Are We There (Sustainable Development) Yet? Analytical Results of Participation in a Case of Pak Bara Deep-Sea Port (Phase I) Project, Satun Province, Thailand

By Umaporn Muneenam and Thaniya Kaosol.

Published by The International Journal of Civic, Political, and Community Studies

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: March 14, 2014 $US5.00

The Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) in Thailand is officially approved by the representatives of the people at the central level, either the National Environmental Board or the Cabinet. However, the local public is generally entitled to participate in environmental management as mentioned in the Constitution of the Kingdom of Thailand, B.E. 2550 (2007). Many local communities take this opportunity to participate in the decision-making if they disagree with the decision of their representatives. Similar to the Pak Bara Deep-Sea Port Project (Phase I), Satun Province, Thailand was first studied in the EIA in 1996, and was approved in 2009 by the approval authority. This paper presents the analysis of the three outcomes from the application of public participation in the case of the Pak Bara Deep-Sea Port Project (Phase I), Satun Province, Thailand. The EIA monitoring process focused only on the public information and public participation process through the local media and meetings during October 2010 to February 2011. The outcomes found that, first, this public participation was ineffective as a favourable outcome; the public participation process did not follow the plan, because of the strong opposition. Second, this public participation finally transferred the prior decision-making from the central authority to the local public. Third, the decision had been made inefficiency through the opposition’s favourable efforts, because there were some incomplete details about the decision-making; hence, the major arguments from the opponents were unable to be fully debated. Finally, the local opponents used their rights for choosing their own future sustainable development, and were able to protect their local area for their future generations from the development of the deep-sea port project. This paper shows the weaknesses in the public participation process in application with a project that puts risk over benefits, and whose outcomes may not be favourable to the policy decision-makers.

Keywords: Public Participation, Outcomes, Risk Perception, NIMBY, Deep-Sea Port Project

The International Journal of Civic, Political, and Community Studies, Volume 11, Issue 1, March 2014, pp.1-8. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: March 14, 2014 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 526.378KB)).

Dr. Umaporn Muneenam

Lecturer, Faculty of Environmental Management, Prince of Songkla University, Hat Yai, Songkhla, Thailand

Dr. Umaporn finished the PhD at Australian School of Environmental Studies from Griffith University, Queensland, Australia in 2006. Dr. Umaporn's interests are about public perception, public acceptance, public risk perception, environmental communication, risk communication, public participation, ecotourism, and environmental sociology.

Dr. Thaniya Kaosol

Lecturer, Environmental Engineering Program , Department of Civil Engineering , Faculty of Engineering, Prince of Songkla University, Hat Yai, Songkhla, Thailand

Dr. Thaniya was head of the study team in the Pak Bara Deep-Sea Port environmental monitoring measurement, public inform and public participation before construction period, Phase 1, that is part of this article.