Assessing Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) in Thailand: Implementation Challenges and Opportunities for Sustainable Development Planning (Working Paper)

/ As a result of rapid economic growth in the region, environmental problems are on the rise and thus the role of Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) as a means of ensuring environmental and social safeguards for sustainable development has been highlighted.

The Ministry of the Environment, Japan commissioned IGES to conduct studies in six selected Asian countries to assess the implementation of EIA, identify common challenges, and propose possible responses to induce sound investment in the region.

Six countries – Cambodia, Indonesia, Korea, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam, were selected to draw out various practices and lessons from countries with varied backgrounds such economic development stage and status of EIA regulatory systems and their implementation. It is hoped this study will be of use for the government officials and practitioners who are engaged in work associated with strengthening safeguards and investment in the region.

This report presents the existing EIA systems and implementation practices in Thailand as of December 2014 and their challenges and recommendations. Chapter 1 provides an overview of the systems of assessment (EIA and environmental and health impact assessment or EHIA) and their procedures; Chapter 2 identifies major challenges and opportunities for EIA/EHIA implementation based on the existing documents and interviews with the officials in charge of EIA implementation in Thailand; Chapter 3 presents illustrative examples of how EIA/EHIA functioned and Thai authorities and communities acted in practice; and lastly Chapter 4 summarizes key recommendations for the improvement of EIA systems and their implementation.