Charter to boost people’s voice on the environment

Bangkok Post ฉบับวันที่ 17 ธันวาคม พ.ศ. 2557

APINYA WIPATAYOTIN
The new constitution will empower people to protect their right to live in a healthy environment and manage their own resources, says an environmental scientist who is a member of the charter drafting committee.
Environmental advocate Buntoon Srethasirote said the draft will seek to give local communities the right to participate in public hearings, and to set their own policies to develop natural resources such as river basins.
He said the new charter will be designed to protect communities from state policies, projects or any other activities that violate their rights.
The protections are part of changes that would require strategic environmental assessments (SEAs) of state projects to ensure they comply with sustainable development. The law also seeks to reform the National Environment Board’s decision-making to ensure it follows good governance.
Any harmful project must undergo an environment and health impact assessment study (EHIA) and be reviewed by the Independent Commission on Environment and Health.
“We will go further than the previous constitution,” Mr Buntoon told a recent seminar. “We will require the participation of local people until a project is completed.” People’s assemblies consisting of local administrative organisations, NGOs and other local agencies will design policies for sustainable development.

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