Lawmakers set to strengthen environmental audit provisions

13:00 | 29/10/2020 Environment

(VEN) - Despite improvements in State management and awareness of environmental protection in Vietnam, there are still legal loopholes resulting in environmental incidents and violations with serious consequences for the natural environment and human health. The National Assembly is about to adopt a law strengthening provisions of state environmental audits.

lawmakers set to strengthen environmental audit provisions

According to experts, although the legal system for environmental protection in Vietnam is complete in terms of content and scope of regulation, the provisions of the Law on Environmental Protection and those of other laws are sometimes inconsistent, hampering the implementation process. The application of environmental audits aims to make systematic, periodic and objective assessments of managing, organizing and implementing environmental issues.

Environmental audits also help assess enterprises’ compliance with environmental policies, requirements and standards. The process is not significantly different from other types of audits, such as financial and compliance audits.

According to the 2014 Law on Environmental Protection, environmental audits are an effective measure to protect the environment. The National Action Plan for the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda also includes environmental audits as an important component.

To carry out the commitments in the Hanoi Declaration of the 14th Assembly of the Asian Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions (ASOSAI 14) and as the Chair of ASOSAI for the 2018-2021 term, the State Audit Office of Vietnam (SAV) has the leading role in environmental audit oriented development.

Since 2017, when Vietnam promulgated the National Action Plan to implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development of the United Nations, the SAV has conducted environmental audits relating to one or more sustainable development goals of the United Nations, assessing the effectiveness and efficiency of environmental management, while also indicating loopholes in the legal system. Identification of such loopholes allows authorities to promptly propose amendments to the Law on Environmental Protection, the Law on Public Investment and the Law on Water Resources.

Thus, the SAV’s introduction of environmental audit in the revised Law on Environmental Protection which is expected to be passed at the 10th session of the 14th National Assembly is urgent in both legal and practical terms. It will create an important legal basis for the SAV to better perform its role, directly and indirectly contributing to improving the capacity, effectiveness and efficiency of environmental protection for Vietnam’s 21st century sustainable development goals.

Hoang Lan