Policy Review QIV/2011, English Edition

During the last quarter of 2011, many important events and policies related to environmental protection, climate change, and efficient use of natural resources were discussed and decided. At the global level, one of the most significant events is the 17th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP-17), which was taking place from November 28th to December 11th, 2011 in Durban, South Africa. Meanwhile, in Vietnam, the Government has promulgated important strategies for combating climate change and governing mineral resources.

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Policy Review QIII/2011, English Edition

In the 3rd quarter of 2011, more than 50 legal and administrative documents on natural resources, environmental management and sustainable development in Vietnam were released by government agencies. Main issues addressed by these documents include plans, proposals and measures in forest protection, planning of key national parks, institutionalizing technical tools for environmental management, tightening mining management, energy saving and adopting new administrative penalties, taxes and fees for natural resources and environmental management.

Policy Review – Quarter II/2011

During the second quarter of 2011, 51 legal documents related to natural resources and environment sector were either promulgated or put into effect. Most of these documents focus on environmental management and pollution control. Noticeably, the Decree No.29/2011/ND-CP was promulgated on the 18th of April, 2011 providing strategic environment assessment, environmental impact assessment and commitment to environment protection.

The Decree No.29/2011/ND-CP came into effect on June 5th 2011, and replaces various articles related to strategic environment assessment (SEA), environmental impact assessment (EIA) and commitment to environment protection in Decree No.80/2006/ND-CP and Decree No.21/2008/ND-CP. Overall, this decree is one of the efforts made by the government to tighten regulations on environmental impact assessment for development projects.

The new decree has changed the minimum scale and size of various projects on the list subject to the implementation of EIA. Some typical examples include hydropower projects with a reservoir capacity over 100,000 m3 (while the old regulation required a minimum capacity of over 300,000 m3), solid mineral mining projects with a capacity over 50,000 m3 per year (while the old regulation was over 100,000 m3 per year), and all cement product projects (the previous regulation required a minimum of 300,000 tons per year).

In addition, there are changes in the appraisal and approval process of EIA reports. According to the old regulations, the responsibilities of appraisal and approval of EIA reports were only given to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MONRE) or the Provincial People’s Committees. However, in the new legislation, depending on each specific project, these responsibilities will be delegated to other ministries. For examples, the Ministry of Defense and the Ministry of Public Security will appraise all projects related to security and defense while MONRE has the authority to appraise 11 other types of projects, including oil refining, land reclamation, hazardous waste and nuclear electricity projects.

While the Decree No.29/2011/ND-CP has provided strict adjustments made in the implementation of environmental impact assessment, corporate responsibilities and community consultation in the project development process, it still remains flawed. In particular, the entrustment of other ministries, ministerial and governmental agencies with the authority to appraise EIA reports of their own projects will make it difficult to ensure the objectiveness of the appraisal process. (For more details, please see page 6 of this Policy Review).

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First Edition of the Policy Review

Policy Review is a publication of People and Nature Reconciliation (PanNature) covering natural resources, the environment and sustainable development in Vietnam. Each quarter, we manage to update and provide relevant information to organizations and individuals who are interested in the making, drafting, promulgation and enforcement processes of Vietnam’s natural resources and environmental laws and policies.

The Policy Review will be published in Vietnamese and English. We will provide a limited number of hard-copies to interested organizations and individuals. Preferably, we will send the electronic version to those who sign up for our newsletters via email. Furthermore, the Policy Review will be posted on PanNature’s website for public access.

During the first quarter of 2011, there are 42 legal documents related to the natural resources and environment sector promulgated or put into effect. These documents focus on institution and finance in the natural resources and environment sector; environmental management and environmental pollution; forest management; biodiversity; mineral resource management; water resource management; and climate change.

We hope to receive feedback, suggestions and comments regarding this edition so that we can improve the quality of our next newsletter. PanNature is also willing to publish articles, policy analysis, and discussion concerning natural resources-environment-sustainable development issues from readers in our newsletter, as well as on our daily news website ThienNhien.Net.

Download the full copy of the Policy Review in English (PDF, 1.72 MB).

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