Enforce land zoning laws

Following fierce criticism from civic and grassroots groups, the Charter Drafting Committee (CDC) has finally promised to include community rights clauses in the draft charter. Violent conflicts over the exploitation of natural resources still loom large, however, when the military government insists on bypassing land zoning laws to back environmentally destructive industries.

The CDC has done the right thing by listening to people on the ground. The military government and the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) should do the same to protect the environment and public health.

Community rights must be in the final charter draft

Prepared by the Meechai Ruchuphan-headed Constitution Drafting Commission (CDC), this draft does not provide for the rights of people to assemble for the protection of their community and their environment at all.

This is despite the fact that such rights had been enshrined in Thailand's constitutions since 1997.

Both the 1997 and 2007 constitutions allowed communities a direct constitutional channel to stand up and defend themselves.

Charter writers agree to spell out community rights

The Constitution Drafting Committee has agreed to spell out in the new draft communities' right to sue state agencies and the requirement for environmental and health impact assessments for all large projects following numerous complaints.

The move came after people in the provinces, environmental activists and academics had criticised the omissions of community rights provisions present in Section of 67 of the 2007 charter.

Shan Community Handover 23,717 Signatures Opposing Dams on the Salween River to Australian Consultants

The Shan community representatives delivered their petition to the Snowy Mountains Engineering Corporation (SMEC) offices in Yangon.

The Mong Ton dam is the largest of the five dams planned on the Salween River.

The community group, the Action for Shan State Rivers, said in a media statement that “signatures were collected from people throughout Shan State, particularly townships adjoining the Salween, who are alarmed at Naypyidaw’s [the government] accelerated plans to dam their river to export hydropower.”

'Thepha model' eyed for other power projects

THE Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (Egat) declared yesterday that the public review on its coal-fired power plant and coal pier project in Songkhla's Thepha district was a success, and that it was planning to use the "Thepha model" for other such projects in the future.

"The Thepha model involves providing information to locals and then letting them spread it among their neighbours," Egat assistant governor Pol Kongsue explained.

Activists hold alternative plant 'review'

Songkhla: Residents protesting against plans for a new coal-fired power plant and sea port in Thepa district held their own "public review" Tuesday.

The move followed their boycott of the third and final public hearing on the Environmental and Health Impact Assessments (EHIA) for the 2,200 megawatt power plant and sea port, organised by project owner Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (Egat).

"We believe the session held by Egat is not fair for those who don't agree with the project," said Isdares Hayeeda, deputy mayor of Thepha district municipality.

Mekong nations set up group for environmental impact assessments

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.

Mekong nations to set up EIA working group

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.