Stakeholders provided their final comments at a 19 January 2009 workshop to revise an IUCN-supported draft framework that seeks to integrate Viet Nam’s two largest water users: ecosystems and agriculture.
The workshop was the final activity of the preparation phase of the Water for Food and Ecosystems (WFE) partnership between Viet Nam’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) and the Netherlands Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality (LNV), being implemented with support from IUCN.
The WFE initiative aims to formulate integrated national- and local-level water management strategies that harmonise multiple human uses with the long-term sustainability of water-dependent ecosystems.
“Viet Nam is a country that suffers from water scarcity, therefore it’s important to leverage all available resources for the implementation of this strategy to meet the water demands of both agricultural production and healthy ecosystem maintenance,” explained Mr. Tran Kim Long, vice-head of MARD’s International Cooperation Department.
To achieve that goal, the WFE initiative began with an 18-month initial phase to conduct baseline studies and use them to develop a framework for different water-using sectors at the national and provincial level to coordinate their policies and programmes.
Studies undertaken during preparation phase showed opportunities and stakeholder interest in a WFE collaboration. With facilitation from IUCN, MARD and LNV crafted a draft strategy for overcoming factors that might constrain the process of integrating water management in Viet Nam.
“We are using issues like growing competition for water resources and increasing pollution as a starting point for developing a strategy for dealing with them,” said Dr. Vu Van Trieu, country representative of IUCN Viet Nam.
Workshop participants stressed the importance of communicating the strategy at the grassroots level and getting input from local stakeholders, like farmers, among other comments for revising the draft framework.
Mr. Martien Beek of the Netherlands Embassy said the final WFE strategy must prioritise the areas it addresses and find an appropriate balance between work on national-level legislation and local-level implementation.
“In the long term, we want to strengthen relations between the Netherlands and Viet Nam on issues like food security and production, water management, and ecology,” he said.
MARD and LNV will use the comments made at the workshop to develop the final Phase I framework strategy.
They will utilise the final framework as they enter the next phase of the WFE project, which involves devising institutional mechanisms for more effective coordination between water-use sectors and pilot activities in four areas: wastewater reuse for irrigation, integrated farming and aquaculture systems in coastal areas, village-level integrated water and sanitation management, and WFE management in the Huong river basin.
For more information, please contact Mr. Ly Minh Dang at firstname.lastname@example.org.