Transboundary Environmental Governance in Asia

Transboundary Environmental Governance in Asia

Practice and Prospects with the UNECE Agreements

Simon Marsden and Elizabeth Brandon

A comprehensive overview of treaty implementation and compliance concerning transboundary environmental governance in Asia is provided in this timely book. Recent United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) membership by Asian states in the Caucasus and Central Asia has shifted focus on environmental governance away from its Euro-centric roots and placed Asia at the forefront of discussion. The focus of this book is centred on the five UNECE treaties: Public Participation, Environmental Impact Assessment, Industrial Accidents, Water and Air Pollution. Twelve related protocols are discussed including Pollutant Release and Transfer Registers, Strategic Environmental Assessment, Civil Liability, Water and Health, and Air Pollutants.

Chapter 4: The Environmental Impact Assessment Convention and Strategic Environmental Assessment Protocol

Simon Marsden and Elizabeth Brandon

Subjects: asian studies, asian law, environment, environmental law, law - academic, asian law, environmental law, public international law, regulation and governance


The Convention on Environmental Impact Assessment in a Transboundary Context (EIA Convention) came into force on 27 June 1997 after adoption in Espoo, Finland on 25 February 1991 with 30 signatory countries and the EC, the first major treaty to specify in detailed terms, transboundary EIA procedures. There are currently 45 Parties, and since the entry into force of an amendment, the treaty is now potentially open to all members of the UN beyond the UNECE region. It is hence very relevant to Asian states beyond the current members of the UNECE, including those in western and central Asia. Since then, although other treaties have also provided for transboundary EIA, the EIA Convention remains the most significant of any of these agreements because of the large number of Parties that have ratified the Convention. These include most of the member states of the UNECE and the EU, as well as members of the European Economic Area. Current Parties include four western and central Asian states (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan). As noted in the previous chapter, the Public Participation Convention has a particularly close relationship with the EIA Convention. Russia (as a northern and eastern Asian, as well as a European state) announced its intention to ratify both of these treaties in 2011, although it is yet to do so. Other states have also indicated an interest in joining the EIA Convention, as indicated below. The Strategic Environmental Assessment Protocol (SEA Protocol) is also in force with 38 signatories and 26 Parties.

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