Tag: Development policies

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).

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

Introducing the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative in mining and quarrying industry

A workshop on “Introduction of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI)”, co-organized by the Consultancy on Development (CODE) and the Centre for People and Nature Reconciliation (PanNature) has taken place in Hanoi.

The workshop was attended by numerous experts and management from the National Assembly (NA) Committee on Science, Technology and Environment, the Ministry of Industry and Trade, the Vietnam Chamber of Industry and Commerce and the US’s Revenue Watch Institute.

Photo: PanNature.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, Doctor Vo Nhan Tuan, Vice Chairman of the NA Committee on Science, Technology and Environment said that the implementation of EITI in Vietnam may meet some difficulties, such as the actually implementing in reality. Therefore, the workshop offered opportunities to have information and international material as well as propose specific solutions for real circunstances in a country promoting the value of the mineral ore industry in economic growth.

Almost all delegates in the workshop agreed that the participation of EITI could be a good tool which helps Vietnam concretize its policies on the real situation as the EITI itself is a solution for a more transparent environment in the mineral exploitation industry.

EITI is a volunteer coalition initiative amongst the government, companies, local civil society organisations and international organisations aiming to enhance transparency and accountability in the extractive industry. To date, there are 35 EITI implementing countries around the world. The EITI is also widely supported by extractive companies and the civil society organisations. So far, there are 50 top international extractive companies and hundreds of the civil society organisations and mining associations.

Vietnam has a variety of mineral resources with over 60 types of minerals in 5,000 ore deposits. Some are substantial reserves at world and regional levels, such as bauxite, titanium, rare earth and limestone. Some are potential reserves, like coal with more than 210 billion tonnes and iron with 3.5 billion tonnes

Sustainable development as well as transparency in Vietnam’s mineral ore industry in the development and integration process with the world’s mine ores industry is an important requirement for the development process. Vietnam is targeting to build and develop it’s exploitation industry and mineral resource processing with modern technology and eco-friendliness in order to ensure sustainable development, and meet the local demand for consumption and export for a long time.

Although, Vietnam has had access to the EITI since 2007, the research process and the building of participation steps for Vietnam previously stopped at the first step.

Source: CPV Online

River basin management in Vietnam: Power and challenges

This policy discussion report is initiated, revised and completed by PanNature’s Policy Research Department under professional instructions of Dr Dao Trong Tu, Director of the Centre for Sustainable Water Resources Development and Adaptation to Climate Change(CEWAREC), Advisor to Vietnam Rivers Network and Member of Global Water Partnership Southeast Asia (GWPSEA).

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Laws still cannot help protect the forests

Though Vietnam has a close legal framework on protecting forests and wildlife, the laws seem unhelpful. Green forests still have been devastated, while wild animals still have been killed.

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Fresh water shortage threatens sustainable development

Vietnam could face a fresh water crisis because of poor resource management, a new report says.

It says the problem could be exacerbated by the fact that most of its rivers originate in neighboring countries who could build upstream dams and block their natural flow.

The report was released on May 29 by People and Nature Reconciliation (PanNature) an environmental non-profit organization.

Photo courtesy of PanNature.

 Vietnam has an availability of 830-840 billion cubic meters of freshwater per year on average, including surface and ground water, the report says.

Up to 63 percent of this volume is sourced from neighboring countries. The remaining water availability is around 4,000 cubic meters per person, which could fall to 3,100 cubic meters by 2025.

If the rivers’ upstream countries do not allow fair share and reasonable use of water resources in transnational rivers, Vietnam will face a certain shortage of water.

“It could lead to a freshwater crisis that could threaten sustainable socio-economic growth and food security,” the report says.

It notes that although Vietnam does not belong to the group of countries facing a serious water shortage at present, water availability varies regionally within the country.

The worst water conditions are reported in the provinces of Ninh Thuan, Binh Thuan and the northern mountainous regions.

Meanwhile, climate change has altered the courses of the rivers and changed rainfall patterns in the south-central and southwest regions.

Due to rapid increase in demand, underground water levels in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City have fallen by a meter per year on average. The situation is no better in the Central Highlands due to overexploitation of resources for irrigation of coffee plants and other crops.

Availability of fresh water derived from river basins has declined due to high agricultural and industrial usage and high levels of pollution.

Deforestation, mining and infrastructure development have degraded water quality, the report says.

The report’s authors propose the establishment and empowerment of river basin commissions to ensure better use of fresh water resources in the country.

Source: Thanh Nien News

VNGO-FLEGT to Comment for the 5th Draft of the Legality Definition

The VNGO&FLEGT Network was formulated in January 2012 and currently consists of 20 non-governmental organizations, and research institutes and development centers from several universities nationwide. Represented for the network is a Core Group consisting of fourorganisations: the Centre of Research and Development in Upland Areas (CERDA), the Centre for Sustainable Development in Mountainous Areas (CSDM), People and Nature Reconciliation (PanNature) and the Centre for Sustainable Rural Development (SRD).

In the spirit of the meeting hosted by the Standing Office on March 20, 2012 addressing the on-going VPA/FLEGT negotiation process and the role of civil society organizations in Vietnam, upon receiving the 5th Draft of Legality Definitions on Timber and Timber Products and the Letter of Invitation from the Standing Office, the Core Group has announced and forwarded all of these documents to the other member organizations and individuals in the Network to collect their comments, and then prepared the document.

The VNGO&FLEGT comment for the Legality Definition has already sent to the FLEGT and Lacey Standing Office, Vietnam Forest Administration of Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development on April 30th, 2012.

Download the document with detailed comments (File PDF, 393 KB)>>

Industrial polluters get a pass

Farmers continue to bear the brunt of environmental damage, protected poorly by toothless regulations.

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The First Mekong Resources Forum: Water Resources and Sustainable Development – Perspectives from Laos and Vietnam

Water is vital for all livings, development and prosperity of every nation. Water sources from rivers, lakes and wetlands not only maintain ecological functions and biodiversity, but also supply water for domestic uses, agricultural production, energy and navigation; ensure food security, nutrition, cultural customs, and traditional livelihoods; particularly for rural communities living close to water bodies. Consequently, sustainable water resources management has increasingly been mainstreamed into policy agenda  of many governments.

While water resources play as a source and motivation for development, utilization of this natural asset could also result in competition and governance challenges at local, national and regional levels driven from water pollution, environmental degradation and unsustainable use – particularly in river basins that priorities are more than often given to economic growth and development. Under the pressures of economic development, water resources from inland and transboundary rivers in Laos and Vietnam are facing trade-offs for hydropower development, infrastructure construction, and expansion of extractive industries.

Obviously, Laos and Vietnam are mutually dependent in term of water resources by the facts that Vietnam is one of leading investors in Laos, where many of their development projects could cause negative impacts on watersheds and water resources, such as commercial logging, cash crop plantation, hydropower dam construction, and mining. On the other side, the plan to develop mega hydropower projects on the mainstream Mekong river has raised concerns in Vietnam over potential negative impacts and long-term risks for river flows, water quality, sedimentation, aquaculture and aquatic products, local livelihood, and development opportunities in the Mekong Delta in the future.

Watersheds of some main rivers in Vietnam (such as Ca and Ma rivers) come partly from Laos’ territory. Therefore, water flows of these rivers are significantly dependent on watershed forests in Laos. Both countries share common concerns and interests in regard to watershed and river basin planning and management. The trend of development of hydropower dams on both mainstream Mekong river and tributaries in Laos and Vietnam in recent years has also drawn much attention and participation of different stakeholders due to existing and potential negative environmental and social impacts.

In order to facilitate and promote exchanges and collaboration between scientists, research organizations and civil society institutions of the two countries, with supports from International Rivers (IRs), Critical Ecosystems Partnership Fund (CEPF), the CGIAR Challenge Program on Water and Food (CPWF, through funding from the Australian Government), and the International Union for Conservation and Nature (IUCN), PanNature organized and facilitated the workshop “Water Resources and Sustainable Development: Perspectives from Laos and Vietnam”. The initial concept and arrangement for this workshop has been discussed and supported by a number of experts, local and international organizations in both Laos and Vietnam.

First Mekong Resources Forum. Photo: PanNature.

The two day workshop, organized on 1-2 December 2011, is part of the Mekong Resources Forum, a new initiative recently developed by PanNature that aims at facilitating meaningful dialogues on resource governance and its associated issues among regional scientific and civil society organizations in the Greater Mekong Sub-region. This non-state platform will include a wide variety of dialogues, exchanges and cooperation activities built upon mutual interests and power of knowledge for bettering natural resource governance in the region.

The workshop programmed for one day of in-door presentations and discussions and another day for field-trip to visit Hoa Binh Hydropower Plant. The presentations featured with updated information about policies and practices related to water resources utilization and management, river basin planning, aquatic biodiversity as well as social and environmental impacts of hydropower and other development forms to inland and transboundary rivers of Laos and Vietnam.

The field trip to Hoa Binh province included a visit to Hoa Binh Hydropower Plant and meeting with a downstream community at Yen Mong commune.

Workshop Presentations

Water Security and Sustainable Development in the Lower Mekong Basin
Mr. Nguyen Viet Dung – People and Nature Reconciliation

Water Resources Management and River Basin Planning in Lao PDR: Cased on Nam Ngum River Basin
Mr. Souphasay Komany – Laos Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment

Water Resources Management and River Basin Planning in Lao PDR
Kongngeun Chounlamountry, Assistant Director General Department of Water Resources MONRE

Water Resources Management and Stakeholder Roles in RBO in Vietnam
Dr. Dao Trong Tu – Center for Sustainable Water Resource Development and Climate Change Adaptation

Environmental and Social Impacts of Hydropower Development in Lao PDR
Ms. Amphay Dalasouk – Faculty of Environmental Studies, Laos National University

Hydropower Development: Environmental and Social Impacts in Vietnam
Dr. Dao Trong Hung – Vietnam Institute of Science and Technology

Live and Livelihood of Resettled Communities from Hydropower Projects
Mr. Pham Quang Tu – Consultancy on Development Institute

Potential Impacts of Hydropower Projects on the Fish Resources and Aquatic Biodiversity. Case studies in Hoa Binh Dam (1996) and Sesan 5/1 Dam (2008)
Prof. Mai Dinh Yen – Hanoi National University, Vietnam

Mekong River Needs a Serious Common Action
Dr. Houmphanh Rattanavong – Laos Biodiversity Association

Aquatic Resources and River Base livelihoods of Local Communities in Laos
Dr.Bae Phiaxay – Falcuty of Environmental Studies, Laos National University

Payment for ecosystem services in Vietnam: Opportunities and Challenges
Dr.To Xuan Phuc – Forest Trends

Policy and State of Watershed Forest Management in Lao PDR
Dr. Anoulom Vilayphone – Faculty of Forestry, Laos National University

Hoa Binh Hydropower: Impacts on Resettled and Downstream Communities
Mr. Dan Phuc Tiep – Hoa Binh Union of Science and Technology Associations

Presentation on social and environmental impacts of hydropower projects in Laos. Photo: PanNature.

The event attracted participation of 70 representatives from Lao and Vietnam. Participants agreed that there should be more open dialogues among different stakeholders in the Mekong region to share common concerns, understanding, and cooperation for better governance of natural resources for peaceful and sustainable development in the region.

More Detailed Information

People and Nature Reconciliation | Office: 24 H2, Khu do thi moi Yen Hoa
Yen Hoa quarter, Cau Giay district, Hanoi, Vietnam
Phone: ++8424 3556-4001 | Fax: ++8424 3556-8941 | Email: contact@nature.org.vn