Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is a process and management tool for both planning and decision making, which assists to identify, predict, and evaluate the foreseeable environmental and social impacts caused by the proposed project, during the preparation, construction, operation, decommissioning, closure and post-closure phases. EIA aims to harmonize the development activities with the environment and society.
The EIA system is one of the effective measures to fulfill Section 45 and 390 of the Constitution of the Republic of Union Myanmar, which requires that the State is; the Union shall protect and conserve natural environment (Section 45), and every citizen has the duty to assist the Union in carrying out (b) environmental conservation (Section 390).
1. Legal framework and process
The first full-scale legal framework of EIA was established by “Environmental Assessment Procedure, Notification No.616/2015” which came into force on 29th December, 2015.
(See also Legal Structure of EIA)
EIA ProcedureNo.616/2015 defines the whole process of EIA and Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC); terms, process and procedure, responsibilities of stakeholders, and so on.
The proposed project will be categorized as one of the three categories (EIA, IEE or Non IEE/EIA type project) depending on the scale and significance of the impacts likely caused by the proposed project. The process for categorizing is called as “Screening”.
At the first step of EIA Procedure, the proponent shall submit a “Project Proposal (PP)” to ECD containing the project description and its likely impacts. ECD will determine the project type as “EIA”, “IEE”, or “Non IEE/EIA” based on the submitted PP, in accordance with Annex A “Categorization of Economic Activities for Assessment Purposes”, and Article 25 and Article 28 (stipulating the specific factors for categorization).
See also Guidance of the EIA system
2. EIA Type project
For the EIA type projects, the project proponent is required to submit “Terms of Reference (TOR)” and “Scoping Report” which include the proposed contents and the scope of the EIA study. This process is called as “Scoping”. At this timing, “Public Consultation” must be held by the proponent so as to collect opinions from stakeholders related to the proposed project.
The proponent then undertakes the necessary investigation according to the approved TOR such as; data collection, impact analysis, consideration of mitigation measures and so on. An “Environmental Impact Assessment Report” and “Environmental Management Plan (EMP)” will be prepared based on all results of the investigation.
The proponent must hold a “Public Consultation” at any timing during the investigation process inviting to the relevant stakeholders including Project Affected People (PAPs), NGOs, governmental bodies, and so on. The draft of EIA Report and EMP shall be updated for reflecting those comments from the participants of the Public Consultation.
An “EIA Report Review Body”, which consists of members from relevant ministries and experts, will review and assess the reports / documents submitted by the Proponent. Based on the recommendations, the Minister makes a decision whether or not the submitted report should be approved. If approved, ECD issues an “Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC)” with necessary conditions to protect the environment, subject to payment of service fees as prescribed by ECD.
3. IEE Type project
IEE, “Initial Environmental Examination”, means a process applied to any projects which would cause certain environmental / social impacts but not significant. IEE report and EMP shall be submitted to ECD, then those reports will be reviewed by ECD. Public consultation is also required at any timing during the investigation.
ECC will be issued by MONREC upon successful review.
4. Non IEE or EIA Type Project
For the other case, no EIA/IEE is required; however, ECD may promote and support environmental management for these projects from a view of environmental and social safeguard.