Assessing Environmental Performance in the GMS

From 2007 to 2011, the CEP worked with the six GMS countries to strengthen their monitoring capacity and produce a second round of environmental performance assessment (EPA) reports.

This work built on an ADB technical assistance project that produced the subregion’s first EPA reports from 2003 to 2006. The CEP put more emphasis in the second round on building national capacity to conduct these assessments to produce better quality information and ensure that analytical results fed into planning processes.

National consultants and concerned government agencies led this work using the learning-by-doing approach. This effort resulted in national EPA units being established in the six countries. With the EPA process embedded in government agencies, closer collaboration with a wide range of sectors and ministries became easier and in turn resulted in better information and data.

The second round of EPAs continued to analyze the same environmental priorities undertaken in the first round: biodiversity conservation, climate change, poverty reduction, capacity building, and sustainable natural resource management. A notable difference in approach was the use of the development-pressure-state- impact-response framework, an extension of the pressure-state-response framework used for the first round. This enabled deeper insights into pressures on the environment as well as the social and biophysical impacts associated with environmental change.

The national reports and a subregional one were published in 2012, and timed to influence national development strategies, such as the Lao PDR’s Seventh Five-Year Socioeconomic Development Plan, 2011–2015. Yunnan provincial authorities decided to test the EPA approach at the prefecture level. In 2012, they adapted the EPA methodology to track the performance of Xishuangbanna prefecture’s 11th Five-Year Plan for Development of Ecological Construction and Environmental Protection. As well as the EPA report, they also produced a guidebook for applying prefecture EPAs.

In 2014, the CEP switched its emphasis on national support for EPAs to providing more timely monitoring information by developing an online statistics portal. This portal includes data to track regional, national, and landscape environment trends, and has become an integral part of the broader GMS Information Portal.

The CEP produced a third subregional EPA, covering 2006–2016, as a knowledge product for the 5th GMS Environment Ministers’ Meeting in January 2018.

“Pressures on forests are generally high and increasing, the key pressures being natural forest conversion to agriculture and plantation forest, excessive logging, and land clearance for large-scale development projects such as hydropower and mining.”
-- Greater Mekong Subregion Environmental Performance Assessment, 2006–2016. Page 2. (2017).

Publish Date: 30th March 2018

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