Abstract

Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is a central process in sustainable development to mitigate the anticipated impacts of development projects. Every national government in mainland Southeast Asia has, or is in the process of developing, legislation on environmental governance and shares a common interest in implementing and enforcing EIA. Yet despite the fact that significant environmental impacts occur across borders, no multi-country EIA agreements have yet been passed and implemented. Increased regional cooperation could present an opportunity to address this gap, potentially linked to ASEAN or other regional organizations. Based on this hypothesis, a consultative research process under the auspices of the Mekong Partnership for the Environment interviewed 127 key stakeholders in five countries (Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam) to assess the positions, levels of influence and readiness to cooperate on EIA principles and standards. Using a political economy approach, the research team found strong support among government and non-governmental stakeholders alike for reform of national EIA procedures, increased public participation and the development of regional EIA standards. At present, government officials in some countries favour increased cooperation, while others express reservations and concerns about the value of such cooperation. The article explores the underlying interests and incentives behind these varied standpoints and concludes with a discussion of possibilities for regional institutions, national governments and donor agencies to advance cooperation on environmental governance.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1793-284X
Print ISSN
0129-797X
Pages
pp. 406-431
Launched on MUSE
2016-01-31
Open Access
No
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