The manager of the project “impacts of small hydropower project on local livelihoods and ecosystems from the views of ethnic communities”, Ms. Chao Thi Yen, the Center for People and Nature Reconciliation (PanNature) has been selected by the Eco-Peace Leadership Center (EPLC) to become one of 10 leaders from Asia-Pacific region to participate in the 13th EPLC Program.
In order to further promote trade and investment cooperation between the two countries in particular and the Mekong region in general, the Vietnam-Laos-Cambodia Association for Economic Cooperation Development (VILACEAD) in cooperation with the Vietnam Business Association for Cooperation and Investment in Lao PDR (Viet – Lao BACI), the Center for People and Nature Reconcilation (PanNature) organized the 8th Mekong Region Annual Forum in 2017 with the theme "Promoting sustainable and responsible investment on agriculture and trade". The forum is co-funded by UN-REDD Viet Nam Phase II Programme.
Located at the extreme southeastern end of the Mekong River where it approaches and empties into the South China Sea through a network of distributaries, the Mekong Delta has long been referred to as Vietnam’s “rice bowl” which is characterized by dominant fertile agriculturally-rich low-lands and what may be called a “biological treasure trove.” A majority of the Delta’s 20 million, ethnically diverse population rely on the River’s fish resources and rice production for their subsistence, with very little margin for error. As home to thousands of species of fish, bird, reptile, and mammal species, the Mekong Delta is one of the most biologically diverse areas in the world. Tens of endangered species, such as the largest bird, Sarus crane, and giant catfish, thrive in this maze of wetlands, swamps, arroyos, and canals too. However, Vietnam’s Mekong Delta is now one of the world’s most fragile regions appearing most vulnerable to climate hazards, notably temperature rises and extreme drought followed by freshwater scarcity and salinity intrusion. More challenging is the fact that upstream dam-building and water diversion projects have caused severe and irreparable damage to the Delta, making the impacts of climate change become much more serious than what was assumed in prevailing climate change scenarios in Vietnam. As a result, the Delta has so much at stake due to huge water shortages, which in turn may lead to increased rate of salinity, inland ground depression, and humanitarian and other economic impacts.
PanNature has convened first Governance Board meeting on 15 January 2017 in our field office in Van Ho district, Son La province. Our current Board consists of six members: Dr. Dao Trong Hung - Chairman (Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology), Mr. Nguyen Trung (former Ambassador of Vietnam to Germany and Thailand, former member of the Prime Minister's Research Committee), Mrs. Pham Kieu Oanh (Director of CSIP), Dr. Le Hoang Lan (Vietnam Association for Conservation of Nature and Environment), Mr. Tran Manh Chien (founder of Bac Tom Safe and Organic Food Store Chains), and Dr. To Xuan Phuc (Australian National University).
Attention has recently been paid to how REDD+ mitigation policies are integrated into other sectoral policies, particularly those dealing with climate adaptation at the national level. But there is less understanding of how subnational policy and local projects are able to incorporate attention to adaptation; therefore, we use a case study in Vietnam to discuss how REDD+ projects and policies address both concerns of mitigation and adaptation together at subnational levels. Through stakeholder interviews, focus groups, and household surveys in three provinces of Vietnam with REDD+ activities, our research sought to understand if REDD+ policies and projects on the ground acknowledge that climate change is likely to impact forests and forest users; if this knowledge is built into REDD+ policy and activities; how households in forested areas subject to REDD+ policy are vulnerable to climate change; and how REDD+ activities can help or hinder needed adaptations. Our findings indicate that there continues to be a lack of coordination between mitigation and adaptation policies in Vietnam, particularly with regard to REDD+. Policies for forest-based climate mitigation at the national and subnational level, as well as site-based projects, have paid little attention to the adaptation needs of local communities, many of whom are already suffering from noticeable weather changes in their localities, and there is insufficient discussion of how REDD+ activities could facilitate increased resilience. While there were some implicit and coincidental adaptation benefits of some REDD+ activities, most studied projects and policies did not explicitly target their activities to focus on adaptation or resilience, and in at least one case, negative livelihood impacts that have increased household vulnerability to climate change were documented. Key barriers to integration were identified, such as sectoral specialization; a lack of attention in REDD+ projects to livelihoods; and inadequate support for ecosystem-based adaptation.