Laos discusses public participation in environmental impact assessment VIENTIANE, Oct. 24 (Xinhua) -- Lao government held a consultation on regional guidelines to ensure public participation in environment impact assessment (EIA) processes in capital Vientiane on Monday. More than 100 representatives from the private sector, companies, communities, civil society organizations, government agencies, and environmental impact assessment consulting firms gathered at the public consultation to provide feedback on the draft regional guidelines on public participation in EIA processes as a way to ensure that these processes involve communities. The opinions from participants will help improve an effort that is seen by many as critical for the region to address the environmental and social impacts of the growing array of regional development projects such as dams, mines, power plants and industrial zones. The consultation is part of a series being held across all of the lower Mekong countries of Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam throughout October. This provides investors, environmental impact assessment practitioners, communities, non-governmental organizations, governmental departments and others with the ability to review and provide feedback on the draft guidelines, according to Saynakhone Inthavong, Director of Planning and Cooperation Department under Lao Ministry of Natural Resource and Environment. The draft guidelines are also available for public feedback via an online platform through Oct. 31. After the period for public comments, the working group will revise the guidelines based on the input received by the public. Once finalized, the work will turn to ensuring these guidelines are implemented by developers and used by governments to complement and improve national policies and practices, Saynakhone was quoted by Lao state-run news agency KPL as saying. The draft Regional Guidelines on Public Participation in EIA have been collaboratively developed by the Regional Technical Working Group (RTWG) on EIA comprised of 25 government and non-government members from Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam. Formed in August 2015, the RTWG on EIA provides a multi-stakeholder platform for regional collaboration to strengthen the policy and practice of EIA and to enhance cooperation for inclusive and sustainable development of the region. The RTWG on EIA is comprised of a diverse group of non-government, civil society and government representatives from 10 ministries across the five lower Mekong countries. Enditem
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