1. Basic policy for the Protection of the Environment
As a basic policy of environmental protection, Article 59 of the Constitution stipulates that the State shall protect the environment and balance of abundant natural resources and establish a precise plan of management of land, water, air, wind, geology, ecological system, mines, energy, petrol and gas, rocks and sand, gems, forests and forestry products, wildlife, fish and aquatic resources.
2. Regulatory Framework for the Environmental Protection
In 1996, the “Law on Environment Protection and Natural Resource Management (LEPNRM)” was enacted, followed by “Sub-Decree on Management of Solid Waste” (1999), “Sub-Decree on the Water Pollution Control” (1999) and “Sub-Decree on the Control of Air Pollution and Noise Disturbance” (2000). Numerical standard for environmental quality are set in each Sub-Decree but they are said to be very strict compared with neighboring countries.
A “Sub-Decree on the Implementation of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Process” was also proclaimed in 1999. The Sub-Decree stipulates the precise nature and formats of assessment and the kind of projects required to do such assessment by their nature, size, activity, etc (Chapter 1, Article1). The Project’s Owner must pay the service fee for the EIA examination and monitoring the project implementation. The service fee must be defined by the MEF and transfer to the National budget according to the proposal of the Ministry of Environment (Chapter 3, Article 11).
Practice of EIA
Despite the above provision of the EIA implementation, in most of the cases, the EIA are out-sourced to the private sector consultant who is hired by the project’s owner due to the lack of resources in the Ministry of Environment. The Ministry will approve the assessment result subject to the payment of service fee to the Ministry.