Tag: River basin and watershed

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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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)

Socio- economic development, urbanisation pressures Vietnam’s rivers of life

Socio-economic development and urbanisation exert more and more pressure on Vietmam’s river systems every day, as national stakeholders too fail to co-ordinate their conservation efforts, according to the Vietnam News Agency.

As urbanisation increases and industrial parks are being built almost everywhere, the rivers condition has become an increasingly public concern, as well as topics of many environment conferences.

There was a claim saying that conferences attended by scientists are not attended by government officials, who do not have a single clue what transpired at the conferences, for them to make policy change to conserve the nation’s rivers.

According to the Vietnam news agency’s report, the government agencies, to some extent, have made many attempts to prevent the damage to rivers by industrial factories.

However, their effectiveness is limited because at the same time there are investment assessments for more industrial projects underway along the river.

The agencies do not know how to proceed with big pollution cases such as when the monosodium glutamate producer Vedan polluted the Thi Vai River.

“Rivers are vital to the environment and human life” was the message from a conference on the health of rivers and the work to protect river basins held in late October at southern Dong Nai Province’s Cat Tien National Park.

More than 65 attendants, including environmentalists, scientists, low-ranking Government officials and NGOs agreed that it was necessary to establish a national action plan for protecting the country’s river networks.

But they could not reach a workable consensus on what to do.

“I agree with the framework we together set up today, but my question is that who will fund us to carry out the work, including funds for research,” said Ky Quang Vinh, director of Can Tho City’s natural resources and environment monitoring and survey centre.

Dao Viet Nga, director of the Viet Nam River Network (VRN), said the stakeholders were still struggling to connect with each other and share information when action was needed on particular water pollution cases.

Nga recommended opening the VRN network in the south since it only had members in the north.

The acting alone matter was illustrated by Nguyen Son Phong of the Southern Institution for Irrigation Planning, who said:”The VRN was set up in 2005 but we know nothing about its existence and its function.”

The institution is a governmental agency working on the protection of the Dong Nai River basin – the country’s largest river basin, assigned by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment since 2003.

Dr Le Phat Quoi of HCM City National University’s Institute for Natural Resources and Environment said it was crucial for the public and Government to value scientific research for action to be taken.

Quoi said: “The first step is to create a firm base with accurate scientific evidence and a plan, the next is to call for participation of public and related agencies and then suggest changes in constitution and policy for environmental matters.”

PanNature, an international NGO (*) working in Viet Nam, said though Vietnamese laws complied with the world in recognising the principle that polluters had to pay for their pollution, Government agencies had troubles fining polluters since there were no precedents in the country.

PanNature released a statements on December 18 as it introduced a paper titled “Right to sue for compensation of environmental pollution: legal base and procedures”, which was developed by Ha Noi University of Law’s Dr Vu Thu Hanh and Dr Tran Anh Tuan.

The paper used the Vedan and Thi Vai River case as its case study as it is considered to be the best illustration of a need for legal actions against a polluter.

The researchers aimed to provide details on how the authorities could penalise the company.

“Methodology to fulfil a case of pollution is not just compensation of damages to people and environment, but it must show a scientific and legal base to fine the polluters,” PanNature said.

Tran Van Tu, deputy chairman of Can Tho City’s Association of Technology and Science Unions, said it might be late but scientists were still responsible for saving the rivers.

Dr Duong Van Ni of Can Tho University said that if Government leaders were not informed of scientists’ findings, their research was useless.

The VRN on November 12 set up its southern office in HCM City aiming to create a more co-ordinated national team of scientists and researchers for river conservation but they still need to involve all stakeholders if they are to make a difference.

Source: DanTri International

* Note from PanNature: PanNature is actually a Vietnamese organization, not an international NGO as stated in the article.

Dialogue on River Basin Management in Vietnam

Under Strategic Goal No#1, the Dialogue on River Basin Management in Vietnam was held by the Vietnam Water Partnership (VNWP) in collaboration with People and Nature Reconciliation (PanNature) on 8th September 2009 in Nui Coc, Thai Nguyen. In attendance were 49 participants representative from the Water Resources Management Department of Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MONRE); the Department of Water Resources of Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD); Institute for Water Resources Planning, Academy for Water Resources of MARD; Vietnam Mekong River Committee; representative from Department of Natural Resources Management (DONRE), Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) of Ho Chinh Minh and Da Nang cities, Bac Ninh, Bac Giang and Thai Nguyen provinces; JICA project on the Study for Water Environment Management on River Basins in Vietnam; professional associations, NGOs and scientists.

The objectives of the Dialogue are:

  • To be a platform for related stakeholders to discuss about the experiences and lesson learned from current River Basin Organization (RBO) in Vietnam and Southeast Asia countries;
  • To recommend on strengthening RBO in Vietnam context following IWRM approach in basins in order to contribute for implementing new Government Decree No. 120/2008/N?-CP on River Basin Management;
  • To heighten VNWP role in IWRM promotion.

Recommendations of the RBO follow by Decree No. 120/2008/N?-CP:

  • It is necessary to empower for RBO to manage water resources. RBO need to have enough human and financial resources or have mechanisms for financial attraction to ensure it’s operation smoothly
  • RBO should operate as a independent professional agency, complying with the national policies and legal framework. It also has power for technical recommendations which are basic to central and local governments for their decisions.
  • RBO should have mechanisms for stakeholder participation in the decision making process related to water resources development and management.
  • RBO Standing Office should have technical functions to ensure the water resources governance; objective relationship with local government; professional actions; finance allocated and locate within basin.

Source: GWP-SEA

Hydropower Trend in Vietnam: The Less Mentioned Social and Environmental Side-Effects

Vietnam has good potentials for hydropower development with the watershed system consisting of more than 2,000 rivers and streams. In theory, hydropower can supply about 308 billion Kwh of electricity. Vietnam’s technical hydropower reserve of plants over 10 MW is 72 billion Kwh. There are about 360 sites suitable for installing hydropower plants with total capacity of 17.500MW1. This does not include other hydropower plants of smaller sizes.

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Nguyen Viet Dung on Stimson’s Regional Voices

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