Lao PDR

EIA Procedure
Projects Requiring EIA: 
Government projects
Private Projects
Abridged Assessments: 
Yes
Assessment Detail: 
Investment projects and activities are categorized into: 1) "preliminary environmental impact assessment" for projects that will cause "less or not-severe impacts;" and 2) "comprehensive environmental impact assessment" for projects that will cause "huge or severe impacts." Decree on EIA 2019, Art. 9. See also Art. 10 (describing two forms of environmental impact assessment) and Arts. 11-18 (describing preliminary impact assessment process).
Best Practices in Lieu of EIA: 
No
Who Conducts Screening: 
Government
Who Conducts Screening Detail: 
"Screening of investment projects and activities [must] be based on the grouping list of investment projects and activities in respect of environmental impact assessment." If an activity is not included on the list, "the natural resources and environment sector will do the screening process based on the data of the project or activity." Decree on EIA 2019, Art. 8.
Criteria for Screening: 
List or appendix of project or activity types
Proposed project or activity may cause significant environmental impact
Possible impact to, or adjacent to, a protected area
Criteria for Screening Detail: 
Decree on EIA 2019, Arts. 8, 9
Who Prepares EIA: 
Project Proponent (with or without contractor)
Who Prepares EIA Detail: 
"In preparation of a comprehensive environmental impact assessment report, the project owner must . . . [p]repare the comprehensive environmental impact assessment[.]" Decree on EIA 2019, Art. 22(1).
Who Pays for EIA: 
Project Proponent
Who Pays for EIA Detail: 
The EIA Decree 2019 does not expressly state that the project proponent pays for the EIA, however it can be implied from Article 22, which makes the project proponent responsible for preparing the EIA and associated studies. See also Art. 59(2) (project proponent is responsible for expenses of specialists, field inspections and implementation of the environmental management and monitoring plan).
EIA Contractor Qualifications: 
Yes
EIA Contractor Qualification Detail: 
"Preliminary environmental impact assessment and comprehensive environmental impact assessment must be done by an environmental service provider that is licensed by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment." Decree on EIA 2019, Art. 55
Conflict of Interest: 
Yes
Conflict of Interest Detail: 
"The environmental service provider must carry out [EIA] with transparency, justice, ethics, morality and consistent with the laws and regulations and is responsible for [accuracy] of all data and information and the outcome of its study." Decree on EIA 2019, Art. 55.
Terms of Reference: 
Yes
Terms of Reference Detail: 
The project proponant must "determine the scope of assessment and works that must be done in the comprehensive environmental impact assessment of the project." Decree on EIA 2019, Art 20. Determining the scope of the assessment includes the "collection of basic data on environment of the project to identify the key areas and potential impacts" and determining the scope of the works includes "identification of all tasks that must be done during the environmental impact assessment." Id.
Days for Decision Maker Review: 
25 or 120 days (depending on complexity of project)
Automatic Approval: 
No
Written Decision: 
Yes
Written Decision Detail: 
See Decree on EIA 2019, Arts. 41, 43
Authority to Impose Conditions: 
Yes
Authority to Impose Conditions Details: 
The project owner has the obligation to "perform environmental obligations pursuant to the environmental management and monitoring plan, the compensation plan, relocation and occupational resumption plan, and the specific management plan." Decree on EIA 2019, Art. 59(8). The environmental certificate can be suspended if project owner, "[f]ailed to comply with conditions of environmental management and monitoring plan." Id. at Art. 46(4).
Expiry of Decision: 
Indefinite (with periodic review)
Expiry of Decision Detail: 
"An environmental certificate is valid for the rest period of the project, but the environmental management and monitoring plan must be improved in every two or five years depending on the type of the investment projects and activities." Decree on EIA 2019, Art. 41.
Financial Assurances or Bond: 
Yes
Financial Assurances Detail: 
"An investment project or activity owner shall deposit financial guaranties to restore, remove pollutants and clean the environment affected by its operations, from commencement till completion. Financial guaranties used for restoration cover expenses during installation, operation, and completion or post-completion of activities. The financial guaranties shall be used in case when the operator cannot fulfil its obligations in restoring, correcting, and cleaning the environment, and remunerating damages or expenses related to impacts, as being stipulated by this Law or concession contracts. Environmental Protection Law, Art. 58.
EIA Content
Interdisciplinary Team: 
No
Interdisciplinary Team Detail: 
The EIA Decree 2019 does not specifically require an interdisciplinary team: "Preliminary environmental impact assessment and comprehensive environmental impact assessment must be done by an environmental service provider that is licensed by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment." Decree on EIA 2019, Art. 55.
Range of Alternatives: 
Yes
Range of Alternatives Detail: 
An EIA must include "at least three options in which each option must show key information such as project site, project size and production process, including description on impacts on environment with a comparison of the three options, and (an explanation of) the rationale behind selection of an option." Decree on EIA 2019, Art. 22(5).
No Action Alternative: 
Yes
No Action Alternative Detail: 
"In studying of the options, there must be an option that is not development of the project, and [it] must explain the project’s environmental condition, both benefits and adverse of such option." Decree on EIA 2019, Art. 22(5).
Type(s) of Impact Analysis: 
Direct environmental impacts
Cumulative environmental impacts
Social impacts
Cultural impacts
Health impacts
Economic impacts
Gender equity
Mitigation: 
Yes
Mitigation Detail: 
A management and monitoring plan is prepared separately as an attachment (depending on circumstances). Decree on EIA 2019, Art. 22(6). The plan must contain measures to protect, mitigate and remedy impacts to the environment. Id. at Art. 23.
Monitoring Plans: 
Yes
Monitoring Plans Detail: 
An application for approval of preliminary and comprehensive EIA report requires a monitoring plan. Decree on EIA 2019, Arts. 14(2) & 24(3). “Environmental management monitoring plan” means a plan containing the key environmental and natural tasks, means and measures for protection, mitigation and remedy environmental and social impacts that are provided in the [EIA], as well as implementation, responsibilities, time schedule and sufficient budget for implementation of the plan. Id. at Art. 3(6).
Access to Information
Public Notice of Draft EIA: 
No
Draft EIA Available: 
No
Draft EIA Locations: 
Not available
Public Notice of Final EIA: 
No
Public Notice of Final EIA Detail: 
Lao EIA provisions do not provide clear direction with regard to notifying the public that information is available to review.
Final EIA Available: 
Yes
Final EIA Available Detail: 
Decree on EIA 2019, Art. 27(1)
Final EIA Locations: 
Internet
Local government office
Availability of Reference Studies: 
Yes
Availability of Reference Studies Detail: 
Article 64 of the EIA Decree 2019 declares that the project proponent must "disclose and provide access to the data and information related to the comprehensive environmental impact assessment and the environmental management and monitoring plan (including the outcomes of monitoring). The same article also requires "periodical disclosure to the public of the data and information of the project" through various means.
Public Notice of Final Decision: 
No
Public Notice of Final Decision Detail: 
The Decree on EIA 2019 does not indicate whether the environmental certificate must be published or otherwise disclosed to the public
Public Participation
Public Scoping: 
No
Public Review of TOR: 
No
Public Review of TOR Detail: 
The Ministry of Natural Resource and Environment reviews the proposed scope of EIA and must consult with other concerned ministries, but it is not required to seek public review or input. Decree on EIA 2019, Art. 21.
Public Participation Opportunities: 
Public Meetings and/or public hearings
Review of final EIA
Public Meetings: 
Yes
Public Meetings Detail:: 
During the EIA preparation stage, the project proponent is required to convene"dissemination meetings" about the project development plan, environmental impacts, and benefits of the project. It is not clear whether members of the public are permitted to express their views at these meetings. During the EIA review stage, village/provincial level meetings must be held and affected community members are among those permitted to attend. Again, the Decree is not clear whether the project proponent or ministry officials must solicit and/or consider public views about the project.
Public Input at Meeting: 
Yes
Public Input at Meeting Detail: 
Public meetings are held during the EIA preparation phase and after the EIA is complete. It is not clear whether members of the public may provide opinions or comments during these meetings. See Decree on EIA 2019, Art. 37.
Criteria to Hold Public Meeting: 
Public meeting and/or hearing is automatically required
Days for Public to Review Draft EIA: 
Not specified in law
Days for Public to Review Final EIA: 
50 days
Public Comments on Draft EIA: 
No
Public Comments on Draft EIA Detail: 
Although meetings are held during the EIA preparation process, the Decree suggests that the information flow is one-way only (from project proponent to the public)
Public Comments on Final EIA: 
Yes
Public Comments on Final EIA Detail: 
The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment publishes the EIA on a "website for public opinions [for] fifty working days [from the date of receiving]. Any party that does not provide any comment/opinion within that period of time will be deemed having consented on it." Decree on EIA 2019, Art. 27(1). Consultation meetings are also convened for "concerned parties" at the district level and "concerned sectors" at the provincial level. Comments from these meetings are then gathered and submitted to the project proponent to incorporate into the revised application. Id. at Art. 27(2-5).
Response to Public Comments: 
No
Response to Public Comments Detail: 
There are no provisions in the EIA Decree 2019 requiring decisionmakers to take public comments into account. Note the following provision: A condition for the issuance of approval for an EIA is that the report must "(h)ave been approved by divisions, local administration and the majority of the people affected by the investment projects and activities." Decree on EIA 2019, Art. 43(3).
Facilitation of Public Participation: 
Yes
Facilitation of Public Participation Detail: 
"Project owners must make a public involvement plan in environmental impact assessment in each phase, as well as making public involvement analysis, particularly involvement of ethic minority, the gender equality, the people who cannot help themselves, and disadvantaged people that are affected by the investment project and activities." Decree on EIA 2019, Art. 36.
Judicial Review/Enforcement
Citizen Administrative Review: 
No
Citizen Judicial Review: 
Yes
Citizen Judicial Review Detail: 
"In the case there is a dispute on environmental impact assessment, a party may file with the [competent] people’s court for adjudication in accordance with the [relevant] law." Decree on EIA 2019, Art. 72.
Project Monitoring: 
Yes
Project Monitoring Detail: 
An application for approval of preliminary and comprehensive EIA report requires a monitoring plan. Decree on EIA 2019, Art. 14(2) & 24(3). Project owners must "perform environmental obligations pursuant to the environmental management and monitoring plan, the compensation plan, relocation and occupational resumption plan, and the specific management plan;" Id. at Art. 59(8). Articles 80-82 discuss inspection by government agencies.
Enforceability of EIA: 
Yes
Enforceability of EIA Detail: 
Affected parties have a right "[t]o request the project owner or complain to the concerned State’s organization for solution of environmental impacts caused by the investment project [or] activity that is not lawful and unfair; [and] . . .[t]o exercise other rights as provided by the laws and regulations." Decree on EIA 2019, Art. 56(6-7). Further, the project owners have a duty to "solve the complaints submitted by those who are affected by the investment project [or] activity" Id. at 59(9). See also Arts. 70-71 (dispute resolution concerning environmental impacts and damage).
Enforceability of Permit: 
Yes
Enforceability of Permit Detail: 
Affected parties have a right "[t]o request the project owner or complain to the concerned State’s organization for solution of environmental impacts caused by the investment project [or] activity that is not lawful and unfair; [and] . . .[t]o exercise other rights as provided by the laws and regulations." Decree on EIA 2019, Art. 56(6-7). Further, the project owners have a duty to "solve the complaints submitted by those who are affected by the investment project [or] activity" Id. at 59(9). See also Arts. 70-71 (dispute resolution concerning environmental impacts and damage).
Modified: August 8th, 2022