Asian Journal of Environment and Disaster Management (AJEDM)Volume 2 Number 3 (2010)
Issuess of Elaborating Transboundary Environmental Impact Assessment Modalities: Case of the Mekong River
Transboundary environmental implications of development projects have become a matter of societal concerns in the Mekong River Basin. Lack of operational modalities has lead to application of ad hoc and insufficient methodology in carrying out Transboundary Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for projects in the past, such as Navigation Channel Improvement by upstream countries (China, Laos, Myanmar and Thailand) and the Yali Falls Dam in Vietnam. Although transboundary EIA was carried out for these projects, environmental impacts in downstream countries were not properly addresses. Lack of an institutionalized modality about transboundary EIA has posed difficulties upon downstream countries. It is because these nations tend to be reluctant to raise the issues of adverse impacts upon them to the country of origin though nominal diplomatic channel, or even through mechanisms of the Mekong River Commission (MRC). Initiatives taken by the MRC to develop guidelines for transboundary EIA should be very timely and appropriate under such a circumstance. The guidelines are broadly based on the concept of the Espoo Convention. Once established, the guidelines for Transboundary EIA should be instrumental for confidence building among member states of the MRC.
Keywords: Environmental impact assessment, EIA, Mekong river, Transboundary EIA.