This study explores and seeks to explain the EIA procedures practice gap in Lao PDR. It reviews the literature and studies EIA legislation, administrative procedures, guidelines, and relevant documents by using a model proposed by Leu et al. (1996) and applying criteria proposed by Wood (1995) to evaluate the performance of EIA systems. Key EIA legislation in Lao PDR has many strengths, but also major weaknesses: Inadequate planning procedures, no secondary regulations, few trained and skilled personnel, inadequate public consultation, lack of environmental data, weak follow-up and monitoring, and no enforcement machinery. Additionally, the EIA approval procedure is very bureaucratic and easily derailed by political and economic pressures. In addition, coordination among EIA proponents, consultants, concerned ministries, local authorities, planners, and decision-makers is generally weak. This delays decision-making and hinders implementation of environmental regulations. Thus, procedures and evaluation are not always performed well. EIAs are more a project justification tool than a project planning tool for sustainable development. We conclude with recommendations to strengthen the system, such as improving capacity building, implementing an EIA consultants’ accreditation system, ensuring effective public participation and access to EIA reports, applying systematic EIAs, reviewing criteria, and promoting environmental awareness.
 G Jay, S. C. Jones, P. Slinn and C. Wood, “Environmental Impact Assessment: Retrospect and Prospect,” Environmental Impact Assessment Review, Vol. 27, No. 4, 2007, pp. 287-300. doi:10.1016/j.eiar.2006.12.001
 B. Ahmad and C. Wood, “A Comparative Evaluation of the EIA Systems in Egypt, Turkey and Tunisia,” Environmental Impact Assessment Review, Vol. 22, No. 3, 2002, pp. 213-234. doi:10.1016/S0195-9255(02)00004-5
 B. Sadler, “Environmental Assessment in a Changing World: Evaluating Practice to Improve Performance,” final Report of the International Study of the Effectiveness of Environmental Assessment, International Association for Impact Assessment and Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency, Ministry of Supply and Services, Ottawa, 1996.
 W. Chen, K. A. Warren and N. Duan., “Incorporating Cleaner Production Analysis into Environmental Impact Assessment in China,” Environmental Impact Assessment Review, Vol. 19, No. 5-6, 1999, pp. 457-476. doi:10.1016/S0195-9255(99)00023-2
 D. Hickie and M. Wade, “The Development of Environmental Action Plans: Turning Statements into Actions,” Journal of Environmental Planning and Management, Vol. 40, No. 6, 1997, pp. 789-801. doi:10.1080/09640569711912
 R. Hirji and L. Ortolano, “EIA Effectiveness and Mechanisms of Control: Case Studies of Water Resources Development in Kenya,” International Journal of Water Resources Development, Vol. 7, No. 3, 1991, pp. 154-167. doi:10.1080/07900629108722508
 Y. Wang, R. K. Morgan and M. Cashmore, “Environmental Impact Assessment of Projects in the People’s Republic of China: New Law, Old Problems,” Environmental Impact Assessment Review, Vol. 23, No. 5, 2003, pp. 543-579. doi:10.1016/S0195-9255(03)00071-4
 O. Nadeem and H. Rizwan, “Evaluation of Environmental Impact Assessment System in Pakistan,” Environmental Impact Assessment Review, Vol. 28, No. 8, 2008, pp. 562-571. doi:10.1016/j.eiar.2008.02.003
 J. Boyle, “Cultural Influences on Implementing Environmental Impact Assessment: In-Sights from Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia,” Environmental Impact Assessment Review, Vol. 18, No. 2, 1998, pp. 95-116. doi:10.1016/S0195-9255(97)00082-6
 K. El-Fadl and M. El-Fadel, “Comparative Assessment of EIA Systems in MENA Countries: Challenges and Prospects,” Environmental Impact Assessment Review, Vol. 24, No. 6, 2004, pp. 553-593. doi:10.1016/j.eiar.2004.01.004
 W. S. Leu, W. P. Williams and A. W. Bark, “Development of an Environmental Impact Assessment Model and Its Application: Taiwan Case Study,” Environmental Impact Assessment Review, Vol. 16, No. 2, 1996, pp. 63-134. doi:10.1016/0195-9255(95)00107-7
 R. Aschemann, “Environmental Assessment (EA) as a Participatory Decision Making Support Tool—Rationale and Methods of Participation in EA,” In: T. B. Fischer, et al., Eds., Environmental Assessment Lectures’ Handbook, Bratislava University Press, Slovakia, 2007.