Tag: Environmental Law

Vietnam’s PFAS Situation Report

PanNature took part in the IPEN’s surveys to explore possible PFAS uses and pollution sources, scientific studies and government actions, including under the Stockholm Convention, in Vietnam. The Vietnam’s PFAS situation report summarizes press reports and scientific studies on per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in Vietnam from 2014 – 2018, contributes to IPEN’s Toxics-Free SDGs Campaign.

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Support designation of sacred forests as protected areas in Vietnam

PanNature is working to gain legal recognition of thousands of sacred forests in Vietnam as part of the national protected area system through revisions to the Forest Protection (2017) and Development Law (FPDL) and Biodiversity Law (2018).  Hoang Xuan Thuy, vice director of the NGO PanNature, which is headquartered in Hanoi, a member of the Vietnam Union of Sciences and Technology Associations and part of the ICCA Consortium/ Global Forest Coalition, of group PanNature seeks help in ensuring that all sacred forests in Vietnam, and not only large ones, will be recognized in new laws enabling sacred forests to be designated as part of the national protected area system. This article is seeking your input and advice.

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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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Polluting investment projects ‘slip through net’ as regulations remain unclear

No legal document specifying which technologies can or cannot not be imported to Vietnam exists. This ambiguity has hindered Vietnam from ‘filtering’ projects that could cause pollution.

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Ministries hinder ‘green’ campaign

Lack of co-operation at ministry level is hindering the implementation of last year’s Law on Environment Protection.

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Workshop Talks Environmental Right Protection

A workshop was held in Hanoi on November 27 to seek to perfect a legal system to protect the environment as well as legitimate rights and interests of the community. Co-organised by the the People and Nature Reconciliation (PanNature) and the Justice Initiative Facilitation Fund (JIFF), the event brought together more than 100 delegates from State management agencies, the central justice agency, research institutions and non-governmental organisations.

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Institutionalization of Communities’ and CSOs’ Roles Helps Strengthen Environmental Protection

HANOI, 26 August 2014 – People and Nature Reconciliation (PanNature) organizes an one-day workshop featuring the theme “Institutionalizing Roles of Communities and CSOs in Environmental Governance in Vietnam”, which aims at facilitating discussions and proposals about realizing legal space for participation of CSOs and communities in environmental protection.

Vietnam’s Amendment Law on Environmental Protection was approved by the National Assembly on June 23rd 2014 and will be in effect from January 1st 2015. The Law is expected to have significant influence in terms of enhancing roles of communities and CSOs in managing, monitoring and protecting the environment.

Responsibilities to protect the environment of Vietnam Fatherland Front, socio-political and professional organizations as well as local communities are defined in Chapter XV of the Law. The Law requires project developers to hold public consultation with participation of agencies, organizations and communities that are directly affected by project activities. This important aspect of the new law opens opportunities for citizens and CSOs to actively and positively involve in the decision making processes of development projects and help minimize negative social and environmental impacts from development activities.

“To ensure effectiveness and expected impacts for the environment and society of the new law, roles of CSOs and communities need to be defined clearly in under-law regulations and policies. There should be transparent mechanisms for CSOs and affected communities to participate in dialogues, consultations in the decision-making processes, especially in those related to environmental impact assessment. This will help present potential social and environmental impacts from development projects, as well as reduce the risk of environmental conflicts over the long term.” – said Mr. Trinh Le Nguyen, Executive Director of PanNature.

During the workshop, discussions focus mainly on how to institutionalize roles of CSOs and communities under the new law. Participants also share their practical experiences and case studies on the involvement of different stakeholders, including communities, media and CSOs in environmental monitoring and management.

There are about 120 representatives from government agencies, elected bodies, NGOs, research institutions, journalists and local communities participating in this workshop.

The workshop is part of a series of activities with aim to support raising public concerns and media engagement for more vibrant policy debates in Vietnam, which is supported by the British Embassy Hanoi via the Asia Foundation (TAF).

For more information, please contact:
Ms. Do Hai Linh
Communication Manager
PanNature
Phone: (04) 3556-4001, ext 112
Email: linh@nature.org.vn


Workshop Sponsors

British Embassy Hanoi: The UK and Vietnam set up their diplomatic relations in 1973. The two countries entered into a Strategic Partnership Agreement in 2010, demonstrating the breadth and depth of existing cooperation and shared level of ambition for the future.
Website: www.gov.uk/government/world/vietnam
Facebook: www.facebook.com/ukinvietnam

The Asia Foundation is a non-profit international development organization committed to improving lives and mutual benefits between The United State of America and the dynamic and developing Asia Pacific. In Vietnam, from 2000, The Asia Foundation supports programs to advance effective governance, facilitate economic dialogue and private sector development, address environment and climate change challenges, empower women and human resource’s capacity, and improve international relations.
Website: www.asiafoundation.org/country/overview/vietnam

Workshop Organizer

People and Nature Reconciliation (PanNature) is a Vietnamese not-for-profit organization dedicated to protecting and conserving diversity of life and improving human well-being in Vietnam by seeking, promoting and implementing feasible, nature-friendly solutions to important environmental problems and sustainable development issues.
Website: www.nature.org.vn
Facebook: www.facebook.com/PanNature

Revised Environment Law Needs to Innovate Mechanisms for Public Pollution Lawsuits

Vietnam’s environment has faced accelerating pressures of degradation and pollution from development. Pollution not only affects the health, property and lives of citizens and the state, but is also a potential source of political and social unrest, causing civil protests to stop the acts of pollution. Therefore, clear litigation for citizen lawsuits to protect their rights and interests will be an essential solution and beneficial for citizens, the state, enterprises, and other parties.

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In Vietnam, unsustainable ‘modernization’ too much for sanitation services

In Vietnam, unsustainable ‘modernization’ too much for sanitation services.

Nhue-RiverA polluted section of the Nhue River in Hanoi’s Ha Dong District. Experts have urged Vietnam to invest more in sanitation services to reduce pollution. Photo by Ha An

Huynh Thanh Long said he and his neighbors close all their doors and windows whenever they are at home but that doesn’t keep the awful stink from the Ba Bo Canal out of the house.

“Pollution often forms a thick layer of foam on the surface of the flowing water,” said the resident of Ho Chi Minh City’s Thu Duc District.

According to the city’s anti-inundation center, pollution in the canal is a combination of wastewater from residential areas and industrial zones upstream.

Pollution in big cities is common in Vietnam, threatening public health and sustainable growth, experts say.

Vietweek recently reported serious pollution in Hanoi’s rivers, the result of untreated wastewater being discharged from series of new urban areas built without  wastewater treatment facilities.

“Over the last 20 years, the government of Vietnam has made considerable progress on the provision of wastewater services in urban areas, investing nearly US$250 million annually in recent years,” said Le Duy Hung, a senior urban specialist in Hanoi.

“However, keeping pace with rapid urbanization is challenging and it is estimated that $8.3 billion will be required to provide wastewater services to Vietnam’s urban population between now and 2025,” Hung, who is also a leading researcher at the World Bank’s Vietnam Urban Wastewater Review, wrote in a report released on January 20.

The report focuses on the specific challenges that Vietnam faces as a result of increasing environmental pollution associated with rapid urbanization. It also evaluates the performance of the wastewater sector in Vietnam.

It found that although 60 percent of households dispose of wastewater through a public sewerage system, much of this goes to the drainage system with only 10 percent of the wastewater treated.

Hung said estimated economic losses resulting from poor sanitation stood at $780 million per year, or 1.3 percent of the country’s GDP.

“Financing needs are still very high, estimated at $8.3 billion for sewerage services to an estimated urban population of 36 million by 2025,” he said.

Industrialization problem

Apart from untreated wastewater from residential areas, pollution also comes from industrial zones, threatening public health and sustainable growth.

Recently, many farmers in HCMC’s Cu Chi District complained that they do not have water for nearly 400 hectares (988 acres) of rice due to pollution in the Thai Cai and An Ha canals.

They accused the SEPZONE – Linh Trung 3 Industrial Zone of discharging untreated wastewater to pollute the canal.

Vietnam’s first industrial parks opened in 1991 as part of the doi moi reform movement, and there are currently more than 189 industrial parks and 878 export processing zones nationwide in 57 of the country’s total 63 cities and provinces.

Vo Thanh Thu of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s international trade policy advisory committee said that rapid industrialization over the past 20 years had led to a boom in industrial parks and export processing zones.

However, it has also led to serious pollution, leading to conflicts with local residents.

“Only half have established waste treatment plants,” Thu said at a recent seminar on the issue, organized by the People and Nature Reconciliation (PanNature) a Vietnamese non-profit organization.

Thu said that toxic waste is discharged without treatment, causing serious pollution to the environment.

The committee urged the government to review industrial park and export processing zone zoning plans and encouraged agencies to cooperate to improve the monitoring of environment regulations.

Action needed

Researchers estimated that investment levels of at least $250 per person are needed annually in the East Asia region over the next 15 years to manage wastewater and septage that is generated by the urban population.

In another World Bank report, entitled East Asia Pacific Region Urban Sanitation Review: Actions Needed, researchers examine what is holding back the sector and recommend ways to expand and improve urban sanitation services in an inclusive and sustainable way in Vietnam, Indonesia and the Philippines.

The region’s rapid urbanization is an engine of economic growth but poor quality sanitation leads to unsustainable development, with economic losses of 1.3, 1.5 and 2.3 percent of GDP in Vietnam, the Philippines and Indonesia, respectively.

“Worldwide, about 2.5 billion people lack adequate sanitation and 660 million of them live in East Asia and the Pacific Region,” said Charles Feinstein, World Bank sector manager for energy and water.

“Inadequate sanitation takes a tremendous toll on the quality of peoples’ lives, the environment, and the economy,” he said. “But the good news is investments in sanitation yield high returns.”

According to the report, poor sanitation has a significant impact on public health in the region including chronic poor health caused by diarrheal disease and an increased risk of disease epidemics such as cholera.

It calls for developing people-centered policies, promoting cost-effective technical solutions, developing sustainable institutions for quality services and developing viable financial schemes.

Returns on sanitation investments are also high.

Worldwide, every US dollar invested in sanitation yields $5.50 in return in terms of economic benefits.

In East Asia, this rate of return is even higher, with every US dollar spent yielding $8 in return, according to the World Health Organization.

Source: VietWeek

HCM City seminar addresses industrial waste

Pollution caused by industrial parks and export processing zones was addressed at a seminar held in Ho Chi Minh City last week, reports the Vietnam News Service. The seminar was organised by the People and Nature Reconciliation (PanNature) a Vietnamese non-profit organisation and was attended by among others Members of the Viet Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s International Trade Policy Advisory Committee.

drvothanhthuDr. Vo Thanh Thu presenting at the workshop. Photo: PanNature.

Committee member, Dr Vo Thanh Thu, said that rapid industrialisation in the past 20 years had led to a boom in industrial parks and export processing zones. She said that Vietnam has 289 industrial parks and 878 export processing zones.

“Only half have established waste treatment plants,” she says.

Dr Vo Thanh Thu said that toxic waste is discharged without treatment causing serious polution to the environment.

The committee urged the government to review the industrial park and export processing zone zoning plans and agencies to cooperate to improve the monitoring of environment regulations.

Source: The Southeast Asian Times

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