Regional Consultation on Commonalities of Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) in ASEAN Member States and Advancing a Harmonised and Right-Based Approach, 2-3 October 2019, Yangon, Myanmar

The AICHR convened the  Regional Consultation on Commonalities of EIA in ASEAN Member States and Advancing a Harmonised and Right-Based Approach on 2-3 October 2019 in Yangon, Myanmar. This consultation is a continuation of previous efforts by AICHR Myanmar which were  initiated in 2014, 2015 and 2017 on human rights, environment and climate change.

In the opening session, Ambassador HlaMyint, the Representative of Myanmar stated that “Human rights promotion and environmental sustainability are closely intertwined and believed to be at the core of sustainable development. (…) Through a rights-based framework for EIA, the environment can be protected, sustained and sustainable development can be achieved.”

In his keynote speech video,  Dr. David R. Boyd, the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and the Environment, highlighted that EIA is valuable tool for allowing economic development to proceed while ensuring the protection of environment to be realised. To make it genuinely effective tool to protect environment and human rights, the EIA processes should include access to information, public participation and access to justice in effective remedy. He further highlighted the commitment of ASEAN Leaders on ASEAN Declaration on Environmental Sustainability which emphasized the need of concerted effort to strengthen global and regional efforts on adapting to and mitigating climate change.

Building on the previous recommendations, this year consultation aimed to consider further concrete steps towards the emergence of a compendium of existing national EIA procedures and commonalities in AMS and a rights-based framework for effective EIA in ASEAN, Transboundary EIA and Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA). During the two-day consultation, the participants discussed existing legal framework for the environment and EIA in ASEAN Member States, identified areas of commonalitiesand discussed ways forward for a harmonised and right-based regional framework which include identification of stakeholders, possible content for the regional framework, timeframe, etc.

The consultation brought together participants from ASEAN Sectoral Bodies, including the ASEAN Commission on the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Women and Children (ACWC), the representatives from ASEAN Member States ministries, civil society organisations and academics dealing with environment- related matters, Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and the Environment as well as experts from various regional and international organisations.

The consultation was co-organised by AICHR Myanmar, AICHR Thailand and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation (MONREC) of Myanmar, in collaboration with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

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