Projects & Activities

PanNature Discusses Public Participation and Environmental Impact Assessments with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Officials

During the morning of Friday, June 10, PanNature staff met with three government officials from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), including U.S. EPA General Counsel, Avi Garbow; Senior Attorney in the Office of General Counsel, Steve Wolfson; as well as Director of the Office of Regional and Bilateral Affairs, Mark Kasman. The U.S. EPA is the lead government agency in protecting public health and the environment in the United States. The meeting was an opportunity for the U.S. EPA officials to gain the perspectives and insights of a local environmental non-governmental organization in Vietnam. Trinh Le Nguyen, Executive Director of PanNature, provided information about PanNature, its various projects around the country, its funding, as well as relationships with PanNature’s partners, including the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment.

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Policy Seminar “Free trade agreements: Investment flows and environmental issues in Vietnam”

2016 marks 30 years since Doi Moi, the government policy that opened up Vietnam to the international community and spurred Vietnam’s integration into the global economy. As Vietnam continues to integrate economically, Vietnam is currently embarking on a new wave of integration through robust and comprehensive free trade agreements (FTAs). Vietnam has signed 14 FTAs, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the largest regional trade agreement in over 20 years, and the European Union-Vietnam FTA.

Through the reduction and elimination of tariffs as well as other barriers to trade, FTAs encourage the free flow of goods, services, and investments. According to economists and experts, Vietnam will benefit greatly from the implementation of its recently-concluded FTAs. The World Bank stipulates the TPP alone could add an estimated 10 percent to Vietnam’s GDP by 2030, mainly because of an expansion in export-oriented sectors.

Vietnam’s main economic sectors for export – and those industries that will benefit the most from economic integration – include electronic components, textiles and apparel, footwear, aqua-products, and furniture. To take advantage of the reduced tariffs included in Vietnam’s recently-concluded FTAs, foreign companies are investing in various manufacturing industries. Recent statistical data by the General Statistics Office of Vietnam suggest that there is a strong movement of foreign direct investment (FDI) into Vietnam in anticipation of these FTAs.

However, while FTAs and FDI may benefit Vietnam economically, industrial growth spurred by free trade – especially in highly-polluting industries such as textiles and leather – has brought about numerous environmental challenges. In practice, many FDI projects utilize outdated technologies, contain high environmental risks, and invest in Vietnam given its lax environmental regulations.

Under this context, 2016 marks a pivotal time to discuss the adaptability of Vietnam’s environmental management policies, in particular how Vietnam should improve its policy framework to minimize environmental and legal risks during the trade liberalization process. In order to facilitate discussion among numerous stakeholders, the People and Nature Reconciliation (PanNature) is organizing a policy seminar entitled, “Free trade agreements: Investment flows and environmental issues.” Vietnam can and should utilize these free trade agreements to further develop economically and socially; however, Vietnam should not damage its environment in the process.

Some pictures from the seminar: 

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270516_Hoithaochuyendichdautu

Agenda and presentations: 

GFW announces the 2016 Recipients of the Small Grants Fund

Policy is central to successful forest management, and many of our projects are using GFW to inform policymakers and other stakeholders. In Ecuador, Regional Water Fund FORAGUA will improve the local management, monitoring, and enforcement of 11 municipal watershed reserves by providing training on the Global Forest Watch platform to environmental technicians, high school science teachers, and journalists. Asociación Ambiente y Sociedad (Colombia) is developing an online tool to inform local communities of infrastructure mega-projects and their potential impact on priority conservation areas, to enhance decision making and contribute to resolving conflicts. In Vietnam, People and Nature Reconciliation (PanNature), will use GFW data to monitor and evaluate established payment for environmental services programs within three provinces, and make recommendations to policy makers on how to improve their efficacy. Pronatura will use GFW in order to inform Mexican decision makers on meeting their commitments to global initiatives such as REDD+ and the Bonn Challenge.

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PanNature becomes a new member of the ICCA Consortium

On 7 January 2016, PanNature was delighted to be one among nearly 100 members of the Indigenous Peoples’ and Community Conserved Areas and Territories (ICCA) Consortium.

The ICCA Consortium is an international association dedicated to promoting the appropriate recognition of and support to ICCAs  in the regional, national and global arena. It is comprised of Members (Indigenous People Organisations (IPOs) and Community-based Organisations (CBOs) and civil society organisations working with IPs/LCs) and Honorary members (individuals with relevant concerns and expertise relating to ICCAs). As a global institution, the Consortium is collaborating with the CBD Secretariat, GEF SGP, UNEP WCMC, IUCN, research and advocacy organisations, and UN mechanisms promoting human and IP and LC rights.

In recent years, PanNature has carried out a number of cooparation activities with other members of the ICCA Consortium. In August 2015, under Global ICCA Support Initiative (GIS) which supports promoting ICCA in at least 26 nations worldwide including Indonesia, Philipines, Malaysia and Vietnam, PanNature joined the Consortium’s sharing and capacity building event with other CSOs, government agencies as well as some ethnic groups in Lombok, Indonesia. Lessons learnt from this event has brought PanNature more new ideas on ICCA.

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With support from the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF), PanNature has carried out feasibility study for a community-conserved protected area in Xin Man (Ha Giang province) in 2015.

Currently, PanNature is facilitating the Provisional ICCA Working Group in Vietnam (with the participation of Centre for Sustainable Development in Mountainous Areas, Department of Nature Conservation (under the Vietnam Administration of Forestry, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development) FORWET and Fauna and Flora International.

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A workshop recently organized in Ha Giang province to share result of the Xin Man feasibility studies, challenges and opportunities for ICCA approach in Vietnam.

In addition, PanNature has carried out field feasibility studies for piloting ICCA models in Xin Man district (Ha Giang province) and in the Central Highlands. We’re working with partners to expand ICCA network in Vietnam, as well as promoting this approach through communication and policy activities. Under the new cooperation framework with the Vietnam Administration of Forestry, PanNature will work with relevant agencies to carry out research on the status and challenges for forests managed by communes’ authorities and opportunities to promote ICCA in the context of coming new Forestry Law.

PanNature and Vietnam Administration of Forestry Signed Cooperation Program

According to the agreed upon plan, PanNature and other organizations will cooperate on numerous activities to assist VNFOREST in implementing evidence-based research for the proposed Forest Law, which will replace the Law on Forest Protection and Development of 2004. PanNature will also support VNFOREST in establishing the Vietnam’s Forest Owners Association.

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Reporting on Mekong Dams – Science, Policies and Voices from the Ground

On November 10, BRIDGE financed a training workshop entitled Reporting on Mekong Dams – Science, Policies and Voices from the Ground in An Giang Province in the Mekong Delta. It was organized by Pan Nature, a Vietnamese NGO, to brief journalists on the concerns and perspectives of local stakeholders on planned dams on the Mekong River. Thirty journalists from national and provincial newspapers and radio and television agencies in the delta attended, as will as representatives from academia and NGOs from Vietnam and other Mekong countries.

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10 Reasons Why Climate Initiatives Should Not Include Large Hydropower Projects

Large hydropower projects are often propagated as a “clean and green” source of electricity by international financial institutions, national governments and other actors. They greatly benefit from instruments meant to address climate change, including carbon credits under the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), credits from the World Bank’s Climate Investment Funds, and special financial terms from export credit agencies and green bonds. The dam industry advocates for large hydropower projects to be funded by the Green Climate Fund, and many governments boost dams as a response to climate change through national initiatives. For example, at least twelve governments with major hydropower sectors have included an expansion of hydropower generation in their reports on Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs).

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The New Mekong: Changes and Expectations

On Thursday, October 29, 2015, stakeholders and experts on hydropower development and water resources in the Lower Mekong River Basin participated in a panel discussion entitled, “The New Mekong: Changes and Expectations.” Panelists included Mr. Trinh Le Nguyen (People and Nature Reconciliation), Mr. Nguyen Hong Toan (former Vietnam National Mekong Committee Secretary-General), Dr. Richard Cronin (The Stimson Center), Dr. Tran Viet Thai (Institute for Foreign Policy and Strategic Studies), and Mr. Jake Brunner (IUCN). A few key themes and topics were reiterated throughout the discussion:

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Workshop: Environmental and Social Index for Developing and Monitoring the Provincial REDD+ Action Plan!

In 2013 and 2014, RESI tool had been tested in Lam Dong and piloted in 04 provinces: Son La, Dien Bien, Kon Tum and Kien Giang. In order to introduce RESI tool and share outcomes of piloted assessment, PanNature in collaboration with the project partners will organize the consultation workshop on Environmental and Social Index for Developing and Monitoring the Provincial REDD+ Action Plan

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Training on sustainable uses and management of forest for women in Son La province

From 7th to 10th July 2015, a short training on sustainable uses and management of forest was specifically designed and organized for members of Women Union in Chieng Xuan and Xuan Nha commune, Van Ho district, Son La province, aiming at enhancing the capacity and participation of local women in utilization and management of forest and associated resources.

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People and Nature Reconciliation | Office: 24 H2, Khu do thi moi Yen Hoa
Yen Hoa quarter, Cau Giay district, Hanoi, Vietnam
Phone: ++844 3556-4001 | Fax: ++844 3556-8941 | Email: contact@nature.org.vn