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...
Tackling Khon Kaen's mountain of garbage
Nov 29 2015
Residents living around the 98-rai (16 hectare) dumpsite at Ban Kham Bon believe the amount of rubbish could exceed one million tonnes if waste buried beneath the ground is included.
They also lament they have been negatively affected by the foul smell from the site and polluted water leaking into rice fields and water sources, as well as by occasional fires sending off smoke.
The residents say they have protested and filed complaints about these issues many times over the years.
Despite the municipality's efforts to tackle the dumpsite's impacts on people, as well as handling the amount of garbage before the site reaches maximum capacity, the level of waste coming...
Beijing to toughen car emission standards by 2017 to cut pollution
Nov 27 2015
Beijing plans to ramp up its already tough car emission standards by 2017 in a bid by one of the world's most polluted cities to improve its often hazardous air quality.
Beijing's environment protection bureau, in a document published late on Thursday, said the new standards would be the toughest in the world, and more stringent than the current standards which are equivalent of those used in Europe.
The document did not specify any enforcement measures, but said the standards would cut by as much as half emissions from light gasoline-powered vehicles and heavy diesel-fuelled vehicles.
Vehicle emissions account for 31 percent of Beijing's PM 2.5, a measure of...
'Coal plants will cause premature deaths'
Nov 21 2015
COAL PLANTS in Thailand cause an estimated 1,550 premature deaths every year, according to new research by Harvard University and Greenpeace Southeast Asia.
That number could climb to 5,300 a year if plans to expand electricity production by building new coal-fired plants go ahead, the study found.
The report, "The Human Cost of Coal", is the first of its kind and looks at illnesses and deaths associated with Thailand's coal-fired power plants. Figures are based on state-of-the-art atmospheric modelling techniques deployed by a research team at Harvard University.
A proposed "clean coal" power plant in Krabi could cause 1,800 premature deaths over an operating life...
Calls grow to delay Klong Dan payout
Nov 20 2015
Civil society groups yesterday urged the government to hold off paying 9.8 billion baht to the NVPSKG consortium until the Supreme Court finishes investigating the 19 officials involved in the graft-plagued Klong Dan wastewater-treatment plant project.
Penchome Sae-Tang, director of Ecological Alert and Recovery Thailand (Earth), yesterday said she opposed the cabinet resolution on Tuesday that approved the payout in the long-running legal dispute.
It is to be made in three payments in both baht and US dollars starting on Saturday, with a 3.2 billion baht and $21.7 million (778 million baht) transfer.
"We have high hopes the government will win the case [in the...
Punish Klong Dan cheaters
Nov 19 2015
The cabinet on Tuesday approved a budget of 9.8 billion baht to be disbursed from the Central Fund for the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment to pay the NVPSKG consortium for the construction of the Klong Dan waste water treatment project in Samut Prakan province as ordered by the Administrative Court.
The first tranche of the payment, 3.2 billion baht plus US$21.7 million (approx 780 million baht), is to be made by Saturday. The second tranche of 2.4 billion baht plus US$16.3 million is due on May 21 next year; and the third, 2.4 billion baht plus US$16.3 million, is due on Nov 21 next year.
Government spokesman Maj Gen Sansern Kaewkamnerd said Prime Minister...
Officials face Klong Dan rap
Nov 19 2015
Officials found to be involved with the scandal-hit Klong Dan waste water treatment plant in Samut Prakan will be held responsible for huge fees incurred by the government for breach of contract.
They will have to cover the nine-billion-baht penalty which the government has been ordered to pay to the contractor, said Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment permanent secretary Kasemsun Chinnavaso.
Mr Kasemsun said Wednesday that a committee has been set up to investigate officials who were involved in the corruption saga.
The team will use the Supreme Administrative Court's verdict as a guideline to find people to take responsibility for damages to the state....
Construction firm to get Bt9 bn over cancelled Klong Dan project
Nov 18 2015
While the government is required to start paying compensation to the constructor of the now-cancelled project, it also has the right to seek compensation from officials found guilty of wrongdoing in relation to the project.
"The compensation will be paid in both baht and US dollars," Government Spokesman Maj-General Sansern Kaewkamnerd said yesterday after attending the Cabinet meeting.
Sansern said the compensation had been approved in response to a request from the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry.
The first instalment of Bt3.17 |billion plus US$21.71 million (Bt780.6 million), will be paid this Saturday.
The second instalment of Bt2.38 billion...
To tackle environment crime, take action: Experts
Nov 18 2015
SINGAPORE: Tackling environmental crime is no longer about coming up with resolutions, but about taking action, said experts at the 2nd INTERPOL-United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Environmental Compliance and Enforcement Conference on Tuesday (Nov 17).
Issues like illegal wildlife trade and waste management, especially electronic waste, were high on the agenda.
In 2014, 41.8 million tonnes of e-waste was generated worldwide, and this amount is set to grow, along with developments in science and technology. By the year 2030, the amount of e-waste generated by developing countries will hit 400 to 700 million units, taking over that of developed countries at 200 to...
Cabinet OK B9.8bn 'stupidity fee' over Klong Dan plant
Nov 17 2015
The cabinet on Tuesday approved a so-called “stupidity fee” of 9.8 billion baht to the consortium contracted to build the scandal-hit Klong Dan wastewater treatment plant.
The cabinet agreed to divide the payments to the NVPSKG group from the 2016 central budget into three instalments, as suggested by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment.
The first instalment of 40% will be paid Monday while the payments of 30% each are due on May 21 and Nov 21 next year, according to government spokesman Sansern Kaewkamnerd.
The consortium agreed to waive interest charges of 1.8 million baht per day ordered by the Supreme Administrative Court, which would have raised...
Taiwan to include PM2.5 levels in air pollution controls
Nov 17 2015
Taipei, Nov. 17 (CNA) The Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) said Tuesday it will add measurements for fine particulate matter smaller than 2.5 micrometers (PM2.5) to its air pollution control standards in the wake of deteriorating air quality in Taiwan.
The inclusion of PM2.5 information, called for in amendments to the Air Pollution Control Act that have yet to pass the Legislature, is expected to help authorities better tackle air pollution as PM2.5 concentrations have reached hazardous levels recently, according to the EPA.
Under the new composite standard, there will be a 4-tier PM2.5 index in addition to existing measurements of air pollutants, including...
Penang Umno motion - PKR reps' conscience, or planned revolt?
Nov 22 2015
Umno assemblyperson for Pulau Betong Muhamad Farid Saad’s motion against land reclamation in the Penang state assembly on November 20, 2015, shamelessly ignored the previous Penang BN government’s abysmal track record of parcelling out 3,241 acres of land reclamation in contrast to the 60 acres of land reclamation approved by the present state government. Farid’s motion against land reclamation is absurd as it would include land reclamation approvals by the previous BN state government, which Farid as a member of the previous administration had fully supported it. Farid’s motion had proposed...
Online eco clearance from December 1
Nov 22 2015
The government has put in place an online application system under the single window scheme for granting environmental clearance for various ‘B’ category projects in the State, Forest and Environment Minister Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan said here on Saturday. Applications received online would be processed by the State Environment Assessment Committee (SEAC) and forwarded to the State Environment Impact Assessment Authority (SEIAA) for its decision. Applicants would get receipts and information regarding the status of the applications online. The new system has been put in place to avert...
Port City To Be Expanded
Nov 22 2015
Minister of Megapolis and Western Development Patali Champika Ranawaka says the Port City Project will recommence by mid next year after solving its issues. “On principle, the government agreed to proceed with the project under the BOI. Under the Ministry, the Project will be much broader and will facilitate with other development projects such as financing and trading hubs, and various other projects. At the south harbour, one terminal has been completed and the other two are yet to be completed. The Project was originally designed to be adjacent to the Colombo South Harbour Development...
Protection of property: Acquisition of land for Orange Line stayed
Nov 21 2015
LAHORE: A Lahore High Court bench on Friday stayed the acquisition of land for the Orange Line Metro Train project in a petition seeking court declaration of the project as illegal and unconstitutional. Justice Shahid Karim referred the petition filed by four residents of Kapoorthala House to the LHC chief justice for constitution of a full bench to deal with the matter. Amjad Hassan Bhatti and others submitted through their counsel, Azhar Siddique, that the land identified by the government for acquisition for the project included a plot where they had constructed their houses and had been...
MOA for second Sual plant signed
Nov 20 2015
SUAL, Pangasinan: The establishment of a second power plant in Sual town will become a reality following the signing of a memorandum of agreement (MOA) between proponent Trans Asia Oil and Energy Development Corporation and the local government of Sual. The MOA for the 900-megawatt (MW) power plant was signed by Francisco Viray Jr., president and chief executive officer of Trans Asia Oil, and Mayor Roberto Llamas Arcinue on Friday at the municipal hall. It will be the second power plant to be located in Sual, the first being the Sual Coal-fired Thermal Plant located in Barangay Pangascasan...
Tangible progress in rail projects should be seen next year: Arkhom
Nov 19 2015
GOVERNMENT investment in transportation infrastructure, based on the Transport Ministry's 2015-2020 plan worth Bt1.796 trillion, is commencing as planned, with the most apparent development being the Cabinet's approval of five public-private partnership (PPP) fast-track projects. These PPP projects and other mass-transit projects in the capital mean Bangkokians can expect to see tangible progress in the construction of at least five new underground and elevated electric rail lines next year, Transport Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith said yesterday. The PPP Committee earlier shortened the...
'Landmark' plan riddled with flaws
Nov 19 2015
As a matter of principle, a project that is touted as the "New Landmark of Thailand" should not contain any flaws. But the reality is just the opposite. The project in question is the Chao Phraya river promenade, the 14-billion-baht bike and walkway which, in its first phase, will span 7km on both sides of the river between the Rama VII and Pin Klao bridges. It is an initiative of the National Council for Peace and Order, in a bid to bring back happiness to Thais. The regime assigned the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) to implement the project in a time frame of just seven months...
Buyers beware in downtown Bangkok
Nov 19 2015
Developers, hotel "owners" and operators continue to gamble with the lives of residents, visitors and pedestrians on a daily basis. Complaints go unheeded and the police and other authorities do nothing, either through improbity or impotence. A whistleblower has been falsely accused of defamation and is now blacklisted. Embassies notified of the problem have failed to investigate or issue health and safety warnings to international travellers. To those investing in leasehold property in central Bangkok, check the legality of EIA certification carefully and study the contract and building...
SEZ proposals strike fear in villagers
Nov 18 2015
NO HEAVY industry will be promoted in the proposed special economic zones (SEZs) in the border provinces, government officials have emphasised. However, locals near the proposed economic zone in Tak's Mae Sot district said they feared their livelihoods would soon be changed forever as people in two villages would have to move away from their land. They were also worried about the future environmental impact of the industrial estates. Representatives of the Office of the National Economics and Social Development Board (NESDB) and the Industrial Estate Authority of Thailand (IEAT), who are...
Court seeks reply to Sahiwal power project
Nov 17 2015
LAHORE - The Lahore High Court yesterday sought reply from the federal and Punjab governments in a petition challenging Sahiwal Coal Power Plant. PTI’s Zubair Niazi filed the petition and pointed out that environmental issues were not addressed before the launch of the project. He said if the government was not stopped from constructing the coal plant, the people of surrounding localities would face very adverse effects and irreparable damages. After hearing the arguments of the petitioner’s counsel, Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah directed law officers of both governments to come up on next...