Setting a precedent for Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) in Rayong Province, Thailand

Early 2020 saw the completion of the milestone Asian Development Bank funded Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) of Rayong Province Development Master Plan & Revision of Thai Draft SEA Guidelines project. The project had two primary goals:

  1. To conduct a provincial wide SEA in Rayong Province, focusing on how the provincial development plan can be used to enhance provincial sustainability;
  2. To make recommendations and revisions to the Thai Draft SEA guidelines. The draft national guidelines were used and evaluated during the Rayong SEA, with the experience using them informing revisions to the draft guidelines

The Rayong SEA was undertaken at the request of Thailand’s National Economic and Social Development Committee (NESDC) in collaboration with Rayong Governor’s Office. The process highlighted the importance of SEAs in providing insights into provincial development planning by offering trade-off analyses and insights into relationships between economic, social and environmental goals.The lessons learned through the SEA process formed the basis for revising the national draft SEA guidelines, and the Rayong SEA will be a model for future assessments. Rayong Province lies within the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC), an area encompassing the three eastern provinces of Chachoengsao, Chonburi, and Rayong. Since the mid-1980s the EEC has been promoted as a strategic industrial growth area. The new EEC Development Plan (2018) focuses on accelerating this growth through encouraging development of new industries, urban centres, expansion of ports and airports and new railway lines and highways. The end goal is to develop the region as an arterial hub for trade, investment and transportation. The Rayong SEA focused specifically on the current four-year Rayong Provincial Development Plan (RPDP), which has an implementation period through to 2021. The results of the Rayong SEA will inform the next five-year development planning […]