Mekong nations set up group for environmental impact assessments
May 15 2015
BANGKOK (The Nation/ANN) -- 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) this week in Hanoi, Vietnam. In a statement released Thursday, the Mekong Regional Technical Working Group for EIA brings together governments, civil society organisations (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...
Mekong Governments, Civil Society Reach Agreement on Environmental Impact Assessment Agenda
May 14 2015
HANOI, May 14, 2015 – In a ground-breaking agreement, government officials and civil society representatives from across the Mekong region established a working group to develop a regional public participation guideline for Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) this week in Hanoi, Vietnam. 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. The group aims to reduce the social and environmental impacts...
Mekong nations to set up EIA working group
May 14 2015
In the statement released today, the Mekong Regional Technical Working Group for EIA brings together governments, civil society organisations (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 infrastructure 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...
Mapping the global battle to protect our planet
Mar 5 2015
In 2012 protests erupted in Banja Luka, Bosnia and Herzegovina over the demolition of a much beloved local park to build a business complex. A movement under the slogan “This Park is Ours” aimed originally at protecting the green space soon broadened into a collective movement aimed against corruption, lack of transparency, economic inequality and dwindling social services. Hundreds of protesters from all social classes and religions gathered daily in the endangered park, becoming part of a Bosnian spring that came to represent a struggle for human dignity and accountability under most...
Government and civil society support strong Environmental Impact Assessments
Dec 4 2014
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...
AECEN urges ADB to adopt south-south cooperation as preferred capacity building mode
Oct 14 2014
Manila, Philippines – Adopt south-south cooperation as the preferred mode for capacity building and support organizations like the Asian Environmental Compliance and Enforcement Network (AECEN) to act as intermediaries, said Dr. Peter King, Head of the AECEN Secretariat, to the Asian Development Bank (ADB). Speaking to public and private sector officials and representatives from international financial institutions and civil society at an ADB workshop held last week, he highlighted how AECEN has strengthened government capacities on compliance and enforcement, using South-South cooperation (...
Stronger leadership and more stringent legal enforcement cited as ways to improve Thailand’s environmental governance
Oct 14 2014
Bangkok, Thailand – Stronger leadership in Thailand’s environmental administration and more stringent enforcement of green regulations are among recommendations to improving the country’s environmental governance. Addressing officials from Thailand’s Ministry of National Resources and Environment’s (MoNRE) Department of Environmental Quality Promotion (DEQP), Dr. Peter King, Head of the Asian Environmental Compliance and Enforcement Network (AECEN) Secretariat shared ways to improve Thailand’s environmental governance in his keynote address “Good Governance for Better Environment.” In his...
AECEN Strengthens EIA Compliance in Asia: INECE
Apr 25 2014
Minimizing adverse environmental impacts of economic development accompanied by rapid urbanization and industrial growth remains a significant compliance and enforcement challenge for Asia. While many governments have developed legal and institutional frameworks for environmental and social safeguards, implementation and enforcement of environmental laws and regulations remains weak due in large part to technical, financial, and human capacity limitations. In the region, effective compliance with Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) requirements has been consistently identified as a priority...
Greening Governance in Asia-Pacific
Aug 6 2012
Once every two years, IGES releases a white paper focusing on key policy agendas in the Asia-Pacific region. The Fourth IGES White Paper, entitled "Greening Governance in Asia-Pacific" examines innovative approaches to governance and institutions that have emerged from the region and recommends governance arrangements and policy solutions to accelerate the transition to a green economy, and argues that, without significant governance reform in Asia-Pacific, global sustainable development will remain an under-implemented ideal rather than a new reality. For the paper and more information: http...
AECEN support Indonesia efforts to prepare new guidelines on public participation and the environment
Jul 20 2012
On July 10-11, 2012, the Indonesia Ministry of Environment (MOE) conducted a workshop on Strengthening Public Participation on Environmental Management in Indonesia. Co-organized with the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA), about 100 participants from government agencies, NGOs, academia and the private sector shared ideas on the Public Participation Guide developed by USEPA and the application of public participation principles in the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) process. In addition to technical input from USEPA, resource persons from Malaysia, Thailand and the...
Post-consumer liability – Superior Court of Justice's unprecedented decision
May 25 2015
Unbridled global consumption of manufactured products has generated significant waste and created major problems related to environmentally appropriate disposal and post-consumer waste management.
In light of this, on August 18 2014 the Superior Court of Justice recognised the post-consumer liability of potentially polluting product manufacturers for the first time.(1) The decision dealt with a class action for environmental damages caused by the environmentally inappropriate disposal of polyethylene terephthalate bottles used for packaging soft drinks.
According to the court, manufacturers must collect packaging that has been abandoned by...
PH police among Asia's best in enforcing environmental laws
May 24 2015
MANILA, Philippines – The Maritime Group of the Philippine National Police (PNP-MG) received recognition, along with 7 other organizations, during the first Asian Environmental Enforcement Award (AEEA) in Bangkok, Thailand, recently.
The award-giving body on May 20 recognized the PNP-MG for the more than 1,500 operations it conducted against violators of fisheries and wildlife laws. These operations led to the seizure of endangered species, 3,000 arrests, and the collection of fines amounting to more than $300,000.
In addition, two Filipino officers were among the 5 police officers individually recognized for their efforts in ensuring the welfare of the environment....
NGO calls for transparency in meeting environmental goals
May 23 2015
PETALING JAYA: Dirty rivers, black smoke and rubbish strewn everywhere. It is always the “same old, same old” every year.
While many plans have been drawn up for the environment and conservation, lack of enforcement has always been the problem.
Malaysian Nature Society national council member Vincent Chow said the only way forward was for the authorities to be transparent.
“Release quarterly reports and tell us truthfully where we stand. Statistics show that we have brought down the emission of greenhouse gases but do we actually see this?” he asked.
Chow said what was seen were lorries and factories spewing black smoke, rivers polluted with waste and rubbish...
Foreign firms in China pouring millions into meeting tougher pollution regulations
May 22 2015
Apple Inc is planting trees, Mars may move to ‘zero carbon’ and Foxconn Technology Co Ltd is spending millions of dollars to give its factories a ‘green’ makeover, as companies operating in China face tighter rules on pollution.
Beijing introduced tougher regulations this year to combat pollution, keen to overhaul China’s unwanted image of smog-choked cities, fouled waterways and heavy-metal tainted soil.
This won’t come cheap; the country’s central bank estimates the nation will need to spend 2 trillion yuan (HK$2.5 trillion) a year over the next five years on reducing pollution and government coffers will only cover about a tenth of that, leaving local and international...
Pinoy environmental crime fighters get UN award
May 21 2015
BANGKOK - The United Nations Environment Program on Wednesday awarded 13 individuals and organizations for their remarkable contributions to tackling illegal trade in wildlife, chemicals and waste in the Asia-Pacific region.
The Asia Environmental Enforcement Award recipients -- from the Philippines, China, Thailand, Cambodia, India, Vietnam and Tonga -- were recognized at a ceremony for their efforts in confiscating tens of millions of dollars worth of contraband and seizing hundreds of thousands of tons of hazardous waste, wildlife products and timber.
"Environmental crime undermines sustainable development. It is not only a threat to species, to habitats and to...
Malaysia ranked near bottom of the class by environmental democracy watchdog
May 21 2015
PETALING JAYA: Malaysia has been ranked poorly in terms of environmental democratic rights, coming in 69th of 70 countries surveyed worldwide.
Scoring an overall 0.58 out of three points on the US-based World Resources Institute's Environmental Democracy Index, narrowly beating Haiti.
Lithuania scored highest worldwide, with an overall score of 2.42, followed by Latvia at 2.31 and Russia at 2.25. The global average score is 1.42.
In Southeast Asia, Indonesia came out tops with a score of 1.8, followed by Thailand at 1.38 and the Philippines at 1.35.
There was no score given for Singapore and Brunei.
The index tracks a country's progress in coming up...
Ma Jun: China has reached its environmental tipping point
May 19 2015
It was almost 20 years ago that Ma Jun sat and watched the rainbow-coloured River Fen, in Shanxi province. As he turned to the skies in this coal and industrial heartland of north China he could see dozens of chimneys bellowing out their fumes.
He had been sent to the province on an assignment while working as a researcher for a foreign journalist in the late 1990s. The story then was about family planning and its impact on local communities, but it was the devastating pollution he witnessed that filled up his notepad.
It was these notes that would later form the basis of his first book, China’s Water Crisis, which quickly came to signify the awakening of China’s...
Society: Enforcement against illegal logging weak
May 18 2015
KUCHING: Until the authorities embarked on the sudden sweep against illegal loggers last week, enforcement has been weak and wanting for the past 10 years, says the Wildlife Conservation Society.
WCS Malaysia director Dr Melvin Gumal said the problem appeared to be less severe in the 1980s.
“Perhaps greed was less prevalent and organised then. I don't know what happened from then until recently.
“Obviously enforcement declined to the extent that there is now a major damage,” he said commenting on the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission's (MACC) Ops Gergaji, which began Tuesday.
To date, authorities have frozen some RM700mil in bank accounts in Sarawak...
Enforcenment of Environmental Laws Crucial for Sustainable Development
May 17 2015
Sunday, May 17, 2015 - Islamabad—Frantic human activities in this rapidly changing world not only harm environment but also pose a serious risk to public health, threaten biodiversity and deplete natural resources, therefore, it is incumbent upon our district judiciary to enforce Environmental law to save the human life and environment.
Judge Islamabad High Court, Mr. Justice Athar Minallah, expressed these views in the certificate awarding ceremony at the conclusion of a one-week training course on New Laws For Senior Civil Judges from all over Pakistan, Azad Jammu and Kashmir here in the Federal Judicial Academy, on Saturday.
He said, Neat and clean environment is one of...
Hong Kong Steps Up Plastic Bag Enforcement For Retailers
May 16 2015
Hong Kong's Environmental Protection Department says starting from May 1, it has stopped giving verbal warnings to retailers who do not comply with the legal requirements of plastic shopping bag charging.
The EPD says retail outlets must fully comply with the legal requirements of plastic shopping bag charging. Starting from May 1, immediate enforcement action will be taken should any contraventions be found. Retailers contravening the requirements are liable to a fixed penalty of HKD2,000 or even prosecution proceedings.
Under the Product Eco-responsibility (Amendment) Ordinance 2014, which became effective on April 1, 2015, all retailers in Hong Kong, irrespective of size...
Locals shun panel on Pak Bara port project
May 25 2015
SATUN: Activists from Satun are refusing to join a government panel which they say is intent on spinning a positive image of the Pak Bara deep-sea port megaproject. The Transport Ministry's Marine Department set up the panel in January to promote a positive image of the port within six months, after locals raised complaints. The ministry called the first meeting for last Friday at the Satun provincial office, but residents refused to join, saying they fear a whitewash. They are urging the government to disband the panel, and share more details about the plans or risk further conflict. Chaired...
Public urged to give feedback on MRT2 project
May 25 2015
KUALA LUMPUR: Feedback on the Mass Rapid Transit Line 2 connecting Sg Buloh-Serdang and Putrajaya (SSP Line) is now open to public. The public is encouraged to give views on the effects and benefits of the rail network in terms of social, economic and raise any potential concerns of traffic and noise. The public display on the Detailed Environmental Impact Assessment which started on April 20 will end on May 19 and is available at 27 locations such as at the Public Land Transport Commission, MRT office, Department of Environment HQ, National Library or it can be downloaded from DOE and MRT...
Sepa approval of KPT’s coal handling operation fails to address public concerns
May 25 2015
KARACHI: The Sindh Environmental Protection Agency’s (Sepa) recent approval of two separate Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) reports on the coal terminal being operated by the Karachi Port Trust (KPT) fails to take into account serious concerns over the damage it has already caused to public health and environment, it emerged on Sunday. Though environmental laws call for an EIA to be carried out at the planning stage of a project, the EIAs in this case have been conducted after 12 years of coal handling operation at the port and that too on court orders. One of the EIA was submitted by the...
Covered with hyacinth, Gadhi river shrinks near Vichumbe
May 24 2015
Navi Mumbai: Already shrunk in size in summer, a constriction, due to accumulated earth and other garbage, is slowing down Gadhi river's natural flow near Vichumbe in Panvel. This has led to partial stagnation of the river that is now covered with a layer of green fungus and hyacinths. Although Cidco has floated tenders for diversion of local rivers in order to construct the Navi Mumbai International Airport after taking the requisite permissions, the condition of Gadhi river is currently not good. "We have floated tenders for the river diversions and also for the flattening of a hillock in...
Group might raise Toledo recla project to SC
May 24 2015
OCEANA, an international group that aims to protect the world’s oceans, said it will go to the Supreme Court if the Toledo City Government will pursue the 11-hectare reclamation project, which it thinks will destroy the ecosystem, in Barangay Poblacion. Oceana campaign officer Danilo Campo recalled that they supported environmentalist lawyers in filing cases before the Supreme Court against Japex for doing oil exploration in Tañon Strait, which is facing Toledo City. Lawyers Ben Cabrido and Gloria Ramos Estenzo won their case on behalf of the dolphins. Campo said that even after the media...
Residents: DASH concessionaire’s proposed changes to structure only cosmetic
May 23 2015
DAMANSARA Perdana residents group Say No To Dash (SNTD) will hire a lawyer in case attempts to prevent the proposed Damansara-Shah Alam Highway (Dash) from cutting through the neighbourhood goes to court. This was said during a briefing to residents and representatives of local properties’ joint-management bodies’ at Emerald Perdana. “It is not advisable for SNTD to just liaise with the Government or Prolintas, we need to go into litigation mode if need be,” said SNTD committee member Mak Khuin Weng during the briefing. Group spokesman Michelle Wong said a recent meeting between Prolintas and...
Protesters criticize MOEA on coal-fired power plants
May 23 2015
A coalition of environmental protection groups yesterday rallied outside the Construction and Planning Agency (CPA) in Taipei, demanding that the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) revise a plan to expand the nation’s petrochemical industry and expand coal-fired power plants. The protestors said that the expansions of power plants were proposed arbitrarily and without assessing potential health risks. The ministry plan includes establishing a petrochemical storage and transportation center in the Port of Kaohsiung; increasing the production capacity of coal-fired power plants in New Taipei’s...
MIC talks projects with senior monks
May 22 2015
The chair of the Myanmar Investment Commission and Minister of Energy U Zay Yar Aung, the Minister of Religious Affairs U Soe Win and director general of the Directorate of Investment and Company Administration U Aung Naing Oo, met with the committee on May 17. “Minister U Zay Yar Aung and U Aung Naing Oo explained that they wanted to ensure the Dagon City projects and other projects near Shwedagon Pagoda would not trouble the senior monks,” said U Win Kyai. “The ministers told them that the projects would not affect Shwedagon Pagoda, and that they would proceed according to the law.” Five...
Allowing Mining in ESAs Will Undermine Existing Ban: Govt
May 22 2015
KOCHI: The state government on Thursday submitted before the Kerala High Court that allowing mining in areas which were recommended as Ecologically Sensitive Areas (ESAs) would defeat the very purpose of the prohibition order. The affidavit was filed in response to a petition filed by a quarry owner in Palakkad against the action of the geologist in not allowing quarrying operations on the ground that the mining area was an ESA. Oommen V Oommen, Chairman of the Kerala State Biodiversity Board, submitted that the permits for quarrying in ESAs could not be renewed without prior environmental...
Anti-Baram dam group plans fresh protests
May 22 2015
Its chairman, Peter Kallang, said he would only disclose the nature of the protests “when the time comes”. “We knew the government would go ahead with the construction of the dam despite the promises made by Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem in London (to UK environmentalists about two weeks ago) that he would restore Sarawak's forest. “We had guarded optimism on hearing the statement and hoped that this would include not building the dam. But, deep down, we knew he would go ahead and build it,” Kallang said. The Baram dam, one of 12 large dams Sarawak plans to build to supply power...