar Series is to be discussed among the Regional Technical Working Group Members during the Fourth Meeting of the Regional Technical Working Group on EIA in Chiang Mai on 27 – 29 July 2016.

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Communicating for Change: Strategic Communications Training Program for CSOs – Part 3 Communications Tools

May 9-11, 2016 -Bangkok, Thailand

To enhance opportunities for civil society organizations (CSOs) to engage, Mekong Partnership for the Environment aims to strengthen their skills to communicate with policy-makers, businesses, journalists, the public and others to promote participatory decision-making processes. The Strategic Communications Training for CSOs -Part 3 Communications Tools will focus on tools identified as key by participants in the previous training, Part 3 will help partners build skills and develop real products. Participants will learn how to develop better stories, case studies, and strategic social media products to influence decision-makers, journalists and the public. The event will use “improving public participation in development decisions” as a theme.

The Part 3 training will be held during May 9-11, 2016 in Bangkok, Thailand.

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Third Meeting of the Regional Technical Working Group on Environmental Impact Assessment

Apr 27-29, 2016 – Siem Reap, Cambodia

As a result of the first two meetings of the RTWG on EIA (September and December 2015), an action plan was developed by the RTWG members to guide the creation of Regional Guidelines for Public Participation in EIA, as well as to promote the sharing of the best practices in EIA and to mainstream this guideline and best practices into the Mekong Countries, and potentially ASEAN. The third meeting of the RTWG on EIA is planned for 27-29 April 2016 in Siem Reap, Cambodia to review and further develop the ‘zero draft’ of the Regional Guidelines for Public Participation in EIA.

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Civil Society Organizations to Engage Governments, Media and the Public to Improve Public Participation 

February 17-19,  2016 – Phnom Penh, Cambodia

As a result of a workshop led by USAID-funded Mekong Partnership for the Environment (MPE), regional Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) will be directly engaging governments, the media, the public and others to build support for regional guidelines on public participation in Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) processes. MPE partners Pact, Internews and Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) trained 17 participants from 10 regional CSOs in strategic communications, February 17-19 in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. The CSOs developed an action plan to create briefing materials, media products, case studies and other tools at regional and local levels to constructively engage governments, businesses and others on the importance of strong public participation in minimizing social, financial and environmental risks and supporting long-term prosperity. The workshop is the second of a three-part Strategic Research and Communications Training Program for CSOs, and supports MPE’s Regional Technical Working Group on EIA, which brings together civil society and government to draft regional public participation guidelines.

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Webninar on EIA and Community Participation 

February 26,  2016 – Bangkok, Thailand

The USAID-supported Mekong Partnership for the Environment, in collaboration with the Asian Environmental Compliance and Enforcement Network (AECEN), will host a first live webinar on Friday, February 26 to highlight the importance of public participation in Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA). This webinar session on “Community Participation in EIA: Environmental Monitoring and Management” will be hosted by Peter King, headed of the AECEN Secretariat and a Senior Policy Advisor for the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies. The series is designed to provide participants with an opportunity to exchange ideas and information on how to ensure that community involvement is included throughout the EIA process. To register, please contact Chochoe Devaporihartakula at chochoe@iges.or.jp

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Mekong Partnership for the Environment Supports Cambodia Government on Renewable Energy Policy 

January 20,  2016 – Phnom Penh, Cambodia

USAID-supported Mekong Partnership for the Environment (MPE) has collaborated with Cambodia’s Ministry of Environment and National Council for Sustainable Development (NCSD) to launch the report “Switching On: Cambodia’s Path to Sustainable Energy Security” in Phnom Penh, Cambodia on January 20. The independent analysis urges the government to set a higher formal target for renewable energy generation of 10% of peak energy demand by 2020, reflecting advances in renewable energy costs and technologies. It also recommends establishing a system by 2017 to compensate solar power producers for excess energy fed back into the grid. The launch event featured remarks by Acting USAID Cambodia Mission Director Sean Callahan, and Kheiv Mot, Secretary of State for the Cambodian Ministry of Environment. Mekong Strategic Partners, supported by MPE, authored the report in an effort to draw attention to investment options that can meet energy needs while reducing the social and environmental costs of production. See the press release here and download the report’s summary here.

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Mekong Governments and Civil Society Organizations Endorse Action Plan to Help Reduce Negative Impacts of Infrastructure Projects 

December 16-18,  2015 – Tam Dao, Vietnam

Government agencies and civil society organisations from across the Lower Mekong region have endorsed an action plan to improve public participation in Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs). The action plan helps the 25-member working group, supported by the USAID Mekong Partnership for the Environment project as they develop regional EIA guidelines over the next 18 months. The goal is to improve the implementation of EIA and reduce anticipated negative impacts of development projects. Support for the working group is a key part of the project’s work in holding multi-stakeholder dialogues and enhancing the community involvement in the development of infrastructure projects such as dams, mines and industrial zones. The project co-facilitates the group with the Asian Environmental Compliance and Enforcement Network (AECEN).

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USAID Mekong Partnership for the Environment Helps to Ensure Responsible Development in The Mekong Region 

September 30 – October 2,  2015 – Bangkok, Thailand

The USAID-funded Mekong Partnership for the Environment  program recently held a week-long workshop for 21 representatives of civil society organizations from across the Mekong to strengthen their ability in programming and advocacy efforts. Trainers taught participants how to integrate research to constructively advocate for national and regional policy changes. It also introduced an “organizational network analysis” to help identify and strengthen networking and collaboration to improve regional impact. The workshop was organized and hosted by USAID partners Pact and Stockholm Environment Institute in collaboration with our SERVIR program with NASA.

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Mekong Governments and Civil Society Organizations Kick-Off Regional Technical Working Group on Environmental Impact Assessment

September 28-29,  2015 – Bangkok, Thailand

Twenty-five representatives from Mekong government agencies and civil society organizations met to develop standard regional guidelines to improve public participation in environmental impact assessment for large-scale investment projects. The meeting was supported by USAID MPE  in collaboration with the Asian Environmental Compliance and Enforcement Network and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Participants developed an action plan and established operational procedures for the next two years. The group’s work on environmental impact assessment supports and complements a joint statement recently signed in August by regional leaders as part of the Lower Mekong Initiative, a multinational partnership among Burma, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Vietnam and the United States to enhance regional cooperation on development challenges in the region.

Read more on the BLOG: Partnership in Action 

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Shared Solutions: Safeguarding Sustainable Development in the Mekong Region

August 25-27 2015 – Bangkok, Thailand

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Mekong Partnership for the Environment is gathering over 170 government, NGO, private sector, and academic experts from across the Mekong region to share ideas on solutions for sustainable development. The event focuses on identifying trends, strengthening connections and discussing ideas, approaches and experiences to enhance social and environmental safeguards and responsible investment in the region. The Shared Solutions symposium is a learning event, and will include presentations, panel discussion and breakout thematic sessions.

The Symposium is organised by Pact, in collaboration with Thailand’s Office of Natural Resources and Environmental Policy and Planning (ONEP), the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA), the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI), and other partners. The specific objectives of the workshop are to:

  • Share approaches, research, and case studies around increasing regional cooperation and awareness on issues related to responsible investment and reducing social and environmental impacts of development;
  • Network with government, NGO, private sector, and academic experts and practitioners involved in addressing issues related to social and environmental impacts of large-scale development in lower Mekong countries and ASEAN more broadly;
  • Strengthen and identify potential new opportunities for national and regional collaboration; and
  • Increase the understanding of the role of integrated, regional development within the Mekong and the broader ASEAN region.

The agenda addresses current practices and trends and examines the ASEAN community’s influence on the trajectory of the region to frame the context of impacts of increased regional investment in large-scale development projects. Cutting across these themes are questions around how to increase regional cooperation among stakeholders and the efforts to increase access to information and data.

By the end of the Symposium, the following outcomes will have been achieved:

  • A common understanding of current trends and approaches for socially responsible investment and strengthening social and environmental safeguards in the Mekong region.
  • Increased partnership and regional cooperation opportunities among participants.
  • Stronger network across not only country boundaries but among stakeholder groups.
  • Ideas for engagement strategies or approaches based on existing lessons in the region.

 

Agenda: Mekong Safeguards Symposium agenda 08-17-2015

Summary Report can be found here

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Mekong Matters Journalism Workshop: Development and the Mekong Delta

August 2015 – Can Tho, Vietnam

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The most recent  Mekong Matters Journalism Network event was August 11-13 in Can Tho, Vietnam. The workshop focused on development and the Mekong Delta, where regional journalists learnt about the interlinks between upstream development projects, irrigation, industry, and climate change. MPE supported 15 journalists and four local civil society representatives to tour communities, meet local businesses and examine development project and adaptation sites. Participants from across the Mekong met researchers, government officials and communities affected by upstream hydropower and other interconnected challenges. This third Mekong Matters training event supported journalists to learn about these complex issues, discover some success stories, and forge local and regional contacts to help them report on regional development project impacts. Internews, Pact and the Vietnam Forum of Environmental Journalists partnered to organize the event

MPE Press

PRESS RELEASES

For more information contact Adam Hunt, Media and Communications Director, Mekong Partnership for the Environment: ahunt@internews.org

 

 

MPE PRESS RELEASE 009

Cambodia government and civil society hold landmark public consultations on infrastructure development

28.10.2016 – Phnom Penh, Cambodia

In a landmark move for public participation in Cambodia, the government and civil society jointly held public consultations on regional guidelines to ensure Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) processes involve affected communities.

More than 100 representatives from private sector companies, communities, civil society organizations, government agencies, environmental impact assessment consulting firms gathered today at a public consultation in Phnom Penh to provide feedback on draft Regional Guidelines on effective Public Participation in Environmental Impact Assessment processes as a way to ensure these processes involve communities.

The participants’ input will help improve an effort that is seen by many as critical for the region to address the environmental and social impacts of the growing array of regional development projects such as dams, mines, power plants, and industrial zones.

“Public participation in decisions related to the design and implementation of infrastructure is not only a good idea, it is also good for the economy,” noted Ms. Sandra Stajka, Director, Food Security and Environment Office, USAID/Cambodia. “It’s important that those who are affected by these decisions are involved in the process.”

As the region experiences a period of rapid economic growth and increasing foreign direct investment in infrastructure projects, the regional environmental impact assessment guidelines are being developed in response to a shared concern about the social and environmental impacts of those projects. Communities and experts throughout the region have been reporting severe negative impacts on natural resources, fish populations, agriculture, community health and culture.

While environmental impact assessment is implemented in all lower Mekong countries, it is often hampered by a lack of effective public participation. This gap can result in adverse social and environmental impacts, project delays, and conflicts with communities, all leading to costs and risks for investors and governments.

“The most important thing is the quality of participation. In these guidelines, we can see participation at all levels, and we want to ensure the quality is strong, especially on issues related to community impacts,” commented Sambo Choun of Indigenous Community Support Organization (ICSO), a Cambodian civil society organization. “Along with government and developers, communities need the power to influence a project.”

H.E. Sou Souvuth, Undersecretary of State, Ministry of Environment gives opening remarks at the Phnom Penh consultations. (Photo: MPE)

H.E. Sou Souvuth, Undersecretary of State, Ministry of Environment gives opening remarks at the Phnom Penh consultations. (Photo: MPE)

The Regional Guidelines on Public Participation in Environmental Impact Assessment  have been drafted by a multi-stakeholder Regional Technical Working Group. Formed in August 2015 with support from the USAID-funded Mekong Partnership for the Environment, the working group includes 25 civil society and government representatives from across the five lower Mekong countries, along with national advisors and technical experts including from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and European Union.

Today’s consultation was the final in a series being held across all of the Lower Mekong countries of Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam throughout October. The consultations provide investors, environmental impact assessment practitioners, communities, NGOs, government departments and others the opportunity to review and provide feedback on the draft guidelines. The draft guidelines are also available for public feedback via an online platform (mekongcitizen.org/EIA) through October 31.

After the public comment period has closed, the working group will revise the guidelines based on public input received. Once finalized, the work will turn to ensuring these guidelines are implemented by developers and used by governments to complement and improve national policies and practices.

The working group is supported by the USAID-funded Mekong Partnership for the Environment, implemented by Pact in partnership with the Asian Environmental Compliance and Enforcement Network and regional governments and civil society organizations. MPE supports constructive engagement among business, government and civil society to facilitate socially and environmentally responsible development in the Mekong region.

 

For more information:

 

See media coverage in English on The Phnom Penh Post

and in Khmer on Radio Free Asia -Khmer, Thmey Thmey, VAYOFM and FAN Khmer

 

 

 

MPE PRESS RELEASE 008

Landmark public consultations on infrastructure development held in Vientiane 

24.10.2016 – Vientiane, Lao PDR

A landmark public consultation in Laos on the draft Regional Guidelines on Public Participation in Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) was held in Vientiane.

More than 100 representatives from private sector companies, communities, non-profit associations, international organizations, government agencies, environmental impact assessment consulting firms gathered today at a public consultation in Vientiane to provide feedback on draft Regional Guidelines on effective Public Participation in Environmental Impact Assessment processes as a way to ensure these processes involve communities.

The participants’ input will help improve an effort that is seen by many as critical for the region to address the environmental and social impacts of the growing array of regional development projects such as dams, mines, power plants, and industrial zones.

“Public participation is at the heart of good development,” said U.S. Embassy Chargé d’Affaires Michael Kleine in support of the regional working group that is drafting the guidelines. “What is powerful about this drafting process is the level of engagement among governments and community partners from around the region.”

As the region experiences a period of rapid economic growth and increasing foreign direct investment in infrastructure projects, the regional environmental impact assessment guidelines are being developed in response to a shared concern about the social and environmental impacts of those projects. Communities and experts throughout the region have been reporting severe negative impacts on natural resources, fish populations, agriculture, community health and culture.

Opening remarks by Dr.Xaynakhone Inthavong, Director General of Department of Planning and Cooperation – Ministry Of Natural Resources and Environment and Michael Kleine, Chargé d’Affaires of the U.S. Embassy to the Lao P.D.R. stressed the importance of Public Participation in EIA. (Photo: MPE)

Opening remarks by Dr.Xaynakhone Inthavong, Director General of Department of Planning and Cooperation – Ministry Of Natural Resources and Environment and Michael Kleine, Chargé d’Affaires of the U.S. Embassy to the Lao P.D.R. stressed the importance of Public Participation in EIA. (Photo: MPE)

While environmental impact assessment is implemented in all lower Mekong countries, it is often hampered by a lack of effective public participation. This gap can result in adverse social and environmental impacts, project delays, and conflicts with communities, all leading to costs and risks for investors and governments.

“It is important to have meaningful public participation in the early stage of project development. This helps to identify potential problems and build good relationships with affected communities, which leads to obtaining community support for project operations. As a developer, we do not need only an operating license but also public acceptance. To earn trust from the communities, we need to communicate well with them,” said Mr. Prapard Pan-Aram, Deputy Managing Director – Nam Ngiep 1 Power Company.

The Regional Guidelines on Public Participation in Environmental Impact Assessment  have been drafted by a multi-stakeholder Regional Technical Working Group. Formed in August 2015 with support from the USAID-funded Mekong Partnership for the Environment, the working group includes 25 civil society and government representatives from across the five lower Mekong countries, along with national advisors and technical experts including from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and European Union.

Today’s consultation was part of a series being held across all of the Lower Mekong countries of Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam throughout October. The consultations provide investors, environmental impact assessment practitioners, communities, NGOs, government departments and others the opportunity to review and provide feedback on the draft guidelines. The draft guidelines are also available for public feedback via an online platform (http://eia.mekongcitizen.org) through October 31.

After the public comment period has closed, the working group will revise the guidelines based on public input received. Once finalized, the work will turn to ensuring these guidelines are implemented by developers and used by governments to complement and improve national policies and practices.

The working group is supported by the USAID-funded Mekong Partnership for the Environment, implemented by Pact in partnership with the Asian Environmental Compliance and Enforcement Network and regional governments and civil society organizations. MPE supports constructive engagement among business, government and civil society to facilitate socially and environmentally responsible development in the Mekong region.

 

For more information:

See media coverage in English on  The Laotian Times , Lao News Agency and Asia Pacific Daily 

 

 

MPE PRESS RELEASE 007

Myanmar government and civil society hold landmark consultations on public participation in infrastructure development

 

14.10.2016 – Yangon, Myanmar

Today, representatives from government and civil society jointly held the firstofitskind public consultations in Yangon to solicit feedback on draft Regional Guidelines on effective Public Participation in Environmental Impact Assessment processes.

When finalized, the guidelines will help ensure that the voices of local people are heard about large-scale infrastructure development projects, such as dams, mines, power plants, and industrial zones, planned in their communities.

 “Public participation in decisions related to the design and implementation of infrastructure is not only just a good idea, but it is also good business,said Mr. Warren Harrity, Program Office Director at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Burma Mission.  “What we are really talking about is a new way of doing developmentone in which all stakeholders are involved in the process.”

Representatives from the private sector, communities, civil society organizations, government agencies and environmental impact assessment consulting firms joined the consultations to discuss the environmental and social impacts of regional infrastructure development.

As the region experiences a period of rapid economic growth and increasing foreign direct investment in infrastructure projects, the regional environmental impact assessment guidelines are being developed in response to a shared concern about the social and environmental impacts of those projects. Communities and experts throughout the region have been reporting negative impacts on natural resources, fish populations, agriculture, community health and culture.

While environmental impact assessment is implemented in all lower Mekong countries, it is often hampered by a lack of effective public participation. This gap can result in adverse social and environmental impacts, project delays, and conflicts with communities, all leading to costs and risks for investors and governments

Opening remarks by USAID Burma Mission Program Office Director, Warren Harrity at the Myanmar National Consultation on the draft Regional Guidelines on Public Participation in EIA: Reflections on the importance of Public Participation in EIA process for socially and environmentally responsible development. (Photo: MPE)

Opening remarks by USAID Burma Mission Program Office Director, Warren Harrity at the Myanmar National Consultation on the draft Regional Guidelines on Public Participation in EIA: Reflections on the importance of Public Participation in EIA process for socially and environmentally responsible development. (Photo: MPE)

“EIA process provides an opportunity for all key stakeholders– government, businesses, and civil society – to come together during the early stages of a proposed project and better development. In Myanmar, we have EIA law and regulations and now we are at the implementation stage. Therefore, multi-stakeholder engagement is very crucial to strengthen regional capacity for sustainable development.”, said Daw Naw Ei Ei Min, Director of Promotion of Indigenous and Nature Together (POINT).

The Regional Guidelines on Public Participation in Environmental Impact Assessment  have been drafted by a multi-stakeholder Regional Technical Working Group. Formed in August 2015 with support from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) funded Mekong Partnership for the Environment, the working group includes 25 civil society and government representatives from across the five lower Mekong countries, along with national advisors and technical experts including from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and European Union.

Today’s consultation was part of a series being held across all of the Lower Mekong countries of Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam throughout October. The consultations provide investors, environmental impact assessment practitioners, communities, NGOs, government departments and others the opportunity to review and provide feedback on the draft guidelines, which are also available for public feedback via an online platform (eia.mekongcitizen.org) through October 31.

After the public comment period has closed, the working group will revise the guidelines based on public input received. Once finalized, the work will turn to ensuring these guidelines are implemented by developers and used by governments to complement and improve national policies and practices.

The working group is supported by the USAID-funded MPE, implemented by Pact in partnership with the Asian Environmental Compliance and Enforcement Network and regional governments and civil society organizations.

 

For more information:

See media coverage in Burmese on DVB TV  (broadcast news 0.15-0.45 min) 

 

 

MPE PRESS RELEASE 006

Public Consultations Underway to Improve Environmental Impact Assessment for Infrastructure Development

 

05.10.2016 – Hanoi, Vietnam

More than 50 representatives from private sector companies, communities, civil society organizations, government agencies, environmental impact assessment (EIA) consulting firms gathered today at a public consultation in Hanoi to provide feedback on draft Regional Guidelines on Public Participation in Environmental Impact Assessment processes as a way to ensure these processes involve affected communities.

The participants’ input will help improve an effort that is seen by many as critical for the region to address the environmental and social impacts of the growing array of regional development projects such as dams, mines, power plants, and industrial zones.

Public participation is crucial to a quality environmental impact assessment and is at the heart of socially and environmentally responsible development,said Craig Hart, acting USAID Vietnam Mission Director. “This will help ensure that the social, environmental, and economic aspects of development projects are considered, and contribute to shared and sustainable solutions.”

As the region experiences a period of rapid economic growth and increasing foreign direct investment in infrastructure projects, the regional environmental impact assessment guidelines are being developed in response to a shared concern about the social and environmental impacts of those projects. Communities and experts throughout the region have been reporting severe negative impacts on natural resources, fish populations, agriculture, community health and culture.

While environmental impact assessment is implemented in all lower Mekong countries, it is often hampered by a lack of effective public participation. This gap can result in adverse social and environmental impacts, project delays, and conflicts with communities, all leading to costs and risks for investors and governments.

 

01-feedback

Mr. Nguyen Van Tai, Director General of the Vietnam Environment Administration (VEA) addresses participants at the consultations Photo: MPE

The Regional Guidelines on Public Participation in Environmental Impact Assessment  have been drafted by a multi-stakeholder Regional Technical Working Group. Formed in August 2015 with support from the USAID-funded Mekong Partnership for the Environment (MPE), the working group includes 25 civil society and government representatives from across the five lower Mekong countries, along with national advisors and technical experts including from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and European Union.

The Guidelines and the group’s participatory drafting process, “set out a good platform for joining the hands of civil society and government, along with private sector input.” said Nguyen Thi Yen of the civil society organization Women’s Intellectual Association of Environmental Protection, who joined the Hanoi consultations. “Public participation is meant to include voices of the public meaningfully throughout the development process. It’s especially important to have guidance to improve the participation of vulnerable groups in EIA processes.”

Today’s consultation was the first of a series to be held across all of the Lower Mekong countries of Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam throughout October. The consultations provide investors, environmental impact assessment practitioners, communities, NGOs, government departments and others the opportunity to review and provide feedback on the draft guidelines. The draft guidelines are also available for public feedback via an online platform (mekongcitizen.org/EIA) through October 31.

After the public comment period has closed, the working group will revise the guidelines based on public input received. Once finalized, the work will turn to ensuring these guidelines are implemented by developers and used by governments to complement and improve national policies and practices.

The working group is supported by the USAID-funded Mekong Partnership for the Environment, implemented by Pact in partnership with the Asian Environmental Compliance and Enforcement Network and regional governments and civil society organizations. MPE supports constructive engagement among business, government and civil society to facilitate socially and environmentally responsible development in the Mekong region.

A subsequent public consultation will be organized in Ho Chi Minh City on October 7.

For more information:

 

Press coverage:

Workshop tackles ethnic issues–Vietnam News
Engaging public participation in environmental impact assessments was advised to offer more chances to ethnic minority groups and to allow underprivileged people to raise their voices, in a consultation workshop held yesterday in Hà Nội. The workshop was organised to receive comments from interested stakeholders for the draft “Regional Guidelines on Public Participation in Environmental Impact Assessments”. The draft is to be compiled by the Regional Technical Working Group with 25 members from both Government and non-government agencies of five countries in the lower Mekong region including Việt Nam, Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar and Thailand.

Vietnam Plus

Tin Moi Truong 

In Vietnamese Thien Nhein Net, Hanoi TV, Tin Moi Truong and YouTube

 

MPE PRESS RELEASE 005

Regional NGOs convene in Myanmar to improve community involvement in infrastructure decisions

 

23.09.2016 – Yangon, Myanmar 

This week, 50 representatives from non-governmental organizations (NGOs) across the Mekong region met in Myanmar to share successes and challenges in effectively involving local communities in environmental impact assessment processes.

At the “Community Engagement in Environmental Impact Assessment: A Regional Exchange and Learning Forumin Yangon, participants explored approaches to helping communities constructively engage with businesses and government to ensure sustainable and equitable development in the context of increasing infrastructure investment in the region.

Public participation is at the heart of sustainable development,said Mr. Warren Harrity, Program Office Director at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Burma Mission. USAID supported the event through its funding for the Mekong Partnership for the Environment (MPE). “Civil society groups have a growing array of success stories in helping communities take part in environmental impact assessment processes. Learning from these will ultimately benefit projects and people across the region.”

As the region experiences a period of rapid economic growth and increasing investment in infrastructure such as dams and power plants, transparent and inclusive environmental impact assessment processes are crucial in protecting communities and the environment.

There is often a lot of public concern about the environmental impacts of projects such as power plants, as well as the EIA process.” said Ha Thi Hong Hai of the Vietnamese CSO Green Innovation and Development Centre (Green ID), speaking at the event. “We organize events with communities and local authorities to raise awareness of the potential impacts and the legal aspects of the projects.”

Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) can play an important role in ensuring that community perspectives are meaningfully integrated into those formal environmental impact assessment processes.

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

International experts and panelists from Myanmar and across the region discuss how communities can best be involved in Environmental Impact Assessment processes. (Photo: MPE)

 

Its important for civil society to help communities have a voicesaid Mr. Menghoin Hok from The NGO Forum on Cambodia. “Communities are the ones most vulnerable and affected by projects. We as CSOs work with and for them to understand their rights, and help them engage with developers, which supports transparency and accountable government, and the rule of law.”

At the forum, participants from Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam shared innovative approaches and case studies from across the region of NGOs successfully assisting communities to engage in environmental impact assessment processes for development issues that affect their livelihoods and environment. Participants exchanged practical ideas for incorporating community-based approaches into formal environmental impact assessment processes, examined how to define success and explored how to measure meaningful public participation.

Through dialog and information exchanges at the forum with each other and representatives from the private sector, NGO participants gained an increased understanding of both the environmental impact assessment process and their own role helping communities connect with developers and governments. They also acquired an array of tools, strategies and models to help them achieve their community engagement objectives.

“Most communities affected by investment in Myanmar are indigenous people who don’t know their rights. It was so useful to learn strategies from other countries at the Forum.” said Naw Khin Moe Aye from Promotion of Indigenous and Nature Together (POINT) – a CSO in Myanmar that partners with MPE. “I’m planning for a workshop on EIA next month involving local communities and this event will help me prepare.”

The event was part of MPE’s work supporting constructive engagement among banks, business, government and civil society to facilitate socially and environmentally responsible development in the Mekong region. MPE is facilitating an expert group of regional NGO leaders and government officials to draft Guidelines for Public Participation in environmental impact assessment. The group is holding national consultations throughout the region in October to get feedback on the guidelines.

The USAID-supported regional Mekong Partnership for the Environment project is implemented by the non-governmental organization Pact and its partners.

 

Press coverage:

Regional NGOs meet in Myanmar to improve community involvement in infrastructure decisions–Mizzima

50 representatives from non-governmental organizations (NGOs) across the Mekong region met in Myanmar to share successes and challenges in effectively involving local communities in environmental impact assessment (EIA) processes.  At the “Community Engagement in Environmental Impact Assessment: A Regional Exchange and Learning Forum” in Yangon, participants explored approaches to helping communities constructively engage with businesses and government to ensure sustainable and equitable development in the context of increasing infrastructure investment in the region, according to a press release September 23.

 

MPE PRESS RELEASE 004

Report Recommends Actions to Increase Cambodia’s Renewable Energy Use              

20.01.2016 – Phnom Penh, Cambodia

The Cambodian National Council for Sustainable Development (NCSD), in collaboration with U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and its partners, launched a report today that highlights Cambodia’s need to set a formal target for renewable energy generation for sustainable and secure economic growth.

The independent report entitled “Switching On: Cambodia’s Path to Sustainable Energy Security,” supported by the USAID-funded Mekong Partnership for the Environment (MPE) project, recommends that the Cambodian government clarify laws on renewables – such as rooftop solar power – to supply electricity.

With Cambodia’s economy thriving, the authors of the report are optimistic that the country is well placed to diversify its power sources; however, with energy use increasing rapidly, sustainable power sources need to be prioritized.

 

DSCN5170

Multi-sector representatives discuss new report “Switching On: Cambodia’s Path to Sustainable Energy Security” and the potential for renewable energy in Cambodia (Photo: Pact Cambodia)

 

“Meeting these demands in a sustainable way is perhaps the key development challenge facing Cambodia, and the broader region,” said Acting USAID Cambodia Mission Director Sean Callahan, who spoke at the launch. “With falling costs of solar and other renewable energy technologies, these are becoming more cost-effective and competitive with more traditional, centralized power plants such as coal and hydropower.”

Coal and hydropower currently make up about 60 percent of Cambodia’s energy use, while renewables account for less than 1 percent. Coal and hydro projects continue to multiply across the region, but research has shown they can seriously harm communities and food supplies, and contribute to global climate change.

The Cambodian government says boosting renewable power generation is a key goal and they are studying legislative options.

“Now is a particularly good time for Cambodia to be embracing a target and learning to accommodate advanced technologies in its power generation mix,” said Kheiv Mot, Secretary of State for the Ministry of Environment, in remarks at the event. “These technologies and changes will probably arrive sooner than people realise. There are therefore good reasons to start the ‘step by step’ journey to incorporating diverse technologies in the power supply mix.”

According to the report, Cambodia’s priority should be to “formalize an interim renewable energy generation target for Cambodia.” It specifies a potential interim goal of 10 percent of peak energy demand to be generated by renewables by 2020. But it first recommends a detailed study to determine a cost-effective but ambitious level.

“Cambodia’s rapidly growing economy means electricity demand is growing 20% per year. To continue to meet this demand, a great opportunity now exists to take advantage of technologies, such as solar to complement the existing infrastructure.” said report co-author John McGinley, the managing partner of Mekong Strategic Partners. “Recent structural changes in the costs of solar technology now means that Cambodia could produce electricity more cheaply than via traditional conventional methods. And most importantly this supply can be built very quickly to meet the nation’s unfulfilled demand for electricity.”

The report urges the government to establish a system by 2017 to compensate solar power producers for excess energy fed back into the grid.

It also recommends that Cambodia seek international development support from the Green Climate Fund, seek development assistance and training on renewable energy adoption, and consider removing VAT and import duty from solar generation equipment.

The report was supported by a grant to Mekong Strategic Partners through the USAID-funded MPE project, implemented by Pact. The project brings regional working groups of business, civil society and government leaders together to promote best practices and policies on infrastructure development in the Mekong region.

 

Download the report’s executive summary here.

 

 

Press coverage:

Green energy remains untapped –The Phnom Penh Post
Cambodia is overly reliant on developing large-scale hydro and fossil fuel-fired power stations, and should look to diversify its energy generation portfolio through cost-effective non-hydro renewable energy technologies that also offer fewer social and environmental costs, a study released yesterday advised. The report urged authorities to consider more investment in non-hydro renewable energy technologies, which would allow the country to pursue energy security while increasing energy access, reliability and affordability.

Khmer Times

The Cambodia Daily

 

 

MPE PRESS RELEASE 003

Mekong Governments, Civil Society Reach Agreement on Environmental Impact Assessment Agenda

15.05.2015 – Hanoi, Vietnam

In a ground-breaking agreement, government officials and civil society representatives from across the Mekong region agreed to establish a working group to develop a regional public participation guideline for Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), May 14 in Hanoi, Vietnam.

The Regional Technical Working Group for EIA brings together governments, civil society organizations (CSOs), and will expand to cover private sector and EIA experts to improve regional cooperation for effective EIA policy and practices. The group aims to reduce the social and environmental impacts of regional development projects, particularly as the upcoming Association of Southeast Nations (ASEAN) Economic Community further hastens trans-boundary investments.

“This could set an excellent platform and process helping to increase cooperation and dialogue among different stakeholders in social and environmental safeguards,” said Dr. Mai Thanh Dung, Deputy Director of Vietnam Environment Administration, Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MoNRE).

CSO and government representatives agreed to establish the working group at the event “Impact Assessment and the ASEAN Economic Community: A Way Forward for Regional Collaboration,” held in Hanoi May 12-13. The workshop was convened by United States Agency for International Development (USAID)-supported Mekong Partnership for the Environment (MPE), in collaboration with Vietnam’s MoNRE and Asian Environmental Compliance and Enforcement Network (AECEN).

EIA RTWG formation May 15

Regional EIA experts discuss formation of working group. Photo credit: AECEN

 

Participants and organizers have collaborated since December 2014 to advance regional EIA work. The establishment of the working group furthers these efforts, toward what participants envision as a regional public participation guideline for EIA to be adopted throughout the region. The guideline is expected to include clear procedures and mechanisms for public participation in development project planning.

“Infrastructure investment decisions in this region are often made without the input of many of the most affected stakeholders,” said USAID Vietnam Mission Director Joakim Parker. “Public participation protocols in EIA processes can help address this trend.”

Over 50 representatives from EIA departments and related ministries, CSOs, and academia from Burma, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam participated in the workshop. The group agreed on an action plan to map their way forward, and will kick off their work by drafting regional guidelines on public participation.

“It is timely to be participating in this regional workshop, along with representatives from Lao PDR’s Department of Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (DESIA) to ensure that our work in Lao PDR is aligned with the regional initiative,” said Dr. Margaret Jones Williams, Environmental Unit Manager, United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in Laos. “Through the Poverty Environment Initiative (we are) supporting Lao PDR in reviewing EIA Guidelines including the public involvement component.”

This is the first formal process teaming regional government and civil society representatives to improve EIAs as a way to address the trans-boundary impacts of investments and development in the Mekong region – and at the ASEAN level.

There is growing awareness in the region that EIA is an important tool. The working group provides an opportunity for practical experience-sharing across the region to inform EIA reforms happening in the region, such as in Burma and Cambodia where they are currently developing new EIA policies.

The group’s Terms of Reference will be distributed widely together with the membership criteria for government and non-government representatives. Selection of RTWG members is occurring July 2015 and will be based on nominees from government agencies and applications from NGOs received by MPE, following a process outlined by attending government and non-government representatives at the Hanoi workshop.

The kickoff Regional Technical Working Group on EIA meeting is set for September in Thailand.


Press coverage:

Mekong nations set up group for environmental impact assessments –The Nation 
Government officials and civil society representatives from across the Mekong region have agreed to establish a working group to develop a regional public participation guideline for Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA). The Mekong Regional Technical Working Group for EIA brings together governments, civil society organizations (CSOs), and will expand to cover private sector and EIA experts to improve regional cooperation for effective EIA policy and practices

Prachatai

The Cambodia Herald

 

 

MPE PRESS RELEASE 002

Civil society and private sector work toward profitable, responsible investment

25.03.2015 – Phnom Penh, Cambodia

In March, regional businesses, financial institutions and civil society organizations from across the Mekong region met to strategize about increasing the use of responsible investment strategies, which reduce risk, save money and improve their reputations.

Over 40 representatives from the private sector and civil society in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam participated in the “Business Case for Integrating Environmental, Social and Governance Factors in Investments” workshop in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, on March 24 and 25. Participants learned about the emerging trends and alternatives in sustainable investment and shared strategies on how they can apply environmental and social risk management.

“It is important to integrate social and environmental considerations into investment projects and engage with diverse stakeholders and communities,” said USAID Cambodia Mission Director Rebecca Black. “This is important not because it not only makes good sense for development, but also makes good sense for business.”

The workshop was co-organized by the USAID-supported projects Mekong Partnership for the Environment (MPE) and the Private Financing Advisory Network (PFAN-Asia).

The event included networking opportunities with industry leaders to share experiences in integrating environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors into their core business strategies.

“If companies comply with ESG principles, it will help to protect both companies and communities from negative environmental impacts and unnecessary losses.” said Herbert Jaeger, Vice President of the German Investment and Development Company. “It will also help companies to establish stable relationships with customers and communities.”

The workshop also brought together private sector and civil society representatives to discuss ways to reduce the environmental and social risks of investment projects and ensure sustainable investment.

“All key stakeholders – private sector, government and communities – play important contributing roles to ensure a sustainable environment,” said Mam Sambath, Executive Director of the civil society group Development and Partnership in Action, Cambodia. “To include ESG in investment is very important and we will all need to work together.”

The event is part of MPE’s efforts to enhance responsible investment in the Mekong region. MPE – which is implemented by international NGO Pact – is facilitating regional working groups of business, civil society and government leaders to promote best practices and policies for effective impact assessment in the region.

USAID PFAN-Asia is a five-year regional program implemented by Deloitte Consulting LLP. The program aims to mobilize $1 billion of investment in renewable energy generation projects, energy efficiency programs and clean transportation projects to avoid or reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

 

 

MPE PRESS RELEASE 001

Government and civil society support strong Environmental Impact Assessments

03.12.2014 – Bangkok, Thailand

Government and civil society representatives highlighted the need for strong and inclusive environmental impact assessment (EIA) policies and practices in the Mekong region at a meeting this week in Bangkok, Thailand.

Organized by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) -supported Mekong Partnership for the Environment (MPE) project and the Asian Environmental Compliance and Enforcement Network (AECEN), the December 1-3 event, “Environmental Impact Assessment Policy and Practice in the Mekong Region: Safeguarding Sustainable Development,” brought together more than 50 government and civil society representatives from across the region. Participants discussed ways in which EIAs can better protect communities and the environment from harm due to poorly planned projects.

“The pace of development in the Mekong region is remarkably fast,” said MPE Director Christy Owen. “It’s crucial for all parties – governments, citizen groups, the private sector – to come together for the sake of communities and the environment.”

Representatives from governments and civil society organizations from Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam agreed that public participation in the EIA process is critical for large-scale development projects such as hydro-power dams, mines, ports and industrial zones. Civil society participation is a best practice around the world. For example, consulting civil society is a core and required part of the U.S. government’s EIA process that results in better projects.

“If we involve affected communities, we can help avoid conflicts,” said Nop Virak of Vishnu Law Group, a civil society organization working with the Cambodian government on their new EIA law. “Whoever is doing the EIA needs to go speak to the communities. It’s impossible to do everything from our desks.”

An official from the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) also participated in the event. The EPA urged participants to continue to improve laws and practices, and offered to share best practices and lessons learnt from U.S. development experiences.

“EIA processes have incredible potential for identifying and resolving issues,” said EPA official Davis Jones. “The more you can involve stakehold­ers early and throughout, the better the project.”

MPE aims to build off of the event’s momentum by facilitating further dialog toward a shared action plan for promoting a regional EIA standard and responsible business and investment practices.

Throughout the Mekong region, there is a wave of reform efforts related to EIA policy, including a new draft EIA law in Cambodia and a Vietnamese environmental protection law set to take effect in early 2015. These reforms, along with the launch of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) next year, are revealing new opportunities to improve EIA policy and practice and address the increasingly regional impacts of investments.

“We’re entering AEC soon. All our countries have our own legislation, but in practice, we each have challenges,” said Indhira Euamonlachat, a participant from the Thai Office of Natural Resources and Environmental Policy and Planning (ONEP). “This (EIA) event is a good chance to look for cooperation between governments – and also civil society.”

Mekong Partnership for the Environment is a four-year, USAID-funded project implemented by the non-governmental organization Pact. MPE supports constructive engagement among governments, business and civil society to promote socially and environmentally responsible development in the Mekong region.

Press Release – MPE EIA Dec 1-3 Bangkok


Press coverage:

Government and civil society support strong Environmental Impact Assessments – Transborder News
Mekong Partnership for the Environment gathers regional experts to discuss public participation in EIAs

MPE Newsletter

Learn more about Mekong Partnership for the Environment through our quarterly update newsletter.

For more info, please contact: infompe@pactworld.org

 

MPE Update Newsletter -March 2017

Contents include:

  • Guidelines on Public Participation in EIA in the Mekong Region now available
  • Mekong EIA “Dream Team” Reaches the Final Mile
  • Changing the Conversation around Development Projects: Over 2000 Comments Received on Regional Public Participation Guidelines
  • Protect the Mekong: USAID’s Frontlines Features the Mekong Matters Journalism Network
  • U.S. Embassy in Burma Recognizes Women Environmental Leaders in Myanmar
  • Multi-Stakeholder Dialogues Matter: A Case Study On an Extractive Gold Mining Site in Ratanakiri Province, Cambodia
  • Communities’ new tool for participation: manual on Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) in the Mekong Region
  • New Cambodian and Myanmar Journalism Networks Call on Editors and Decision Makers to Support Environmental Reporting
  • Launch of Open Data Portal Brings Environment and Development Data to Myanmar
  • Environmental Protection by the Numbers: Vietnamese Journalists Learn to Use Data to Tell Stories

 

MPE Update Newsletter -November 2016

Contents include:

  • Regional Guidelines for Public Participation in EIA launched for public comment
  • Supporting Cambodian banks to agree to sustainability principles
  • Regional Civil Society partners joining forces to promote Public Participation in development
  • Our Mekong Matters network of journalists investigating Mekong River projects
  • Regional NGOs Convene in Myanmar to Improve Community Involvement in Infrastructure Decisions
  • Celebrating the 100th Edition of MPE Mekong News Digest: Equipping the Region’s Experts with Information
  • Civil Society Leaders Meet with Cambodian PM, Receive Support for Ongoing Dialogues
  • Local partners engaging governments and businesses
  • Many new resources and stories launched by MPE or with MPE support

 

MPE Update Newsletter -July 2016

Contents include:

  • Mekong governments and Civil Society Organizations advance development of Regional Guidelines for Public Participation in EIA
  • Launching the research report on Women Engagement in EIA, a Key to Meaningful Public Participation by MPE’s partner CECR
  • Regional Civil Society partners joining forces to promote Public Participation in development
  • Our Mekong Matters network of journalists investigating Mekong River projects
  • Local partners engaging in policy discussions and running community EIA trainings
  • Many new resources and stories launched by MPE or with MPE support

 

MPE Update Newsletter -May 2016

Contents include:

  • Consultations with regional businesses on how to improve public participation in infrastructure development
  • Regional Technical Working Group on Environmental Impact Assessments progress on crafting draft public participation guidelines
  • Launching Internews’ news portal The Mekong Eye
  • Strategic communications planning with regional civil society organisations (CSOs)
  • Supporting a major new renewable energy report in Cambodia
  • Many new resources and stories launched by MPE or with MPE support

 

MPE Update Newsletter -February 2016

Contents include:

  • Mekong Government and Civil Society Endorse Action Plan to Help Reduce Negative Impacts of Infrastructure Projects
  • “Mekong Citizen” Website Give Voices to Citizen Across the Region
  • Partners at Work Through MPE Grants
  • Vishnu Law Group to Strengthen Public Participation in EIA
  • EarthRights to Develop Practitioner’s Manual on Mekong EIA laws
  • Informing Mekong Development Experts and the Public
  • Partnership in Action: Regional Governments and Civil Society Journey Toward Improving Public Participation
  • Upcoming Events and Opportunities: Working with MPE

 

MPE Update Newsletter -November 2015

Contents include:

  • MPE Symposium convenes over 170 regional experts to advance partnerships for sustainable investment
  • Journalist investigate impacts of development on the Mekong Delta at Mekong Matters Workshop
  • Mekong EIA Briefing examines EIA policies across the region
  • MPE workshop series helps CSOs communicate strategically
  • Partners at work through MPE grants
  • Informing Mekong development experts and the public
  • Mekong governments and civil society kick-off public participation talks
  • Mekong Matters Journalists at Work

 

MPE Update Newsletter – July 2015

Contents include:

  • Mekong Journalists Explore Costs and Benefits of Hydropower Dams
  • MPE has Two New Partners
  • MPE Connects Civil Society and Techies to Solve Development Problems at Mekong ICT Camp
  • EWMI Launches Innovative Mekong Data and Mapping Site
  • Informing Mekong Development Experts and the Public
  • Mekong Governments, Civil Society Reach Agreement on Environmental Impact Assessment Agenda
  • Upcoming Events and Opportunities: Working with MPE
  • MPE in the Media

 

MPE Update Newsletter – April 2015

Contents include:

  • Civil society and private sector work toward profitable, responsible investment
  • MPE Grants Program has three new partners
  • Tech pros to help solve data issues for better regional development
  • EWMI to launch innovative Mekong data and mapping site
  • Delivering news to Mekong development experts and the public
  • Cambodia showcases ground-breaking draft EIA law to regional observers
  • Upcoming Events and Opportunities: Working with MPE
  • MPE in the Media

 

MPE Update Newsletter – December 2014

Contents include:

  • MPE ready for busy year of new partnerships, participation, and platforms
  • EIA champions connect to advance EIA work and establish EIA “Community of Practice”
  • MPE supports public consultations on new draft law on Environmental Impact Assessment in Cambodia
  • MPE launches local grants program
  • Working with banks to promote responsible Investment in the Mekong
  • MPE Mekong News Digest launched
  • Village Voices: Journalists give voice to community at risk if dam project moves forward
  • Network solutions: Mekong journalists discover the power of working together
  • MPE in the Media

MPE Resources

The Guidelines on Public Participation in EIA in the Mekong Region

The Guidelines on Public Participation in EIA in the Mekong Region have been developed to address the shared concern for increasing meaningful public participation in development planning, in the context of increasing investment projects across the Mekong region. The Guidelines are intended to help stimulate more effective practices in public participation. These Guidelines are also playing an important role in informing the development of national level guidelines on public participation in EIA. This document is intended as a living resource and it is hoped that it will inspire the continued strengthening of EIA policies and practices in each country and across the region, as well as to advance greater regional collaboration and harmonization among Mekong and ASEAN nations.

Download the PDF Guidelines on Public Participation in Environmental Impact Assessment in the Mekong Region


Media Summary: Journalism supported by Mekong Partnership for the Environment

This booklet showcases stories by members of Mekong Matters Journalism Network, supported by Mekong Partnership for the Environment (MPE). MPE supports journalists to produce quality, independent work that helps decision-makers and the public understand the costs and benefits of regional development projects and related policy issues.

Download the PDF here or Final_Media Booklet_Feb2017


An Investor’s Guide to Responsible Development: An MPE Primer on Investing in the Mekong Region

Quality investment depends on everyone working together to ensure socially and environmentally responsible practices. There’s an increasing awareness among government, business and citizens that effective public participation is key to long-term prosperity. Everyone wants to reduce the risks of social or environmental harm, conflicts, delays, lawsuits and reputational damage that can occur when investment goes wrong. The evidence is clear that effective public participation is the best way to do that – particularly during the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) processes required by law in all countries in the Mekong region.

Mekong Partnership for the Environment (MPE) has been working with governments, civil society and the private sector to reduce the social and environmental impacts of large-scale development projects. MPE is supporting the development of Regional Guidelines on Public Participation in Environmental Impact Assessment, working with regional stakeholders to improve EIA and public participation policy and practices, and supporting banks to adopt clear sustainable lending practices.

Download the PDF here An Investor’s Guide to Responsible Development: An MPE Primer on Investing in the Mekong Region


CASE STUDY: Multi-Stakeholder Dialogues Matter: A New Paradigm Towards Responsible Investment. A Case Study On An Extractive Gold Mining Site In Ratanakiri Province, Cambodia

Over the past year and a half, Mekong Partnership for the Environment (MPE) partner Development and Partnership in Action (DPA) has worked to build a platform for effective multi-stakeholder engagement on the impacts of mining activities in Cambodia’s Ratanakiri Province. DPA has worked to educate and empower community members to voice their concerns and provide input on mining activities, and has also facilitated productive and collaborative meetings between the mining companies, community members and local government. With DPA’s support, these stakeholders have established an increasingly trusting and transparent working relationship.


FINAL REPORT: Assessing Women’s Engagement in Environmental Impact Assessments on Infrastructure Projects in Vietnam: Recommendations for Policy and Public Participation in EIA

Research from two study sites shows that the potential benefits of women’s participation in EIA deliberations lie in their knowledge of environment and livelihood resources, and how these are being affected by infrastructure development. If women’s voices had been adequately heard and sufficiently allowed to influence decision making, resettlement plans might have been re-configured to prevent and reduce livelihood losses and threats to natural resources such as air and water quality. The report also includes recommendations for improving women’s participation in EIA policy and practice.

Download the PDF here FINAL REPORT: Assessing Women’s Engagement in Environmental Impact Assessments on Infrastructure Projects in Vietnam: Recommendations for Policy and Public Participation in EIA


Switching On: ​ Cambodia’s Path to Sustainable Energy Security -Mekong Strategic Partners

This report presents the main findings from an analysis commissioned by Cambodia’s National Council for Sustainable Development (NCSD) with funding and support from PACT from USAID. The report investigates the potential for Cambodia to diversify its power supply technology mix, for greater energy security and sustainability benefits. To date almost all Cambodian investment in the power sector has focused on large scale hydropower and coal-fired generation. A dramatic reduction in the cost of renewables means Cambodia should pursue energy security, access, reliability and affordability goals, at least in part, through increased investment in (non-large hydropower) renewable energy.


A Political Economy of Environmental Impact Assessment in the Mekong Region  -Journal article from Water Alternatives, February 2016

Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is an issue of concern to governments, organized civil society groups, as well as business actors in the Mekong region. Through a political economy approach, we seek to understand the interests and incentives among key stakeholders in each of the five Mekong region countries and propose ways that EIA processes can potentially be improved, with reference to hydropower and other infrastructure and development projects. The analysis is based on a collaborative research process carried out under the auspices of the USAID -funded Mekong Partnership for the Environment project that aims to advance regional cooperation on environmental governance. We find that at present, EIA implementation is limited by numerous political economy constraints, some general across the Mekong region, others specific to one or more country contexts. Certain of these constraints can be addressed through a regional cooperative approach, while others will require longer term changes in social and political dynamics to encourage uptake and impact and avoid possible blockage from entrenched interest groups.

Download the PDF here


Report Recommends Actions to Increase Cambodia’s Renewable Energy Use

The Cambodian National Council for Sustainable Development (NCSD), in collaboration with Mekong Partnership for the Environment and its partners, launched a report today that highlights Cambodia’s need to set a formal target for renewable energy generation for sustainable and secure economic growth. The independent report entitled “Switching On: Cambodia’s Path to Sustainable Energy Security,” supported by the USAID-funded Mekong Partnership for the Environment (MPE) project, recommends that the Cambodian government clarify laws on renewables – such as rooftop solar power – to supply electricity.

Download the PDF here


 

MPE Symposium Report – MPE convenes over 170 regional experts to advance partnerships for sustainable investment

Mekong Partnership for the Environment and partners held their regional symposium on Shared Solutions: Safeguarding Sustainable Development in the Mekong Region August 25-17, 2015 in Bangkok, Thailand. The participants in the symposium represented governments, academia, civil society and the private sector and other stakeholders in social and environmental safeguards, including development banks and regional organizations.

Download the PDF here.


Mekong EIA Briefing examines EIA policies across the region

MPE has released a comprehensive new report “Mekong EIA Briefing: Environmental Impact Assessment Comparative Analysis in Lower Mekong Countries.” This report provides a comparative analysis of EIA laws, policies, regulations, and guidelines in the Lower Mekong countries of Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam. The aim is 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 development and infrastructure projects.

Download the PDF here.


Prospects for Regional Cooperation on Environmental Impact Assessment in the Mekong Region: Summary Recommendations and Findings

Pact inquired with ministries and other actors about the prospects for more effective EIA policy and practice and the role of multi-stakeholder cooperation at the regional level to improve EIAs in the five Lower Mekong countries (Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam). A team of country experts analyzed the relationships and interests involved in improving the state of EIA. Pact’s analysis indicates that there is strong support among government and non-governmental stakeholders alike for reform of national EIA pro-cedures, increased public participation, and development of a regional EIA standard. This four-page report summarizes findings.

Download the PDF here

MPE Contact

MPE is based out of the Pact Thailand office in Bangkok.

Unit 6, 28th Floor, CRC Tower, All Seasons Place

87/2 Wireless Road, Pathumwan, Bangkok, 10330, Thailand

 

Key staff include:

  • Chief of Party, Christy Owen (Pact)
  • Deputy Chief of Party: Barry Flaming (Pact)
  • Governance and Institutional Development Advisor: Vong Sok (Pact)
  • Civil Society Capacity Development Advisor: Guada Lagrada (Pact)
  • Media and Communications Director: Adam Hunt (Internews)
  • Program Officers based at Pact offices in Cambodia, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam

Please contact us if you have questions or feedback. You can reach us at infompe@pactworld.org

RTWG on EIA

REGIONAL TECHNICAL WORKING GROUP (RTWG) ON ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT ASSESSMENT (EIA)

 

RTWG logo

For RTWG members only: VISIT OUR MEKONG CITIZEN GROUP for resources and discussion.

 

Background: Regional Cooperation and EIA

The emerging ASEAN Economic Community is building a single regional market and competitive production base, promoting equitable economic development, and further integrating its ten member states into the global economy. ASEAN aims to simplify and harmonize trade and customs processes to facilitate trade and investment across the region’s borders. Investments in regional infrastructure projects such as hydropower dams, transportation corridors, extractive industries, and economic zones are increasing. But without effective Social and Environmental Safeguards, these investments are likely to contribute to accelerated deterioration of the region’s environment, loss of livelihoods, and other unintended consequences

Environmental Impact Assessment is a widely-applied tool used to address social and environmental impacts of development projects. While it is implemented in all lower Mekong countries – Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam – a number of weaknesses impede its effectiveness, particularly in relation to meaningful public participation. These gaps may result in poor projects with adverse impacts, project delays, and conflicts with communities, all leading to costs and risks for investors and governments. They also risk undermining the region’s long-term sustainability. A wave of EIA reforms is underway across the region and a trend of common interest among governments, civil society, and business. Improving EIA policy and practice can help address the increasingly regional dimensions of large-scale investments, mitigate their social and environmental impacts, and reduce risk and uncertainty to investors.

 

                      Group photo of the RTWG on EIA members at the 3rd meeting of the group in Siem Reap, Cambodia, Photo: AECEN

 

Response of the Regional Technical Working Group on EIA

The RTWG on EIA provides a model platform for regional collaboration to strengthen the policy and practice of EIA and to enhance cooperation for inclusive and sustainable development of the region. Comprised of a diverse group of 25 non-government/civil society and government representatives (i.e. from government EIA departments and economic/planning ministries) from across the five lower Mekong countries, the RTWG has the following objectives:

  • Develop Regional Guidelines for effective Public Participation in EIA;
  • Promote information sharing on best practices in EIA; and
  • Promote the mainstreaming of the Regional Guidelines and best practices of Public Participation in EIA processes in the Mekong countries and ASEAN.

 

Progress

The first edition of the Guidelines on Public Participation in EIA in the Mekong Region is now available for investors, governments and communities, as of April 2017.

After six national public consultations on the guidelines, numerous local consultations and an online feedback platform, over 2000 comments were compiled and synthesized by the RTWG Secretariat and considered by the RTWG on EIA members. The public consultation process included several steps:

  • A draft of the Regional Guidelines for Public Participation in EIA was completed and translated into Burmese, Khmer, Lao, Thai, and Vietnamese.
  • It was open for public comment online.
  • Public consultations were conducted in October 2016 to introduce the draft guidelines and solicit inputs and feedback from interested stakeholders including private sector companies, NGOs, government agencies, academic institutes, and development partners. Several community consultations were also held at local levels. National consultation events included:

October 5            Hanoi, Viet Nam

October 7            Ho Chi Minh City, Viet Nam

October 12          Vientiane, Lao PDR

October 14          Yangon, Myanmar

October 19          Bangkok, Thailand

October 28          Phnom Penh, Cambodia

 

The RTWG on EIA is supported by The Mekong Partnership for the Environment, led by Pact and funded by USAID, supports responsible development by facilitating networking and dialogue among government, business and civil society.

The Asian Environmental Compliance and Enforcement Network (AECEN) is a network of environmental agencies from across Asia who exchange best practices to promote improved environmental compliance.

 

For inquiries please contact:

Mekong Partnership for the Environment

Pact Thailand

+66 2 254 7066-8

www.pactworld.org/mpe

infompe@pactworld.org

 

Click here for more information on Mekong Partnership for the Environment

 

Download the RTWG 1-Pager (PDF)

 

MPE

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OXFAM

Inclusion-front page

In the Mekong region there is growing concern that the development of large-scale hydropower dams on the network of rivers is unsustainable and inequitable – quick benefits accrue to cities and industry, whilst the long term negative impacts affect poor, rural communities and the environment on which they depend. Livelihoods are being lost.

Oxfam has worked with rural farming and fishing communities in the Mekong region for decades. The Inclusion Project builds on this experience to assist communities to understand hydropower projects’ plans and have a voice in decisions on how water, their land and resources are managed.

The Inclusion Project works with affected and interested civil society groups and communities in the Mekong region to strengthen local management of fishery resources, promote women’s leadership, and increase participation in decision making of how water resources are managed.

In the Mekong Region, the Inclusion Project works on the Salween, Irrawaddy, and Mekong basins.

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WLE

The CGIAR Research Program on Water, Land, and Ecosystems manages Mekong Citizen.

The waters of the Greater Mekong are a critical regional resource that provide multitude resources and services to its people. These resources are being developed at a significant rate. Balancing water, food, environmental and energy related costs and benefits are essential for sustained growth in the region.

The CGIAR Consortium Research Program on Water, Land and Ecosystems (WLE) is a research-for-development (R4D) initiative that sets out to address this significant challenge. In the Mekong, WLE seeks to improve the governance and management of water resources in the Greater Mekong Region by generating and sharing the knowledge and practice needed to do so.

In the Mekong Region, the WLE works in the Salween, Irrawaddy, Mekong and Red River basins.

 

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FAQs

Mekong Citizen is an online platform for people and organizations to share multimedia stories about the environment, livelihoods and development in the Greater Mekong Region.

To create an account:
Click on the "Sign in/Sign up" button and follow the steps there to create an account.

To submit a story:
Click on "Submit a Story" in the menu and follow the steps there.

To follow the stories of Mekong Citizen:
Like and subscribe to Mekong Citizen at facebook.com/mekongcitizen/ (click on facebook in the menu)

The Greater Mekong Region is the natural area defined by the Mekong River. It includes the countries of Cambodia, PR China (particularly Yunnan Province), Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand, and Viet Nam.

However, despite this definition, the Mekong River itself is only one focus of this initiative. All natural resources and areas in the region are topics for this initiative, as well as related social and economic issues.

Multimedia stories are ones which do not revolve solely around text. Multimedia is the focus of Mekong Citizen in hopes of attractive content that is nontechnical, educational, and engaging.

Different forms of multimedia include:
VIDEOS (examples: films, short clips, documentaries, skits, interviews)
PHOTOGRAPHY (examples: photo galleries, photo stories, photo essays)
SOUND (examples: podcasts, recordings, radio shows, songs/raps)
ILLUSTRATION (examples: comic strips, animation, illustrated stories)
INTERACTIVE INFORMATION (examples: GIFs, infographics, maps/charts, new media)

Mekong Citizen is managed by the CGIAR Consortium's Research Program on Water, Land and Ecosystems, which is partially funded by the Australian Government. Mekong Citizen is partnered with the Mekong Partnership for the Environment, an initiative of USAID which is managed by PACT World, and Oxfam's Mekong Inclusion Project.

Partners

Mekong Citizen is a partner initiative, bringing together innovative thinking from throughout the Greater Mekong.

Contact

Get in touch with Mekong Citizen.

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