The Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for the Thilawa Special Economiz Zone (SEZ) Development Project does not fulfill the purposes of conducting an effective EIA and does not meet international standards, basic best practices, or JICA’s Guidelines. The Thilawa EIA, which only considers the 400 hectare Phase I portion of the Thilawa SEZ, does not account for the impacts of the SEZ project as a whole, which covers 2,400 hectares. The EIA also neglects to consider the cumulative impacts or the impact of the industries slated to comprise the SEZ, the majority of which are still unknown. The Thilawa EIA lacks identification and assessment of the types of enterprise or activity that will be located in the Thilawa SEZ. This information is critical to an assessment of the project’s impacts: without information on the enterprises that will operate in the SEZ, any prediction, assessment, and accounting for potential environmental impacts will be inaccurate.
Furthermore, with little to no analysis of the impacts to livelihoods, social and resettlement issues, the EIA does not address the potential socio-economic impacts to affected communities. More specifically the Thilawa EIA:
- Fails to adequately describe the project
- Did not include adequate consultation of the public or affected communities
- Does not fully analyze the project’s power supply
- Fails to consider air pollution sources or cumulative impacts
- Inadequately discusses traffic, water supply and use, and solid waste management
- Does not properly consider resettlement and livelihood issues. These inadequacies are described in further detail, highlighting some of the shortcomings of the Thilawa SEZ project’s EIA.