The main goal of the program is to build capacity within the Myanmar government for the regulation and inspection on Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs). This project follows up the first analyses and insights that have been acquired by NCEA over the past few months and aims on the one hand on capacity building in the long run and on the other hand on providing tailor-made on-the-job training for projects that are of strategic importance for both Dutch and Myanmar stakeholders in the water and oil & gas sectors.
Improved EIA will contribute to improved decision-making by better integrating environmental concerns and sustainable development principles into public- and private sector funded projects. National and international investors will also benefit from a better performing EIA system, as this enables a level playing field across the country and in the region, and up-front clarity concerning procedural requirements. Through EIA, investors can also demonstrate their level of corporate social responsibility to clients.
The project will be implemented by the Netherlands Commission for Environmental Assessment (NCEA) in close cooperation with other donors and partners in the field providing technical assistance.
Specific objectives and results of this capacity development supporting project are defined as follows:
- Raise awareness and agreement on the strengths and weaknesses, opportunities and threats of the EIA system amongst the main actors: MOECAF (EIA - and inspection division), Consultancy firms, Business sector, NGOs, Donors / development partners. The main activity under this objective is undertaking a joint stakeholder diagnosis of the EIA system.
- Improving the performance of the main actors that are involved in EIA in the oil and gas sector through the development of sector guidelines for EIA for the oil and gas sector, together with the Norwegian Environmental Agency.
- Improving the awareness on the importance / added value of EIA for projects in the water sector within MoT and improve performance on reviewing of EIA for projects in the water sector through.
- During this first phase further activities for a possible second phase will be determined. Such as the development of an action plan for the development of SEA for off shore planning.
As stated above this project will focus on EIA results in both the oil and gas sector and the water sector. The oil and gas sector is selected because the Netherlands has a stake in this sector since Shell acquired gas concessions and they want to comply with Myanmar EIA requirements. Besides it is expected that also Dutch SME’s will play a future role in providing technology and expertise to Myanmar.
The water sector is selected because the Netherlands government is a strategic partner for Myanmar as far as integrated water management is concerned and some pilot projects have already been started. The Netherlands Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment asked the NCEA to advice on EIA for this Bagan project. RVO acknowledged that through the NCEA involvement a good practice pilot EIA could be secured. By involving MOECAF in the preparation of the advice, joint learning was secured as well.
Commission for Environmental Assessment
Activity 1: Diagnosis of the EIA system
According to the donors and MOECAF there is great need for an adequate diagnosis of EIA system performance. They agreed that a condition for EIA mapping is the approval of the EIA law and preferably, some first experiences with applying this law. This latter condition might be a risk for implementation of the EIA mapping in March. Therefor possibly the postponement of the EIA mapping exercise to the second or third quarter of 2015 should be taken into account.
The output will be a joint analysis of the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of EIA performance. This analysis can be used to further develop an EIA capacity development program that is led by MOECAF and that focusses on the issues that are prioritized by MOECAF.
Activity 2: Advice on EIA guidelines for oil and gas sector
In 2014 Myanmar has provided licenses to international oil companies to search of offshore oil and gas fields (mainly gas is expected). MOECAF has asked Norway to help develop sector EIA guidelines for the oil and gas sector. The NCEA has been asked by Norway to advice on the quality of the EIA guidelines for oil and gas sector. The added value of the NCEA is its extensive experience in developing this type of EIA guidelines. A draft of these guidelines will be tested during a training / workshop in Myanmar including a field visit with the responsible authorities.
The output will be a clear advice on the ToR and on the draft EIA sector guidelines for the oil and gas sector. In the end it is expected that the staff of MOECAF and the staff of the Ministry responsible for oil and gas development are using the guidelines, resulting in better quality EIAs in the oil- and gas sector.
Activity 3: Review of the EIA for Bagan project and sharing the lessons learned
Under this project the NCEA will follow-up the initial ToR advice with a review of the EIA for the Bagan project. The working group of experts of the NCEA that will conduct the review will be the same that has prepared an advice on the scope of EIA in the period December 2014 – January 2015. In addition, during a workshop in Myanmar (see activity 4) the involvement of the NCEA during scoping and reviewing of the EIA will be presented as a learning exercise.
The output consists of preliminary review findings discussed with MOECAF and MoT and on a final advisory review report of the draft EIA report for Bagan project which will be made publicly available through the website of RVO and the NCEA themselves.
This will eventually lead to improved awareness at MoT and MOECAF on good practice for reviewing of EIAs in the water sector, illustrated by the EIA for the Bagan project. And to improved understanding by I&M, RVO, FMO and the NCEA on how to better co-ordination between EIA and the economic feasibility study.
Activity 4: Workshop - EIA capacity development in the water sector
The screening and scoping workshop can built upon the experiences gained with EIA for the Bagan project (both the advisory reports by the NCEA and the EIA report itself). During a one day meeting (workshop) the findings of the review of EIA for Bagan will be presented and discussed.
The output will consist of a screening report, including a (preliminary) decision on the need for EIA report for the two pilot Irriwaddy navigability projects in the section Bagan – Mandelay.
In addition MoT staff (and probably MOECAF staff) will have been coached in screening and scoping of these two pilot projects.
This will lead to improved awareness and skills at MoT/DWIR on good practice approaches for screening, scoping and reviewing of EIAs for projects in the water sector.
Activity 5: Project management
This project requires extensive co-ordination with the other partners. All four activities will be organized with one or more partners and will involve the engagement of external experts, including contracting arrangements. In addition it is expected to deliver news items (both in English and Dutch) and a draft program for the second phase starting 2nd half of 2016.