Asia

Promoting Active Participation of Civil Society in Environmental Governance

Group discussion at training workshop in Can Tho Province Photo: © IUCN Viet Nam

Project title: Promoting Active Participation of Civil Society in Environmental Governance

Location: Viet Nam 

Duration: 2010 – 2012

Project background: Some local NGOs in Viet Nam are active in advocacy and have started to influence government policy, but they remain few in number and of limited capacity, a gap that imposes real costs, notably in the environment sector. This results in limited independent oversight and low levels of government accountability. Forests continue to degrade, the illegal wildlife trade thrives, dams are built without adequate consultation, and environmental safeguards are widely ignored.

Key to this project design is the partnership with Ho Chi Minh National Academy of Politics and Public Administration (HCMPA), Center for Environmental Training and Communications (CETAC), and Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), each of which provides complementary expertise and experience. 

This project will improve the enabling environment by supporting the preparation of a revised environment and human rights curriculum in collaboration with the HCMPA. This curriculum will include a module that covers the participation of civil society organisations in environmental monitoring and reporting. The use of case studies drawn from international and national experience will demonstrate the practical benefits of greater public participation.  

Training journalists in environmental research and reporting will increase the quantity and quality of environmental news and information. Environmental pollution and degradation are public issues but the standard of reporting is generally low. There are no specialised environmental journalists and media coverage is typically incomplete and often misleading. IUCN will work with CETAC and CIFOR to train a critical mass of environmental journalists and support them through on-going liaison information sharing.  

Through a membership drive, the project will increase its membership among local NGOs such as Center for Environment and Community Research (CECR), Southern Institute of Ecology (SIE), Action for the City (ACCD), and Climate Change Resilience Center. IUCN will assist prospective members with a financial audit and annual report, which are required for IUCN membership (and by many donors), support technical capacity development and advise on fundraising and strategy development.  IUCN will integrate current and potential members into initiatives that boost their credibility with government.  

Objectives of the project: The objectives of this project are to improve environmental conditions in Vietnam by improving the quality of environmental governance through an integrated package of activities that include:

  • Raising high-level political awareness of the need to expand the participation of local NGOs in environmental reporting and monitoring
  • Improving the quality and quantity of environmental reporting and analysis
  • Building the capacity of local environmental NGOs 

Outcomes: 

  • Increased high-level government support for NGO participation in environmental monitoring and reporting
  • Environmental media coverage improved
  • Network of local environmental NGOs formed and supported through networking, information sharing, and membership of IUCN

Donor: The United Nations Democracy Fund (UNDEF)

Partners: Ho Chi Minh National Academy of Politics and Public Administration (HCMPA)/Vietnam Institute of Human Rights (VIHR); Center of Environmental Training and Communications (CETAC); and Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR)

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