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EIA profile

Updated to: 25 February 2015

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EIA background

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Country contact on EIA

Contact details for the country contact on EIA.

Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MONRE)
83 Nguyen Chi Thanh - Dong Da - Ha Noi
Tel: (84-4) 8 343 911
FAX: (84-4) 8 359 211
Website: http://www.monre.gov.vn/

History of EIA

Brief description of the history of the EIA system in the country, including when it was introduced and any major milestones in its development.

EIA in Vietnam has been very dynamic. In December 1993, the National Assembly passed the National Law on Environmental Protection (LEP) that specified EIA. It went into force in January 1994. The Government Decree No. 175 of 1994 provided guidance for the implementation of the Law and additional regulatory documents made provisions for EIA. After ten years of implementation of the law and confronting rapid progress of the country's socio-economic development, the LEP required strengthening on several aspects including on the provisions for public participation. In December 2005, the Law on Environmental Protection was promulgated with a new scope of stipulation, structure and regulations for EIA. A year later, a Decree No. 80/2006/ND-CP on implementing some articles of the LEP was issued. This Decree has been amended by Decree No. 21/2008/ND-CP of February 2008 and by Decree No. 29/2011/ND-CP.

Year of introduction of EIA legislation

NB: this field is only meant for the world map. It is a hidden cell that is not published on the website. If available, mention the year when detailed national EIA regulations were issued. If such regulations do not exist and if EIA practice is base

1994

Legal framework for EIA

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Year of introduction of enabling law

Year when the enabling law for EIA was issued

1993

The Law on Environmental Protection sets the framework for EIA.

Approving authority of enabling law

Authority that approved the enabling law for EIA.

Parliament.

Year of introduction of first national detailed regulation for EIA

Year when when the first national detailed regulation (procedural requirements) through which EIA was operationalized.

Government Decree No. 175/CP of 1994 provided guidance for the implementation of the Law on Environmental Protection (1993). It defined many aspect of the EIA process, such as the contents of the preliminary and detailed EIA reports and the appraisal of EIA reports.

1994

Recent updates and additions to the EIA legislation

Revisions of the EIA provisions in the enabling law or the national detailed EIA regulation (procedural requirements) are named. The year is listed, and the main changes since the first regulation are mentioned, if available. Also, additional EIA-re

The Law on Environmental Protection was revised in 2005.

Thereafter, new regulatory documents have been issues to specify the provisions made in the revised Law:

  • Government’s Decree No. 80/2006/ND-CP of 9 August 2006 detailing the implementation of a number of articles of the Law on Environmental Protection. It guides implementation, reporting and appraisal arrangements and includes a detailed list of projects that require EIA.  The decree also outlines institutional responsibilities for EIA and EIA reporting requirements.
  • Decree No. 21/2008/ND-CP of February 2008 amended this decree especially on articles pertaining to Environmental standards, projects that require EIA and community participation.
  • Decree no. 29/2011/ND-CP amends some articles of the previous Decrees of 2006 and 2008

Guidelines

Any government issued guidelines on EIA (general, or sectoral) are listed here, as well as the authority that issued each. Describe the legal status of the guidelines.

  • Circular No. 08/2006/TT-BTNMT of September 8, 2006 guiding SEA, EIA and environmental protection commitments. It provides detailed guidance and instructions on the implementation of the LEP provisions relating to EIA. Issued by the MoNRE Minister.
  • Decision No. 13/2006/QD-BTNMT of September 8, 2006 promulgating the Regulation on organization and operation of the Council for appraisal of SEA reports and the Council for appraisal of EIA reports. Issued by the MoNRE.

Objective of EIA

The objective of EIA as stated in the above described legal basis.

There are no specific objectives mentioned in the legal documents but reference is made to environmental protection, sustainable development and good governance.

Scope of EIA application

Describes which types of activities require EIA (public and/or private activities; national and/or foreign initiated project; or all such projects)

All activities (public, national and foreign) as prescribed in the appendix of Decree No. 21/2008/ND-CP of 2008.

Exemptions from EIA application

Describes any (groups of) activities identified in the regulation that are exempted from the requirement to do EIA (e.g. military or emergency activities).

There are no specific provisions for exemptions. Article 14 of the 2011 EIA and SEA Decree provides for exemptions from requirements for public consultatin though.

Institutional setting for EIA

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Central EIA authority

Is there a central authority in charge of implementing EIA? Is it independent or linked to a higher body (e.g ministry)? What are its tasks related to EIA?

In co-operation with MoNRE, the Ministry of Finance leads in making reports, appraising and monitoring and implementation of EIA reports for national projects. The Department of Environment Impact Assessment and Appraisal (EIA&A) – Vietnam Environment Administration (VEA) of Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MoNRE) is the central EIA authority for inter-sectoral and interprovincial projects.

Other key (governmental) parties involved in EIA, and their roles

Lists other key parties (e.g. a review commission, knowledge institute) that have a role in many or all EIAs.

  • The Vietnamese Environment Protection Agency (VEPA): This functional unit of MONRE monitors environmental measures and actions of the proponent concerning mitigation as contained in EIA reports.
  •  The Vietnamese Environmental Administration (VEA) was established through Decision No. 132/2008/QÐ-TTg by the Prime Minister. VEA is a subsidiary body under the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MONRE) that advises and assists the Minister of MONRE in the field of environment  management and that provides public services in compliance with the laws. Once of its functions is to assess and appraise EIA and SEA reports.
  •  Provincial Department of Natural Resources and Environment (DONRE): Have delegated powers to make decisions on numerous issues (including EIA) related to the use and management of local resources and environment.
  •  People committee or Fatherland Front Committees act as responsible authority at community level. They act as a go between for the local community and the proponents and may initiate public involvement.
  •  Appraisal Councils can be set up for the process of EIA appraisal.
  •  The Law on Environmental Protection also provides for the National Assembly to consider and make decisions on projects with major environmental impacts. A schedule of such types of projects is determined by the Standing Committee of the National Assembly.

Mandate for exemption of EIA obligation

Describes if there is a legal mandate for a competent authority to make exemptions of EIA obligation. And if yes, under which conditions (e.g. national security, disasters or no conditions/when deemed necessary).

Not specified.

(De)centralisation of EIA mandates

Describes if EIA mandates are (de)centralised. Vertical decentralization refers to the extent to which the responsibility for EIA processes are delegated by the central government to the provincial or local authorities. Sectoral or horizontal decen

There is vertical decentralisation. Provincial Departments of Natural Resources and Environment (DONRE) have delegated powers to make decisions on EIA.

EIA procedure

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Overview EIA procedure

Characterizes the overall EIA procedure. If relevant, interesting aspects of the EIA procedure are mentioned such as: which procedural steps are part of the EIA procedure? How are they linked to each other? Are there different levels of assessment di

The EIA process in Vietnam consists of the following stages: Screening, Assessment, Review, Approval and Monitoring.

Regarding the timing of the EIA process, Article 13 of the SEA and EIA Decree (2011) stipulates that the EIA report shall be made concurrently with the formulation of the feasibility study report of the investment project. The feasibility study is then also part of the dossier of request for the appraisal and approval of the EIA report.

Screening

Screening requirement and authority

Describes if a formal screening decision required, and if so, which authority is responsible for this decision. Is this decision published?

Screening decision is made by Appraisal Council or Appraisal Services Organisation formulated at National or Provincial level depending on the project.

Screening process

Describes the screening process: steps in screening, the stakeholders involved and outcomes of the process, status of screening advice of different stakeholders, etc. Also describes any prescribed methods for screening. If preliminary EIA's / light EIA's / Initial Environmental Evaluations (IEE) are done in this country and which criteria determine whether a preliminary or a full EIA is requested

Screening is done with a list provided as an appendix of the EIA Decree No. 29/2011/ND-CP. The list contains thresholds based on project feature size/capacities against which EIA requirement is determined. A preliminary EIA report is presented as part of the starting dossier for EIA licence application. This preliminary EIA report alongside a feasibility study (or investment report) of the project act to inform the screening decision authority on the level of EIA required.

Provision for sensitive areas

Are specific requirements formulated for environmentally sensitive areas? (e.g. no minimum thresholds, full EIA instead of partial EIA)

Provisions for protection and conservation of sensitive areas exist. A full EIA is required for any project with likely effects on such areas.

Contents of the starting document

Describes the required content of the starting document (if any) that the proponent should submit to the competent authority for EIA screening. Mentions if the starting document is published.

The starting document is a package consisting of

  • a letter of request from the proponent for appraisal and approval of EIA report (a sample letter is given as annex 5 of the EIA circular No. 08 of 2006);
  • seven copies of a preliminary EIA report in a stipulated format; and 
  • feasibility or investment report.
Timeline Screening

Maximum number of (working) days allowed between submission of the starting document and the screening decision.

Not specified.

Scoping

Scoping requirement

Is a formal scoping step required as part of the EIA process?

Not specified

Assessment and reporting

Assessment process

Steps and roles of stakeholders in the assessment and status of the input of the stakeholders. Also sets out methods for assessment of the environmental impacts of the activity, if prescribed, and whether the assessment covers environmental, social, economic and/or transboundary effects.

Proponents are required to send the assessment documents to People's committee and people council at community level. The council may request public involvement in case of a contentious issue. It is required to record complains and deliberations during public meetings and include them as part of the EIA report.

Contents of the EIA report

Explains what should be contained in the EIA report. Specifies if a potential Environmental Management Plan is part of the EIA report or if it is a separate document that contributes to the EIA process.

  • Brief description of project (name, owner , location and contents);
  • Description of EIA reporting process, consultation, methodts
  • Assessment of natural environment of project
  • Assessment of impacts
  • Mitigation measures
  • Commitment to implementation of environmental measures;
  • Construction works and programs for managing and controlling enviornmental issues in the course of project implementation
  • Cost estimation for constructions of environmental protection works;

Review

Review process

Overview of the review process, including: steps in the process and roles of the stakeholders, status of the input of the stakeholders. Is the process open to public? Review method: internal review, external review, panel/commission (permanent or temporary), are the review results documented? Are the review criteria general or case by case? Are the review results documented? Is a potential review

The project owner shall submit a dossier of request for appraisal of an environmental impact assessment report to a competent agency. An appraisal agency shall check for completeness. The appraisal agency shall then set up an appraisal council or select an appraisal service provider. No further specifications are given regarding the EIA review process.

On the basis of the appraisal agency’s notice of appraisal results of the environmental impact assessment report, the project owner shall carry out one of the following activities:

a) Making another environmental impact assessment report and submitting it to the appraisal agency for appraisal, if its environmental impact assessment report is not approved. The appraisal time limit and procedures are the same as for the first report;

b) Modifying and supplementing the environmental impact assessment report and submitting it to the appraisal agency for consideration and submission to a competent authority for issuance of an approval decision, if the environmental impact assessment report is approved on condition of modification and supplementation. The time limit for modification and supplementation of the report is not counted in the time limit for appraisal and approval of the environmental impact assessment report;

c) Sending the environmental impact assessment report to a competent agency for issuance of an approval decision under regulations, if the report is approved without modification and supplementation.

 

Review expertise

Describes if the EIA is checked by external parties, and if so to what extent these represent required disciplines/expertise. Also sets out if measures have been taken to ensure that reviewers are impartial?

EIA reports are appraised by appraisal councils or appraisal service providers. Depending on scale and level of project, it may be the Department of  EIA and Appraisal of MoNRE or other ministries/ Governmental bodies at national level or the People Committee at the local level which approve the EIA report.

The Appraisal Council or Appraisal Services Organisation is a multi-disciplinary team of representatives of management agencies directly related to environmental issues of the project, of specialists and of representatives of the public. It is not specified however if the specialists are academics or Ministry of Environment experts. The extend of impartiality is also not clear.

Timeline Review

Number of (working) days for review of the EIA by the competent authority.

The appraisal agency has to check whether the dossier of request for appraisal of the EIA report is complete and other respond within 5 working days. For EIA reports that are appraised by MONRE there is a time limit of 45 working days, for the ones that are appraised by other authorities it is 30 working days.

Decision-making

Integration of EIA into decision-making

Describes what kind of decision-making processes the EIA is intended to support. We look specifically at the decision on EIA approval, and how this relates to envirionmental approval for the project, and other project approval decisions (permits) needed before a project can proceed. This category describes which decisions are influenced by EIA and how they are linked to each other.

EIA report approval is a requirement for, but separate from, the decision on required permits for project approval.

Competent authority

Describes which authority/authorities is/are responsible for each of the main decision-making processes on EIA (EIA approval, environmental approval and/or project approval). It is explained if those decisions are taken by the same or different authorities.

Depending on scale and level of project, it may be the Department of  EIA and Appraisal-MoNRE or other ministries/ Governmental bodies at national level or the People Committee at the local level which approve the EIA report.

Decision documents

Mentions if the decision (on EIA approval and/or environmental approval) is linked to certain documents (e.g. environmental management plan, permit conditions) in order to facilitate the management of environmental risks during project implementation. Also describes if commitments of the proponent are incorporated into legally binding instruments.

Once the EIA reports are approved, an approval decision is issued and the EIA reports are they are certified.

Decision justification

Sets out requirements for justification of the consideration of the EIA information in decision-making (on EIA approval, environmental approval and/or project approval).

Decisions including the reasons thereof are communicated to the proponent in writing.

Decision publication

Does the decision (on EIA approval, environmental approval and/or project approval) have to be published? Also, is the decision justification published as well?

The decision is made public. A report on the decision as well as the certified EIA report are sent to various institutions, depending on which leve the approval decision has been taken.

Timeline decision-making

Maximum number of (working) days available to the competent authority to make the EIA based decision (EIA approval, environmental clearance and/or project approval).

The time limit for approving an EIA is 15 working days.

Monitoring, Compliance and Enforcement

Compliance monitoring

Is compliance monitoring required to check if the project is implemented as described in the EIA documents and/or if mitigation of environmental impacts complies with applicable standards and other measures set out in the EIA documents? Who is responsible for ensuring compliance? How does this authority ensure compliance (for example, through inspections)? And what requirements are there for the p

An environmental control program is part of the EIA report and then serves as a basis for the development of a environmental control plan after the EIA report has been approved. The agency approving the EIA report is responsible for inspection.

Non-compliance penalties

Are there penalties that the authority responsible for compliance can apply if environmental conditions are not met? What are these? (for example, fines, suspension of license)

Suspension of permit of operation or other penalizing measures are issued if the proponent does not comply with measures in the already approved environmental protection plan.

Public participation

Public participation requirements for EIA process stages

Describes for which of the EIA process stages public participation is required.

The new LEP (2005) and the regulations under it (Decree No.80/2006/ND-CP, Decree No. 21/2008/ ND-CP, Decree No 29/2011/ND-CP) include provisions for public consultations at two stages - in preparation phase and in review phase of the EIA report.

Public participation arrangements

Relevant information regarding the arrangements for public participation are provided here (e.g. who is responsible for it, who is consulted, does the legislation mention consultation or participation, for which project should consultations be held, are public hearings held etc.)

The consultation process during the process of EIA reporting is determined to be as follows: The people to be consulted are the People's Committee of the affected commune and representatives of the affected communities and organizations. The project owner has to send them a written request for consultation together with brief documents on the major investment items of the project, on environmental issues and on environmental protection measures. When necessary, the People's Committee may then convene the representatives of the affected communities and organizations to a meeting and notify the project owner of it. The project owner shall be part of the meeting. Its results have to be recorded in writing and signed by the present parties. Within 15 working days after receiving the written request for consultation, the People's Committe should then send a written reply to the project owner and publish it. If it does not do so, it is assumed that the people agree to the project plan. Agreeing and disagreeing opinions will be summarized in the EIA report.

Public participation guidance

Has any guidance on participation been provided?

There are no Vietnam specific manuals for public participation.

Access to information

Which of the information that is generated in the EIA process is available to the public? Specifically, which reports and decision statements?

The current EIA legislation provides for disclosure of environmental information and data. The public can assess EIA reports, decisions approving EIA reports and plans for implementation of such decisions.

Information dissemination

How can the public receive the information that is publicly available? Are there public announcement on the proceedings? How/where are these published? Is information made available locally? Is information sent on request? etc.

Final EIA reports written in Vietnamese are supposed to be made available to the public at one or more of the following places: government agency offices, health posts, schools and libraries.

Legal recourse

Possibilities for appeal

What are the legal recourse options to challenge EIA decisions are provided for within the legal framework?

Appeals are made to MoNRE either at the central or to the People committee at the local level depending on the project (to be confirmed).

Decisions that can be appealed

Which EIA decisions can be appealed?

Appeals can be made against decisions approving EIA report

Who can appeal

Who can make an appeal (in other words, has legal standing)?

The proponent, public/ NGOs and private parties.

EIA practice

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Annual no. of EIAs

Gives an estimation for the number of full EIAs that are produced annually in this country.

For investment projects: From 1994 till 2004:
About 27 000 EIA reports were reviewed and appraised, of which:

  • at central level: more than 800 reports, and
  • at provincial level: more than 26 000 reports.

Practice reviews

Any EIA practice review studies that have been done (by governmental agencies or others) are listed here. Where relevant, links to studies are included, and the main conclusions of the studies are summarised.

Doberstein Brent (2003). EIA models and capacity building in Viet Nam: an analysis of development aid programs. Environmental Impact Assessment Review Volume 24, Issue 3, April 2004, Pages 283-318 World Bank (2006). EIA Regulations and SEA Requirements, Practices and Lessons Learned in East and Southeast Asia. Safeguard Dissemination Note No. 2.

Accreditation of consultants

Is there and accreditation system operational in the country to certify consultants to do EIAs?

Decree 29/2011/ND-CP provides specific criteria on how to select the experts that write the EIA report for example with respect to experience and education.

Professional bodies

Professional bodies relevant to EIA practice in the country, such as EIA Associations, Environmental Expert Associations, etc are listed here.

  • Vietnam Environmental and Sustainable Development Institute (VESDI)
  • Vietnam Environment Impact Assessment Association (VAFEIA)

EIA links

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Links to laws/regulation

Any relevant links to laws or regulations are included here.

Ho chi minh city government - law on environment

Decree No 29/2011/ND-CP on SEA, EIA and Environmental Protection Committment

 

 

Other relevant links on EIA

Any other relevant links (for example to country specific guidance documents) are included here.

Asian Environmental Compliance and Enforcement Network (AECEN): EIA Compendium Vietnam