Policy Review – Quarter II/2011

During the second quarter of 2011, 51 legal documents related to natural resources and environment sector were either promulgated or put into effect. Most of these documents focus on environmental management and pollution control. Noticeably, the Decree No.29/2011/ND-CP was promulgated on the 18th of April, 2011 providing strategic environment assessment, environmental impact assessment and commitment to environment protection.

The Decree No.29/2011/ND-CP came into effect on June 5th 2011, and replaces various articles related to strategic environment assessment (SEA), environmental impact assessment (EIA) and commitment to environment protection in Decree No.80/2006/ND-CP and Decree No.21/2008/ND-CP. Overall, this decree is one of the efforts made by the government to tighten regulations on environmental impact assessment for development projects.

The new decree has changed the minimum scale and size of various projects on the list subject to the implementation of EIA. Some typical examples include hydropower projects with a reservoir capacity over 100,000 m3 (while the old regulation required a minimum capacity of over 300,000 m3), solid mineral mining projects with a capacity over 50,000 m3 per year (while the old regulation was over 100,000 m3 per year), and all cement product projects (the previous regulation required a minimum of 300,000 tons per year).

In addition, there are changes in the appraisal and approval process of EIA reports. According to the old regulations, the responsibilities of appraisal and approval of EIA reports were only given to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MONRE) or the Provincial People’s Committees. However, in the new legislation, depending on each specific project, these responsibilities will be delegated to other ministries. For examples, the Ministry of Defense and the Ministry of Public Security will appraise all projects related to security and defense while MONRE has the authority to appraise 11 other types of projects, including oil refining, land reclamation, hazardous waste and nuclear electricity projects.

While the Decree No.29/2011/ND-CP has provided strict adjustments made in the implementation of environmental impact assessment, corporate responsibilities and community consultation in the project development process, it still remains flawed. In particular, the entrustment of other ministries, ministerial and governmental agencies with the authority to appraise EIA reports of their own projects will make it difficult to ensure the objectiveness of the appraisal process. (For more details, please see page 6 of this Policy Review).

Download the Policy Review here >> (PDF, 2.49 MB)

First Edition of the Policy Review

Policy Review is a publication of People and Nature Reconciliation (PanNature) covering natural resources, the environment and sustainable development in Vietnam. Each quarter, we manage to update and provide relevant information to organizations and individuals who are interested in the making, drafting, promulgation and enforcement processes of Vietnam’s natural resources and environmental laws and policies.

The Policy Review will be published in Vietnamese and English. We will provide a limited number of hard-copies to interested organizations and individuals. Preferably, we will send the electronic version to those who sign up for our newsletters via email. Furthermore, the Policy Review will be posted on PanNature’s website for public access.

During the first quarter of 2011, there are 42 legal documents related to the natural resources and environment sector promulgated or put into effect. These documents focus on institution and finance in the natural resources and environment sector; environmental management and environmental pollution; forest management; biodiversity; mineral resource management; water resource management; and climate change.

We hope to receive feedback, suggestions and comments regarding this edition so that we can improve the quality of our next newsletter. PanNature is also willing to publish articles, policy analysis, and discussion concerning natural resources-environment-sustainable development issues from readers in our newsletter, as well as on our daily news website ThienNhien.Net.

Download the full copy of the Policy Review in English (PDF, 1.72 MB).

H’mong New Year Festival in Pa Co

Awareness Survey and Assessment on the Environment and Coastal Natural Resource Management of Soc Trang Province

PanNature was selected to implement the activity “Assessment about the awareness of coastal zone management and general environmental awareness in Soc Trang Province”. From 5-20 May 2008, three PanNature researchers worked in cooperation with project counterpart staff at the province, district and commune levels to carry out assessment activities in Soc Trang City and the districts of Cu Lao Dung, Vinh Chau and Long Phu. This technical report presents the results of the field survey. It describes the local awareness on environmental issues and management of coastal resources of different target groups of Soc Trang Province.

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Mekong Tipping Point – Vietnamese Version

This is the Vietnamese version of the 9 minute video analyzes the likely impact of building further dams along the mainstream Mekong dam in Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam. Featuring Dr. Richard Cronin, Director of the Southeast Asia program at the Stimson Center in Washington, DC, this video looks at the role of China, the importance of hydropower, and the implications of these new dams on the region’s bountiful wildlife. The English language video is available here:

Small and Medium Hydropower: Great Impacts on Environment but Less Supervision of Environmental Impact Assessment

This report is a result of the small research project supported as part of the fellowship program provided by the UNEP Eco-Peace Leadership Center for Ms. Do Thi Hai Linh, PanNature’s Communication Manager in 2006. The research was supervised by Dr. Jin Hong Kim Chung-Ang University.

Son Kim 1was the most damage by flooding in 2002. There was a whole village swept out in the flooding. Photo: UNEP-EPLC

Medium and small hydropower (MSH) development is booming in Vietnam in recent years. On one hand, MSH contribute to the national electricity grid to supplement energy for Vietnam’ industries. On the other hand, they cause a lot of severely negative impacts on natural and social environment.

Local communities play a vital role in the process of MSH planning, construction and operation. They may be either beneficiaries or victims of MSH development. Community consultation is a regulated requirement for environmental impacts assessment (EIA) for any MSH project in Vietnam. This adopts a grassroot democracy mechanism to minimize negative impacts that MSH might potentially affect local livelihood and community wealth. Community responses provide a significantly useful reference for decision makers to continue or terminate MSH project proposals.

However, some investors has ignored these requirements, or blind local communities due to their unadequate awareness to MSH impacts, or even some tries to violate or take advantage from gaps in EIA regulations to marginalise community consultation.

The survey was conducted in Son Kim 1 commune, Huong Son district, Ha Tinh province so as to address those concerns. The survey’s results showed not much difference between the assumption of the working group before the field trip and the fact. Local community were lacking awareness and understanding about the environmental and social impacts of MSH projects. They did not have enough capacity and opportunities to give feedbacks or consultation for MSH project.

Although giving some primary recommendations for Son Kim 1 situation, the working group should take deeper study to make this a tyical research that can be applicated in difference area and considered an example for the policy advocacy process.

Download the full report here >> (File PDF, 524 KB)

Education and Awareness Activities at Khau Ca Species and Habitat Conservation Area

PanNature is working with local schools and communities to raise awareness on conservation of the nature reserve, which is home to one of the most endangered primate species globaly – the Tonkin Snub-nosed Monkey.

These education and awareness activities are financially supported by the Rufford Small Grants for Nature Conservation and the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund. PanNature works closely with Ha Giang Forest Protection Department and Fauna and Flora Internation (FFI) in promoting conservation of the Tonkin Snub-nosed Monkey.

PanNature’s mammal field guide now available in VDIC Bookstore

The book “A Field Guide to the Large Mammals of Vietnam” is a joint effort between PanNature and Dr. John Parr. The contents of this field guide have been based upon available literature and records from mammalian research on mammals in Vietnam and neighboring countries. The species plates in this publication are illustrated by two outstanding wildlife artists in Southeast Asia, Kamol Komolphalin and Mongkol Wongkalasin. Click here for more information about the field guide.

I strongly believe this Field Guide will be an excellent resource for all readers, not only for those working in nature conservation but for scientists, students and nature enthusiastists. It is my great pleasure to introduce this Field Guide to all of you and to offer my thanks and congratulations to all those involved in its preparation.” — Professor Vo Quy, Center for Natural Resources and Environmental Studies (CRES), Hanoi National University.

This field guide in English and Vietnamese languages is now available for sale in the bookstore of the Vietnam Development Information Center (VDIC). For more information, please visit VDIC Bookstore >>

Vietnam Development Information Center

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Photos of Project Activities in Hang Kia – Pa Co Nature Reserve

Photos of activities within the project “Piloting Integrated Market Access in Support of Nature Conservation: Improving Livelihoods of Local Communities in the Buffer Zone for Reducing Human Impacts on Natural Resources in Hang Kia – Pa Co Nature Reserve, Hoa Binh Province” funded by the blue moon fund.

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Literature Review: Community-based Water Resource Management in Vietnam

This report reviews current literature by local and international researchers on communitybased water management in Vietnam available in both Vietnamese and English. Due to limited access to all sources of information in a short period of time, we have not covered all aspects of this issue. The key findings in this report sum up the major research work that our team has carried out.

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