Profile General | EIA profile | SEA profile
See also Webpages (2) | Projects (1) | Library (14)

SEA profile

Updated to: 09 October 2013

Download as PDF

SEA background

to the top

Country contact on SEA

Contact details for the country contact on SEA.

Senior SEA Expert MoNRE:
83 Nguyen Chi Thanh - Dong Da - Ha Noi
Tel: (84-4) 8 343 911
Fax: (84-4) 8 359 211

Country's planning system

Brief description of planning practice, specifically whether it take place more often at centralised or decentralised level, what kind of national level planning and sectoral planning takes place, etc.

 Planning is mostly done and regulated at the National level by the Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI). Most significant development projects must gain investment licensing approval from the MPI. In Vietnam, EIA is applying for project level, no matter its size, project type and financial investment while SEA is applying for strategy, programs and plans.

Doberstein B (2003) Environmental capacity-building in a transitional economy: the emergence of EIA capacity in Viet Nam. Impact Assessment and Project Appraisal, volume 21, number 1, pages 25–42. SEA Baseline, SIDA (2013)

History of SEA

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

Vietnam has introduced and is practicing SEA.The Vietnamese system was established through a comprehensive SEA requirement in the 2005 Law on Environmental protection. This law requires SEA to be undertaken by planning authorities as an integral part of elaboration of a wide range of strategies and plans at national, inter-provincial and provincial levels. MoNRE has issued a decree and circulars that stipulate detailed procedural requirement and it has encouraged sector agencies to develop their own guidance for SEA application. In order to support uptake of SEA, MoNRE has also established a mechanism for donor coordination on SEA matters. Donors are therefore particularly active in this area.

Summary Report on workshops and meeting of OECD DAC Environet Task Team on SEA. Hanoi Vietnam, 3-6 December 2008

Legal framework for SEA

to the top

Framework/Enabling law

Name of first enabling legislation that sets the framework for SEA.

The Law on Environmental Protection is the enabling legislation that sets framework for SEA.

Approving authority of enabling law

The authority that approved the enabling law for SEA.


First national detailed SEA regulation

First national detailed regulation (procedural requirements) for SEA, through which SEA was operationalized.

In several decrees and circulars the procedural and institutional arrangement for SEA have been elaborated:

  • Decree No. 92/2006/ND-CP of September 7, 2006 on the elaboration, approval and management of master plans on socio-economic development.
  • Decree No. 140/2006/ND-CP by the Government dated on 22 November 2006 on “Regulations for establishment, appraisal, approval and organization of implementing of strategies, planning, plans, programmes and development projects”.
  • Circular No. 06/2007/TT-BKH, of Ministry of Planning and Investment, dated 27th August, 2007 “Instruction for implementing Decree No. 140/2006/ND-CP”.
  • Decision No. 13/2006/QD-BTNMT, of MONRE, dated 8 September 2006 on “Regulation on organization and operation of Appraisal Council of SEA and Appraisal Council of EIA reports”.
  • Decree No. 21/2008/ND-CP of the Government, dated 28 February, 2008 on “Amendment and Supplement of some Articles in No. 80/2006/NÐ-CP on “Detailed Regulations and Guidelines for Implementing Some Articles of Environmental Protection Law”.
  • Decree No. 29/2011/ND-CP dated on 18/04/2011 replaces the provisions on strategic environmental assessment (SEA), environmental impact assessment (EIA), is committed to environmental protection (CKBVMT) Decree 80 /2006/ND-CP and Decree 21/2008/ND-CP.
  • Circular No. 26/2011/TT-BTNMT regulates in details the implementation of the Decree 29/2011/ND-CP dated on 18/04/2011 on SEA, EIA and EPC (environmental protection commitment).

SEA Baseline Sida (2013)

Sector specific procedures/regulations

Any existing sectoral procedure/regulations are listed here, as well as the authority that issued each.

SEA procedures/Regulations in construction sector:

For Construction Planning:

  • Law on Construction, No. 16/2003/QH11 of the Government and dated November 26, 2003.
  • Decree No. 08/2005/ND-CP of the Government, dated on 24 January 2005 on “Construction Planning”.
  • Circular No.07/2008/TT-BXD of MOC, dated on 07 April 2008 on “Guidelines for Formulation, Appraisal, Approval and Management of Construction Plan”.
  • Decision No.03/2008/QD-BXD of Minister of Construction, dated on 31 March 2008 on “Contents of Maps and Reports for Construction Planning”.

For Urban Planning:

  • Urban Planning Law, No.30/2009/QH12 dated on 17 June 2009.
  • Decree No.37/2010/ND-CP of the Government, dated on 7 April 2010 on “Conducting, Appraisal, Approval and Management of Urban Planning”.
  • Circular No.10/2010/TT-BXD of MOC, dated on 11 August 2010 on “Stipulation of contents of urban planning types”.
  • Circular No.01/2011/TT-BXD of MOC, dated on 27 January 2011 on “Guidelines for SEA for construction/urban planning projects”

SEA procedures/Regulations in agriculture sector:

There is no specific SEA regulation issued by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD)

Nature conservation / biodiversity conservation is one among working areas that MARD is responsible for. No specific EIA/SEA for this sub-sector as well.

SEA Baselines Sida (2013)


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

MONRE is leading agency in development of general SEA technical guidelines, and some specific SEA guideline in the working areas that are responsible by MONRE. Listed below are these guidelines:

  • Vietnam-Sweden SEMLA General Technical Guidelines on SEA issued for wide use and pilot testing
  • Vietnam-Sweden SEMLA Specific Technical Guidelines for SEA in Industrial Planning drafted
  • Vietnam-Sweden SEMLA Specific Technical Guidelines for SEA in Land-use Planning drafted.

In adoption of MONRE SEA technical guidelines, there are some sectoral guidelines have been developed with external support from donors, such as:

  • Technical guidelines for SEA of urban plans, developed under DANIDA supported project to Ministry of Construction in 2009. The 3rd edition of the guidelines published in 2011.
  • Technical guideline for Integrated Climate Change consideration in SEA of urban plans is developing, under the project supported by NCF the Ministry of Construction.

There is not yet a specific SEA technical guideline on any MARD’s responsible working area.

SEA Baseline Sida (2013)

Objective SEA

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

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

SEA Baseline Sida (2013)

Scope of SEA application

Describes for which planning processes (at policy, programme and plan level) SEA is required.

SEA under current law covers planning and programming and strategy. Policies are not covered.

Developed proposals for which SEA is always required include:

1. National socio-economic development strategies, planning and plans.

2. Strategies and plans for development of branches or sectors on a national scale.

3. Socio-economic development strategies, planning and plans of provincial level or regions.

4. Plans for land use, forest protection and development; exploitation and utilization of other natural resources in inter-provincial or inter-regional areas.

5. Plans for development of key economic regions.

6. Planning of inter-provincial river watersheds.

SEA Baseline Sida (2013)

Exemptions from SEA application

Are any specific types of plans explicitly excluded from SEA application?

No information

SEA approach

Describes the current overall SEA approach. Specifically: Has the country's SEA procedure been modeled on the existing EIA approach? Or has a separate SEA approach been developed?

Vietnam is following the approach that has been applied in EU countries.

SEA Baseline Sida (2013)

SEA tiering with EIA

Are there any provisions for tiering of EIA and SEA?

The proponent is required, as part of the SEA report, to give direction for EIA during the project preparation phase, to give an indication of technical and organisational measures to solve environmental problems (should they occur) and to develop a program on environmental monitoring and implementation.

SEA Baseline Sida (2013)

Institutional setting for SEA

to the top

Central SEA authority

Is there a central authority in charge of the SEA system as a whole, responsible for issuing guidelines etc? If so, is it independent or linked to a higher body (e.g. ministry)?

Department of Environment Impact Assessment and Appraisal (EIA&A) – Vietnam Environment Administration (VEA) of Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MoNRE) is the central SEA authority.

SEA Baseline Sida (2013)

Mandate for exemption of SEA obligation

Is there a legal mandate for a competent authority to make exemptions of SEA obligation? If yes, under which conditions (e.g. national security, disasters or no conditions/when deemed necessary)?

No information

(De)centralisation of SEA mandates

Are SEA mandates (de)centralised? Vertical decentralization refers to the extent to which the responsibility for SEA processes is delegated by the central government to the provincial or local authorities. Sectoral or horizontal decentralization refers to the reassignment of decision-making authority on SEA to government units on a sectoral basis.

There is vertical decentralisation with SEA responsibility on decisions to establish SEA appraisal councils delegated to MoNRE, other ministries, Government bodies and Provincial People's Committees.

SEA Baseline Sida (2013)

Initiator of the SEA

Who initiates the SEA? Should the plan owner initiate and undertake the SEA or is an environmental authority responsible for undertaking the SEA. If an authority is responsible, which authority and at which level?

The plan owner (proponent) is responsible for the SEA and is supposed to initiate it at the same time as the formulation of the project.

SEA Baseline Sida (2013)

SEA procedure

to the top

Establishing context

Screening requirement and authority

Is a formal screening decision required? And if so, which authority is responsible for this decision? Is the decision published?

There is no specific guidance detailing screening. However, a list of plans and strategies that should undergo SEA is provided in LEP, 2005.

Screening process

Describes the screening process for SEA (if any), who is involved and who is responsible. What kind documentation on the SEA needs to be submitted for screening?

There is no specific guidance detailing screening. However, a list of plans and strategies that should undergo SEA is provided in LEP, 2005.

Law No: 52-2005-QH11 on Protection of Environment, 2005 (Article 14)

Timeline Screening

Maximum number of (working) days between submission of the screening request and the screening decision.

Not specified.

Identification of stakeholders

Are stakeholders identified early on in the SEA? Who is responsible for identifying the stakeholders? Is a communication plan developed (addressing public and government engagement, disclosure, etc?).

A guideline for identification of stakeholders is provided. The proponent is required to set up working groups that consist of experts on environment with relevant qualifications. The working group is required to identify other relevant stakeholders including public representatives to obtain their comments.

Setting SEA objectives

Is there an early discussion on the objectives for the SEA (i.e. How it will support planning, how it will be integrated into the planning process)? Which stakeholders are involved? Are the outcomes of this discussion documented?

There is no specific guidance for setting objectives.

Implementing the SEA

Scoping process

Is there a distinct scoping process? Who is responsible? Who is involved? What methods (if any) are prescribed (overlays, matrices, etc)?

The plan owner set up working groups which includes environmental specialists and relevant scientists.

Dusik, J. and Le Hoai Nam (2009) Status of SEA in Vietnam (unpublished).

Participation in scoping

If here is distinct scoping, is participation part of this process? Who is involved and how?

Experts with relevant qualifications for the particular SEA are involved mainly for advisory purposes. Authorized leaders are sometime invited in this step.

SEA Baseline Sida (2013)

Outcome of scoping

What are the expected outcomes of the scoping? e.g. decision criteria and suitable indicators of desired outcomes identified? If a ToR/scoping document is produced, what are the content requirements if any? Is the ToR reviewed? Is the outcome widely available?

Scoping methods:

There are no prescribed scoping methods. However, a general technical guidance for SEA suggest the use of trends analysis in addition to other participatory approaches like checklists, expert judgement, SWOT, matrices, networks and flow diagrams, spatial analyses: overall maps and GIS, Delphi technique, modelling and multi-criteria analysis.

Outcome of scoping:

There is no elaborate procedure for scoping, but it is stated that project scope should include spatial and temporal aspects such as geographical configurations, project length etc and operational aspects.

SEA Baseline Sida (2013)

Baseline data

Are there any specific requirements for data collection (for example, on protected areas)?

Methods for data baselines collection:

  • Take sampling if data is not available.
  • Secondary data collection from related stakeholders (e.g Provincial DONRE)

SEA Baselines Sida (2013)


Are there any requirements for the alternatives to be considered in the SEA? How should alternatives be selected, ranked, compared?

There are no specific requirements for alternatives to be considered.

Assessment/mitigation of effects

What are the specific requirements for assessment and mitigation of impacts as part of SEA? Any specific methods prescribed?

Prescribed methods for assessing impacts include assessment in terms of causes (e.g. those related to or not related to waste, possible risks) and the objects of the impact. Each impact is assessed at very detailed extend in terms of degree, scope and time.

Circular No. 08/2006/TT-BTMT On guidance for Strategic Environemntal Assessment Environmental Impact Assessment and Environmental Protection (Appendix 1 Chapter 3.2)

Institutional analysis

Is the institutional setting for implementation of the plan analysed? Is there explicit attention for the identification of opportunities to strengthen environmental constituencies?

No clear information

Content of SEA report

If documentation is required, what should be contained in the SEA report?

  • General introduction (activity profile, legal and technical basis for the SEA, organization and implementation of SEA;
  • overview of objectives, scope and nature of environmental related activities;
  • general description of natural, economic, social and environmental conditions relating to projects (natural and environmental condition, economic and social conditions;
  • estimation of possible negative impacts to the environment during activity implementation (causes of impacts, objects and scope of impacts, changing trend of natural, environmental, economic and social condition, assessment on the consistency between the activity viewpoints and targets and those of the environmental protection;
  • bibliography of data sources and assessment methods;
  • general direction and measures to solve environmental problems during proposed activity implementation;
  • conclusion and recommendation on impacts, the appropriation of viewpoints and targets and on activity approval.

The contents of SEA report are specified in Appendix 1.3, Circular 26.

SEA review

Describes the requirements for SEA review. Specifically: Who reviews the SEA? An independent body? Environmental Authority? Is the review approach similar to EIA review in the country?

Though the mechanisms are not specified, Strategic, Plans and Programs (SPPs) to be approved by National Assembly, Central Government and the Prime Minister are reviewed by MoNRE. SPPs to be approved by line Ministries are reviewed by Ministries. SPPs to be approved by provinces’ government are reviewed by provinces’ government.

SEA Baseline Sida (2013)

Timeline review

What is the timeline given for the review of the SEA, in (working) days?

45 days.

Government’s Decree No. 80/2006/ND-CP of 9 August 2006 detailing and guiding the implementation of a number of articles of the Law on Environmental Protection

Informing and influencing decision-making

SEA and planning decision-making

What is the formal role of SEA in decision-making on the plan? Is SEA approval needed before a planning decision can be made?

After review the SEA report, the SEA review agency (MONRE, for example) will send an  official statement of results to agency who has authorize for approval of programs, plans and strategies (the Prime Minister, for example), including recommendations for consideration and decision on the approval of the program, plan or strategy.

SEA Baseline Sida (2013)

Recommendations for decision-making

How are the results of the SEA and participation translated into recommendations for decision-making on the plan?

Recommendations are given as part of the final SEA report.

Justification of decision

Does policy/programme/plan adoption decision-making have to be justified on the basis of the SEA?

The results of the SEA is considered as a ground for approval of a specific plan/program.

Law No: 52-2005-QH11 on Protection of Environment, 2005 (Article 17-6)


Monitoring requirement

Is there a requirement for implementation of decisions to be monitored? What is the role of SEA outcomes in this monitoring? What provisions exits for action to be undertaken if environmental problems occur?

Monitoring is a requirement. The proponent is required, as part of the SEA report to give an environmental monitoring and management program whose contents include:

  • location, organizations, and methods of implementation;
  • coordination modes among agencies during implementation;
  • reporting regime to give direction for EIA during project preparation phase, give an indication of technical and organisational measures to solve environmental problems should they occur and to develop a program on environmental monitoring and implementation.

Government’s Decree No. 80/2006/ND-CP of 9 August 2006 detailing and guiding the implementation of a number of articles of the Law on Environmental Protection.

Evaluation requirement

Is there a formal requirement to evaluate the SEA? Similarly, to evaluate plan implementation before the next round of plan development? Are the two connected in this SEA system?

No information.

SEA practice

to the top

Annual no. of SEAs

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

Several dozen of SEAs are reviewed annually by MONRE, excluding sector or provincial SEA review cases.

SEA Baseline Sida (2013)

Practice reviews

Any SEA 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 B (2003) Environmental capacity-building in a transitional economy: the emergence of EIA capacity in Viet Nam. Impact Assessment and Project Appraisal, volume 21, number 1, pages 25–42.
  • Dusik J and Le Hoai Nam (2009) Status of SEA in Vietnam (unpublished).

Capacity development

Sets out any ongoing training programmes (including professional and academic training) and major training events held in the past (with focus on recent events).


  • From September 2006 till December 2008 NCEA has been a member of the Technical Advisory Panel (TAP) of the Core Environmental Programme of the Greater Mekong sub-region. The objective of this programme is poverty reduction and protection of biodiversity in denominated economic corridors in the region. NCEA provided guidance on three SEAs, all since finalised. The TAP was dissolved in 31 December 2008.
  • National SEA Trainig-of-Trainer Programme (SDC, GTZ, Sida) (2008-2009): Comprehensive General Training Material on SEA completed (English and Vietnamese version); Core competencies of 31 national SEA trainers developed and; Informal network of SEA trainers established; 2-day training workshop on SEA have been conducted by the trainers for about 30 people of each group from planning and investment, agriculture and rural development, transportation, construction sectors and selected lecturers from academic group.
  • Denmark Vietnam Development Cooperation in Environment Programme (DCE): Specific Technical Guidelines on SEA for Urban Construction Planning drafted for wide use and pilot testing; National SEA training program for MOC sector to be developed in cooperation with National SEA Training Programme.
  • SIDA assisted in the development of MoNRE General Technical Guidelines for SEA, provided resources for training on the guideline as well as SEA awareness raising and an extensive pilot testing of SEA in land-use planning and socio-economic planning and industrial planning

Pilot SEA

  • GTZ RioPlus programme and Tam Dao Buffer-zone Management Project (2000-2005); SEA review workshop for key ministries and national SEA trainers; SEA of Vinh Phuc province SEDP for period of 2010-2015 (DONRE).
  • ADB and Danida support SEA pilot testing and elaboration of specific guidelines in key ministries responsible for hydropower planning; construction and urban development; investment planning; rural development; and fisheries.
  • World Bank supported MPI to carry out pilot strategic environmental assessment (SEA) of the Socio- Economic Development Master Plan for Red River Delta to 20202.
  • World Bank supported VNForest (former Forestry Directorate) of Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development in doing Prior SEA for Vietnam Forestry Master Plan 2010-20203.
  • There are more pilot SEA under management of government, ministries, and sector, such as planning and investment with SEA of Quang Nam Province SEDP; construction and urban plan sector with seven pilots SEA of urban development related plans, such as city development plan, city waster management plan, etc.

SEA Baselines Sida (2013)

SEA links

to the top

Links to laws/regulation

Links to relevant SEA laws or regulations.