PhD candidate Aeng Phaengsuwan recently gave a progress seminar as part of his PhD research. Aeng’s research explores the efficacy of EIA as an assessment tool in the hydropower development processes in Laos. An abstract of his research is below.
“This study evaluates the performance of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) system in the context of sustainable hydropower development in Laos. The study is conducted through a comprehensive evaluation framework which includes the legislative, institutional and procedural components of the EIA system. The performance of these components is critically examined and analysed through the concepts of “EIA effectiveness” and “sustainability”. The study uses hydropower development projects as a case study to explore the degree to which the EIA system is effective and to what extent the EIA system has helped hydropower development projects to work towards sustainability.
The initial findings of this study indicate that the effectiveness of the EIA system is not solely reliant on the procedural and legal effectiveness, but also the adequate capacity of the institutions to enforce the EIA system. In addition, the study finds that in theory, the EIA systems do play a key role in supporting sustainability of the development projects. In practice, however, the effectiveness of the EIA systems in particular in less developed countries like Laos has been affected by several factors such as weak law enforcement, insufficient financial resources and lack of human capital.”