Posts by Web Editor

Giant Laos dam underway… What’s next?

For those who had believed that Laos would stick to its pledge to shelve construction of the controversial Xayaburi dam, November 7 was a black day. It was on that day that Laos broke ground on the US$3.8-billion project despite vehement objections from environmental groups and its neighbors who said the 810-meter (2,600ft) dam would unleash massive ecological changes on a river that feeds around 60 million people.

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Video: Co-management of special-use forests in Vietnam – Part II

Part II “Community Participation in Management of Special-use Forests” of the series “Co-management of special-use forests in Vietnam” produced by VTV2 in collaboration with PanNature and FFI. The series features efforts to promote co-management of forests by PanNature and FFI in the field, as well as at national policy level. This is part of a joint project implemented by PanNature and FFI with generous funding from the European Union and the Ford Foundation.

Vietnam may evict bears from ‘protected’ park land

Bears, some of them blinded or maimed, play behind tall green fences like children at school recess. Rescued from Asia’s bear bile trade, they were brought to live in this lush national park, but now they may need saving once more. The future of the bears’ sanctuary has been in doubt since July, when a vice defense minister ordered the nonprofit group operating the $2 million center not to expand further and to find another location. U.S. politicians and officials in other countries are among those urging the military to back off.

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Video: Co-management of special-use forests in Vietnam – Part I

Part I “Communities and Forest” of the series “Co-management of special-use forests in Vietnam” produced by VTV2 in collaboration with PanNature and FFI. The series features efforts to promote co-management of forests by PanNature and FFI in the field, as well as at national policy level. This is part of a joint project implemented by PanNature and FFI with generous funding from the European Union and the Ford Foundation.

Hydropower lucre hides major fault lines

The controversy over the flawed Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) done for the Song Tranh Dam, now blamed for causing many tremors and quakes in the central province of Quang Nam since last November, has exposed major problems in the assessment and approval process of such projects.

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Viet Nam loses ‘green’ image

Viet Nam was enduring adverse affects to the environment after 25 years of economic development, said environmental experts.

The comment was made at a recent workshop on harmonising economic development and environmental protection held in the northern province of Ninh Binh by PanNature, a non-profit organisation focused on bio-diversity conservation.

The seminar aimed to create a floor for scientists and experts to raise opinions about the environment.

Photo: PanNature.

Dr Nguyen The Chinh, deputy head of the Institute of Natural Resources and Environment Strategy and Policy Planning, pointed out that Viet Nam was using more natural resources to reach its economic targets.

Chinh made a comparison that if GDP growth in 1990 was at level 1, it had climbed to level 3.5 in 17 years. However, water and power consumption doubled while land usage increased by 1.5 times.

Statistics from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment revealed that from 2002-09, the country lost 1,000ha of mangrove forests each year.

Worse still, the legacy of fast developing cities and provinces left a shortage of suitable waste water treatment in residential areas, industrial zones and craft villages.

Solid waste also was not collected and processed properly.

Dr Nguyen Manh Ha from Ha Noi National University’s Centre for Natural Resources and Environment Research said that Viet Nam used to be known as a small country with diversified biology, but now it was known for environmental damage.

According to Ha, police confiscated 23 tonnes of ivory, 100 tonnes of pangolin, and more than 100kg of rhino horn between 2007-11.

He also expressed his concerns over the construction of hydroelectric power plants which he blamed for the disappearance of many forests and wild animals.

To Xuan Phuc from the US-based Forest Trends said that forest protection was also an issue since Viet Nam was one of leading exporters of timber and wooden products. His figures showed that each year, Viet Nam exported 5-6million cubic metres of timber.

In addition, Phuc considered Vietnamese people’s habit of using wooden products another threat to the country’s forests.

Most participants shared the view that assessing the environmental impacts of a project was vital to protecting it. However, Nguyen Khac Kinh, vice chairman of the Viet Nam Association for Environment Impact Assessment, admitted the work had not been taken seriously.

He also criticised a policy that permitted investors to hire a company to appraise their projects.

“It’s understandable that investors will hire companies that will provide them with a ‘green’ report,” he said.

Source: Vietnam News

Eco experts back ‘green economy’

The rapid industrialisation and economic development of Viet Nam over the last 25 years has created a negative impact on the environment according to Nguyen The Chinh, deputy director of the Institute of Strategy and Policy on Natural Resources.

Chinh made the statement in an appearance at a one-day workshop titled “Harmonising Economic Development and Environment Protection in Viet Nam: Practice and Policy Challenges”.

Journalists and policy researchers share their views. Photo: PanNature.

He said that the development process led to problems with the ecosystem and that climate change will hugely affect Viet Nam, and added that solutions must be sought that improve the situation without compromising the economic growth rate.

Those present at the workshop, including 20 researchers and 50 representatives from the United Nations Development Programme, the Asia Foundation and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Development, and NGOs discussed methods to both develop the economy effectively and protect the environment across the country.

Chinh drew attention to efforts already being made, particularly in rural areas, to find methods that combine environmental protection with macro economic development.

He also gave his backing to the green economy scale, a fiscal proposal recently submitted to the Prime Minister, which prioritises spending for sustainable growth, social welfare and environmental protection.

But he admitted that this new model scale faces challenges if it is to be imposed. “Before we can approach a new green economy scale we must establish a whole new economic growth model. Its main tasks should be ecosystem restoration and the establishment of a low-carbon society establishment,” the deputy director said.

Workshop participants visit the Van Long Nature Reserve, where local communities
take part in ecotourism activities and conservation of natural resources. Photo: PanNature.

Participants discussed measures that would be needed if the scale is enforced. These include raising awareness, investing in modern technologies, reforming the tax system and committing two per cent of the annual state budget to ecosystem restoration.

Source: VietnamNews


 * The workshop “Harmonising Economic Development and Environment Protection in Viet Nam: Practice and Policy Challenges” was organized by PanNature with generous financial support from the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF).

Conservation of Conifer Tree Species in Hoa Binh – Son La Limestone Corridor

The corridor area Hoa Binh – S?n La is a highland limestone landscape with subtropical vegetation located in North West of Vietnam. It is a habitat for many flora and fauna species, including threatened conifer species. However, information about biodiversity of the area is still limited and conservation actions for these species are often neglected.

In order to conserve and develop the conifer trees species of the area the project will conduct a series of actions for in-situ and ex-situ conservation in Nature Reserve Hang – Pa Co (Hoa Binh province) and adjacent Moc Chau district (Son La province). Field survey and data collection about the conifer tree species in the area will be implemented. Digital distribution and status map for the species will be compiled. Natural and artificial threats to the conifers in the sites will be assessed in order to understand the conservation status and provide appropriate recommendations for conservation actions.

Nguyen Duc To Luu (right) and his colleague Phan Van Thang in Xuan Nha Nature Reserve (Son La province). Photo: PanNature.

Specimens of the rare conifers will be collected, processed and used for identification work and for school awareness raising activities. Seed collection and propagation of the conifers will be conducted for improvement of propagation methods and produce planting materials for further ex-situ plantation and awareness raising activities in a community mini-nursery.

Dissemination of the field work results and awareness raising will be implemented through designing a coloured booklet of occurred conifers, publishing website articles and organizing a thematic workshop focusing on conifer conservation issues in the studied area. Combination of field and nursery works, communication activities would bring a real impact on conservation of threatened coniferous species in Vietnam.

This project is led by Nguyen Duc To Luu, PanNature’s Resource Governance Program Manager, with funding from the Rufford Small Grants Foundation.

Link: The Rufford Small Grants Foundation

Outstanding Achievement Awards for Wildlife Protection

In early 2013, Education for Nature-Vietnam (ENV) will host Vietnam’s first National Wildlife Protection Awards ceremony, to recognize the outstanding contribution by members of society towards efforts to protect wildlife. The Awards will be conducted in partnership with the United States Embassy, the Freeland Foundation, People and Nature Reconciliation (PanNature), Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) Vietnam, Traffic Southeast Asia-Greater Mekong Programme, IUCN Vietnam, Cuc Phuong Endangered Primate Rescue Center.

“This event is about recognizing people who stand out as having a strong positive impact in protecting wildlife threatened by hunting and trade,” says Nguyen Thi Phuong Dung of ENV. “ENV and our partners feel that it is important that the excellent contribution by law enforcement, the media, and the public to protect wildlife is recognized.”

The awards are diversified into three major catergories, namely: Outstanding Enforcement Officer, Excellence in Journalism and Outstanding Public Contribution. The nomination process will begin on 10th August 2012 and end at 5pm, 31st October 2012. The Award winners will be invited to a special Award Ceremony which will take place in March 2013.

Further information about the awards is AVAILABLE HERE or please contact Ms. Tran Thuy Duong of ENV at (84-4) 3514 8850 or giaithuongDVHD@gmail.com

62 Poorest Districts in Vietnam

Map and information about poorest districts in Vietnam defined in the Resolution No. 30a on Speedy and Sustainable Poverty Reduction Programme For the 61 Poor Districts. For more information about each district, please click on the location symbol.


See 62 Poorest Districts in Vietnam in larger map

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