Environmental Compliance and Enforcement in Indonesia

This study is a 2008 assessment of the status of environmental compliance in Indonesia.

Authors and sponsors include: United States Agency of International Development, the Indonesian Center for Environmental Law, the State Ministry of Environment (MoE), and the Asian Environmental Compliance and Enforcement Network.

Summary: The study was performed to help Indonesia assess what challenges the country faced when it came to environmental issues, and how to set priorities for improving environmental compliance and enforcement in Indonesia. The study aimed to identify strengths and weaknesses in Indonesia’s laws concerning environmental compliance and enforcement, in order to assess areas that offer an opportunity for strategic intervention. Authors assess key challenges and provide several recommendations.

Key Findings include recommendations to:

  • Increase national government funding for compliance and enforcement
  • Develop a system of supervision within the Ministry of Environment
  • Increase the capacity of the MoE to perform inspection and compliance monitoring

Download the full report.

Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Regulations in Myanmar

Myanmar is a country in Southeast Asia with a population of over 54 million. The country is extremely biodiverse, and has some of the largest natural ecosystems that are fully intact in Southeast Asia. However, these areas are threatened by human activities like urbanization. In recent years, the government has taken action to help protect Myanmar’s ecosystems, including the creation of a set of legal requirements for environmental impact assessments (EIA).

In 2012, the government of Myanmar introduced the Environment Conservation Law, which included a draft of procedural laws for how environmental impact assessments (EIA) should be conducted. In 2015, Myanmar’s Ministry of Environmental Conservation and Forestry issued a formal procedure.

Chapter II explains the purpose of the law: to require anyone building factories or undertaking business projects that may have environmental impact must undertake an EIA that follows the requirements laid out in the Procedure.

“Pursuant to Section 21 of the Law and Articles 52, 53 and 55 of the Rules, all Projects and Project Expansions undertaken by any ministry, government department, organization, corporation, board, development committee, local government or authority, company, cooperative, institution, enterprise, firm, partnership or individual (and/or all Projects, field sites, factories and businesses including Expansions of such Projects, field sites, factories and businesses identified by the Ministry, which may cause impact on environmental quality and are required to get Prior Permission in accordance with Section 21 of the Law, and Article 62 of the Rules and Annex 1 ‘Categorization of Economic Activities for Assessment Purposes’) having the potential to cause Adverse Impacts, are required to undertake IEE or EIA or, subject to Articles 8, 9, 10 and 11, to develop an EMP, and to obtain an ECC in accordance with this Procedure.”

Read the full text: Myanmar’s EIA Procedure


EIA in Myanmar” –  This infographic from the World Bank provides a timeline of the introduction of EIA regulations in Myanmar.

Myanmar EIA Public Participation Guidelines” – The Vermont Law School provides an overview of how the 2015 Guideline came to fruition in its final form.

Pushback Against Rampal Coal Plant’s Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)

In 2016, the government of Bangladesh set out to create a coal-fired power plant in Rampal, an area in Bangladesh near the Sundarbans, the world’s largest grove of mangroves. The project was jointly backed by state-run power companies of Bangladesh and India. The project raised much criticism due to concerns about the possibility of the coal plant causing large amounts of ecological damage to the Sundarbans.

Source: Vajiram AIS Study Center

Bangladesh is the eighth-most populous country in the world, and lies east of India. The country is extremely famous for the Sundarbans, an area on the southern coast of Bangladesh bordering eastern India.  The area is a national park and world heritage site, as well as a preserve for bengal tigers. Additionally, mangroves, the main type of tree found in the Sundarbans, are an extremely important plant ecologically, as their roots help bind soil and reduce coastal erosion.

Source: Nature.org

The proposed coal plant in Rampal raised much public outcry, mainly focused on critiques of the EIA (environmental impact assessment) conducted by the ministry of energy. Critics argued that the proper laws governing how an EIA should be conducted were not followed. Despite concern about the proximity to the Sundarbans, the government did not consider alternative sites for the plant. Not only did the EIA ignore environmental concerns, but it did not take local people’s concerns into consideration.

Critiques of Chevron’s 2012 Port Construction Plan in Thailand

In 2012, fuel-giant Chevron planned construction of a port in Thailand’s Tha Sala district. This plan was strongly opposed by local residents such as fishermen, as they argued that it would hurt their ability to make a living.

Chevron’s port plan was intended to help the company in its oil drilling operations in the Gulf of Thailand. While the Office of Natural Resources and Environmental Policy and Planning (ONEP) approved the plan’s environmental health impact assessment (EHIA), the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) filed a complaint against the construction approval. The NHRC argued that the EHIA report is inaccurate.

Residents of the area strongly opposed the original EHIA, and created their own community health impact assessment with the aid of another researcher, which was also submitted to the ONEP.

In addition to these threats to livelihood, the project also threatened many marine species.

No EIA. Johor Coastal Reclamation Projects Underway

In 2014 Johor, which lies just East of Singapore started two massive land reclamation projects at 1,410 hectares and 1,817 hectares located in the Johor Straits.

Johor is a state in Malaysia which borders Singapore.

Location of the Johor state in Malaysia.
A closer look – The Johor Strait which borders Singapore.

Why was this a project of concern?

Malaysia did not provide an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) before breaking ground. Conducting and providing an EIA is standard practice and allows for all potentially affected parties to evaluate the cost and benefit of the project (primarily from an ecological standpoint). When projects are moved forward without a proper EIA and the consideration of comments from interested parties, it jeopardizes shared resources.

In the case of the Johor Straits, there is a coastal ecosystem at stake.

Reporting on the Johor Straits project suggests the Malaysia Department of Environment (DOE) was non-responsive to requests for information about the project and its lack of EIA.

Decarbonizing from China’s biggest players

China’s most carbon intensive industries are planning to cut down on their carbon emissions. Since September 2020 when President Xi Jinping announced that China would aim to peak emissions before 2030 and reach carbon neutrality by 2060, some of China’s biggest companies have committed to new climate targets to meet that national goal.

The 3 highest emitting industries in China are:

  1. Electricity
  2. Steel
  3. Cement

You can get good expert insights from this podcast episode: