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Updated to: 25 February 2015Download as PDF
History of ESIA
The National Environment Policy of Myanmar 1994 is the basis of Myanmar’s environmental statutory framework. In 1990, the National Commission for Environmental Affairs (NCEA) was formed. It was responsible for development environmental policies and for issuing environmental regulations. In 2005, the NCEA became part of the Ministry of Forestry. The NCEA did undertake efforts to introduce EIA formally, but this process was never finalized. In 2011, the Ministry of Forestry was upgraded into the Ministry of Environmental Conservation and Forestry (MOECAF). The MOECAF enacted the Environmental Conservation Law 2012. Since the law was introduced, MOECAF has started drafting subsidiary regulations to enact legislation, including some on the EIA Procedure. EIA has been formally introduced in Myanmar in 2016.
Overview ESIA procedure
The EIA procedure in Myanmar starts with the submission of a project proposal to the MOECAF. On the basis of the provided information, screening is conducted by the Ministry. MOECAF decides wheter a full EIA, an Initial Environmental Examination (IEE) or no environmental assessment is needed for the respective project.
Where a full EIA is needed the following steps follow: Scoping conducted by the proponent (incl. public consultation); EIA reporting by the proponent; EIA review done by the MOECAF with support of the EIA Review Body (incl. public consultation); EIA approval by the MOECAF; Monitoring (self-monitoring by the proponent as well as compliance monitoring by the Ministry).
The following documents are outputs of the full EIA process: Scoping report and ToR; letter of endorsement; EIA report; EIA Review Report; Environmental Compliance Certificate; Monitoring report.
The IEE procedure comprises the following steps: IEE reporting done by the proponent (incl. public consultation); Review of IEE report by MOECAF (incl. public consultation); Approval of the IEE report by MOECAF.
Outputs of the IEE process: letter of endorsement; IEE report; Environmental Compliance Certificate; Monitoring reports.
The draft EIA Procedure regulation (2014) defines the following Screening procedure:
Once the project proponent submits the project proposal, a preliminary schreening and a verification of the presence of all required documents and related materials is conducted. Thereafter, the Environmental Conservation Department determines the necessity of an environmental assessment and the level to which this should be done. This information is passed to the MOECAF which then takes the final screening decision. The following options exist therefore:
- An Initial Environmental Examination (IEE) is required
- A full Environmental Impact Assessment is required
- No environmental assessment is required
The process of defining screening criteria is still ongoing.
The draft regulations of the EIA Procedure provide a set of factors on the basis of which the MOECAF shall decide on a project/project site specific basis about the necessary level of assessment.
Moreover, screening lists are being drafted. The most recent version contains two inclusive screening lists, one for projects that require an Initial Environmental Examination and one for projects that require a full EIA. These lists determine the required level of assessment according to thresholds based on project criteria.
The most recent draft of screening lists contains specific requirements regarding environmentally, ecologically and socio-culturally sensitive areas. It defines a number of types of sensitive areas in which no investment project should be undertaken und for which a reasonable distance should be ensured for such projects. Some of these types are also mentioned in the Draft EIA procedural regulations as factors to be considered when the screening decision is taken.
The draft regulation on the EIA Procedure (2014) determines that within 15 days of receipt of the complete project proposal, the screening decision shall be taken.
The draft regulations of the EIA Procedure (2014) require scoping for all EIA type projects.
According to the EIA guidelines, the project proponent is responsible for carrying out the scoping procedure and thus for preparing a scoping report and the TOR. These documents are to be submitted to the Ministry for review and approval. The MOECAF can either decide to approve the Scoping report and the TOR with or without conditions or to require the project proponent to revise the documents in accordance with the comments of the Ministry.
Contents of the scoping document
The following content of the scoping report is defined as follows:
- Executive summary
- Context of the project
- Overview of the policy, legal and institutional framework
- Project description and alternatives
- Description of the environment (incl. maps, images, aerial photos, satellite images)
- Key potential environmental impacts and mitigation measures
- Public consultation and disclosure
- Conclusions and recommendations
The MOECAF will take a decision regarding the approval of the Scoping report and the TOR within 15 days after having received these documents.
Draft regulations on the EIA procedure, 2014
The project proponent selects the organization or person that will be responsible for the writing of the EIA report. The MOECAF is to be informed about this choice as it will check its suitability. The proponent is responsible for ensuring that the EIA investigation is undertaken in accordance with the TOR. The EIA report has to be submitted to the Ministry together with a letter of endorsement.
The following type of impacts are to be studied: physical, biological, social, socio-economic, health, cultural and visual impacts. This includes potential impacts on climate change. Moreover, cumulative impacts are to be considered.
Its content is defined in Article 59 of the Draft EIA Procedure, 2014.
Contents of the EIA report
Article 60 of the draft regulations on the EIA procedure (2014), as well as the draft EIA Guidelines (2014) define the contents of the EIA report in detail. The following headings are mentioned and further specified:
- Executive Summary
- Introduction (presentation of project proponent, of environmental, social and health experts)
- Policy, legal and institutional framework
- Project description and selection of alternatives
- Description of the surrounding environment
- Impact and risk assessment and mitigation measures
- Cumulative impact assessment
- Public consultation and disclosure
- Environmental Management Plan
The required content of the IEE report is specified in Article 33 of the draft regulation of the EIA procedure (2014).
Accreditation of consultants
Any person or organization that prepares an EIA or an IEE has to obtain a working license with the MOECAF. The Ministry thus maintains and from time to time publishes a list with all persons and organizations that are registered for the preparation of environmental assessments.
The MOECAF submits the EIA report to the EIA Report Review Body for comment and recommendation. The review body then prepares an EIA Review Report according to the scope prescribed by the Ministry. Further, the MOECAF discloses the draft EIA report to the public and asks for comments and suggestions. Also, public consultation meetings are organized. Finally, the Ministry collects and reviews all comments and recommendations received and takes the final decision about the approval of the EIA report. The EIA approval decision is formalized through the provision of an Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC).
The Draft Environmental Conservation Rules (2013) provide for the establishment of an EIA Report Review Body. It shall consist of experts from the relevent government departments and government organizations, and possibly private persons.
The MOECAF shall take its final EIA approval decision within 90 days of receipt of the EIA report. For the approval of the IEE report, the available timeframe is 60 days.
Integration of ESIA into decision-making
After the EIA report has been approved, the MOECAF issues the Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC).
Regarding the project approval decision, it is not entirely clear what the procedures and responsibilities are.
The Environmental Conservation Law of 2012 does provide for a prior permission that is required for projects that may cause impact on the environmental quality. The proponent has to apply for it to the MOECAF, which then takes the decision whether it will be granted (under certain conditions) or not. It is unclear, what exactly such a prior permission is and how it relates to the outcomes of the EIA process.
Governmental projects can be approved by the MOECAF. Would that be done through granting a prior permission?
Project from international investors are to be approved by the Myanmar Investment Commission. An ECC is needed for a complete permit application for the implementation of the project, which the project proponent as a next step submits to the Myanmar Investment Commission (MIC). Or is this being done already before the EIA process starts? The MIC assesses the application and takes the project approval decision.
It is not clear which authority approves projects of national investors.
The Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC) is a legal document through which the MOECAF approves an Initial Environmental Examination (IEE) Report or an EIA or an Environmental Management Plan (EMP). The draft regulation on the EIA procedure (2014) defines the content of the main ECC document and it provides elements that the ECC conditions might encompass. It determines that as a condition of the ECC, a Construction Phase EMP or an Operational Phase EMP might be required. An ECC is valid for 5 years after its issuance. In case of major project changes, the project proponent has to notify the Ministry which will decide about necessary modifications to the conditions of the ECC or a needed newly written EIA or IEE.
The Myanmar Investment Commission provides a written project approval to the proponent.
The EIA approval decision is published.
The MOECAF shall take its final EIA approval decision within 90 days of receipt of the EIA report. For the approval of the IEE report, the available timeframe is 60 days. (Draft regulations on the EIA procedure, 2014)
Accroding to the draft regulation on the EIA procedure, the project owner hast the duty to self-monitor its compliance with the applicable laws and standards, the ECC and the EMP. It has to submit monitoring report every 6 months to the MOECAF. The Article 98 of the draft regulation defines the content of these reports. The monitoring reports have to be published on the proponent's website.
The MOECAF also has the right to undertake compliance monitoring. It may use its own officers at the national, regional, state, and/or local offices or it may hire external consultants for it.
The draft regulations on the EIA procedure (2014) mention that the MOECAF may require remedial measures and/or may impose penalties in case of non-compliance. The Ministry may suspend the project operation or employ any third party to correct non-compliance at the project proponent's sole expense.
Public participation requirements for ESIA process stages
The draft regulations on the EIA procedures (2014) require public participation activities during the Scoping stage, during the data collection and the drafting of the EIA report, and during the EIA review stage.
During Scoping, the project proponent is responsible for involving the public in the process. The proponent then shall disclose of information about the proposed project to the public as well as arrange consultation meetings if required by the MOECAF. Local communities, people affected by the project, local authorities, community based organizations and civil society members may be invited to such meetings.
During EIA review, the draft EIA report is made available to the public, which is asked for comments and suggestions. Furthermore, public consultation meetings are organized.
The public is invited to provide comments on the draft EIA report. It is not specified in which form these comments are to be provided.
The project proponent has to come up for cost related to information disclosure and public consultation procedures.
Access to information
The following information is made available to the public:
- Information about the proposed project
- Draft EIA report
- EIA approval decision
- Modified EIA approval decision (if applicable)
- Monitoring reports of the proponent
The draft EIA procedure (2014) determines that information about the proposed project shall be disclosed through local media, such as the posting of legible sign boards and advertising boards at the project site.
Furthermore, the proponent has to disclose the draft EIA report to the concerned stakeholders by means of national media, their website and public meeting places. In addition, the MOECAF will make the EIA report publicly available.
Possibilities for appeal
The EIA approval decision by the MOECAF can be appealed. Such an appeal should be made to the MOECAF within 30 days of the disclosure of the Ministry's decision. The MOECAF will then forward it to the Environmental Conservation Committee within 15 days. The Committee shall consider the appeal and take a decision within 30 days after it has received it from the Ministry. It can decide the following:
-to uphold the decision of the MOECAF
-to instruct the MOECAF to require the proponent to revise and resubmit the EIA report to the Ministry
-to instruct the MOECAF to alter, revise or cancel its decision on the EIA report and cite its grounds for such instructions.
The following actors / institutions can make an appeal to the EIA approval decision:
- project proponents
- government organizations
- People or organizations potentially affected by any adverse impacts of the project
Environmental Conservation Law No 9/2012 (Pyidaungsu Hluttaw Law No. 9/2012)
The Environmental Conservation Law was issued on the 30st of March 2012. It determines that the Ministry that is assigned to perform the matters of environment (thus the MOECAF) has the duty to establish and carry out a system of enviornmental and social impact assessment.
National detailed regulation for ESIA
Information before January 2016:
However, Environmental Conservation Rules, which aim to specify the provisions made in the Environmental Conservation Law of 2012, have been drafted in 2014. They provide some general requirements regarding the EIA procedure.
Moreover, several detailed EIA regulations have been drafted in the past years, the latest versions being the Draft EIA procedures from 2014. Their approval and formal issuing is expected for 2015.
As these Draft Environmental Conservation Rules and the Draft EIA procedures are already used in practice, the information provided in this country profile is derived from them.
In 2014, the Ministry of Environmental Conservation and Forestry (MOECAF) has drafted a detailed set of EIA guidelines. They are already in use and thus the information provided in this country profile is partly derived from these guidelines.
Scope of ESIA application
The Environmental Conservation Law of 2012 mentions EIA in relation to activities undertaken by any government department, organization or person.
Central ESIA authority
Other key (governmental) parties involved in ESIA, and their roles
According to the Draft Environmental Conservation Rules, the MOECAF can assign duty with regards to EIA to the newly established Environmental Conservation Department (ECD). The ECD is one of the 6 departments of the MOECAF. It was set up in October 2012 and is mainly responsible for implementing the National Environmental Policy, strategy, framework, planning and action plan for the integration of environmental consideration into in the national sustainable development process.
An Environmental Conservation Committee was formally established by the Environmental Conservation Law of 2012. It is formed to enable the implementation of the objectives specified in the law.
An EIA Report Review Body supports the MOECAF with the review process. It shall consist of experts from the relevent government departments and government organizations, and possibly private persons.
The Myanmar Investment Commission (MIC) takes the project approval decision. For which projects? only the ones of international investors? This Commission is a government-appointed body under the Ministry of National Planning and Economic Development that has been formed in 1994. A set of reforms in 2012 suggest a transformation of the MIC into a more independent body. As a consequence of this restructuring process, representatives from the private sector and civil society are being included in the board (e.g. economists, businesspeople, and representatives of non-governmental organisations). However, key positions are still held by senior government officials, including ministers and their deputies. MOECAF is represented in the MIC panel and is also involved in proposal assessment team meetings.
The draft regulation on the EIA Procedure outlines that all costs for completing the IEE and EIA report will be the responsibility of the proponent. This also includes costs for public participation activities and costs related to inspection and monitoring. It is not specified how these cost are to be paid.
Annual no. of ESIAs
Costs of doing business in Myanmar - 2017 Survey: contains a description of the EIA system and its current state