In line with its rapidly transforming economy, thousands of development proposals undergo Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) in Vietnam each year. Since its inception in 1993, Vietnam's EIA system has undergone numerous amendments via a suite of legislative reforms to the Law on Environmental Protection (LEP) and its associated Circulars and Decrees, a testament to the Government's will to improve environmental performance. Here we evaluate the effectiveness of Vietnam's EIA system through a unique empirical study focusing on those engaged in the EIA system undertaken in Hanoi in 2016 comprising 20 semi-structured interviews with respondents from government, NGOs, academia, and industry. By evaluating the effectiveness of the EIA system in Vietnam from the stakeholder perspective, this paper aims to identify where, how, and why the EIA system is effective or otherwise. Stakeholders vary in their perceptions of the system. Those external to it identified several inhibiting characteristics. Results suggest that like other developing countries and jurisdictions, Vietnam's EIA procedural performance falls short of EIA goals. Criticisms of discordant dual planning law and environmental management laws, fragmented decision making, conflicts of interest in appraisal committee appointments, and information deprivation that impedes public participation suggest that like other developing countries and jurisdictions, Vietnam's EIA performance, in practice, faces several challenges that potentially undermine its role in environmental protection.
- Developing countries
- Environmental impact assessment (EIA) system