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Legal Update

New Rules on EIAs and Environmental Protection Undertakings

5 March 2009
Mayer Brown JSM Legal Update

A recent circular provides, among other things, guidance for project developers: (1) the preparation of a report on evaluation of an environmental strategy; (2) preparation of environmental impact assessments report; and (3) the preparation of environmental protection undertakings.

The circular, however, does not apply to projects which are currently in operation, including projects that were operating prior to 1 July 2006 and which did not conduct an environmental impact assessment.

Full Update

Environmental impact assessment reports must be prepared using Vietnamese environmental standards and environmental standards under international treaties to which Vietnam is a signatory.

Owners of projects for which an environmental impact assessment report (an "EIAR") is required may prepare the EIAR by themselves or may use professional EIA service providers. The EIAR must be prepared in accordance with the structure and contents as set out in one of the annexes of the new Circular 05/2008/TT-BTNMT of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment dated 8 December 2008 on Evaluation of Environmental Strategy, Environmental Impact Assessment and Environmental Protection Undertakings ("Circular 05"). Owners of projects are required to obtain a written consultation opinion from the People’s Committee at the commune level where the project is located. The written consultation opinion must be attached to the EIAR.

Owners of projects must supplement or complete the EIAR as requested by the assessing authorities. Upon obtaining approval of the EIAR, owners of projects must report to the local district People's Committee the contents of the approval and make public announcement of the summary of the EIAR (in the form as set out in one of the annexes of Circular 05) at the local commune People's Committee where the written consultation opinion was previously sought.

Owners of projects which are not subject to mandatory EIAR (under the Law on Environment Protection) must provide a written environmental protection undertaking (an "EPU"). The EPU must be prepared in the form as described in one of the annexes of Circular 05 and registered at the local district People’s Committee.

Circular 05 further provides guidance for the monitoring and supervision of the implementation of the EIAR by the relevant authorities.

Circular 05 takes effect as from 7 January 2009 and replaces Circular 08/2006/TT-BTNMT dated 8 September 2006.

For further information, please contact:  

Dao Nguyen (

Hoang Anh Nguyen (
Hong Nang Nguyen (

Learn more about our Vietnam offices, Construction & Engineering and Environment practices.

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