Women, EbA, and flood resilience in Centre Viet Nam

Women, EbA, and flood resilience in Centre Viet Nam

In the last years, flooding has increasingly affected thousands of citizens of Thừa Thiên-Huế province in Central Vietnam.
Especially the low-lying coastal areas and Hue city have been repeatedly affected by severe flooding from the sea, rivers and heavy rainfall. Along with climate change, population growth and increasing urbanisation, the people of the province are highly affected by the impacts of flood hazards. Especially vulnerable to the impacts of flooding are women. Even though they are pivotal managers of natural and environmental resources and have the experience and knowledge to build community resilience, they only hold minor roles at the level of policy formulation. Through a combined approach of using ecosystem-based adaptation (EbA) and strengthening the role of women in disaster risk management (DRM) and climate change adaptation (CCA), the ResilNam project wants to contribute to increasing flood resilience in Thừa Thiên-Huế province.

This documentary project wants to support this innovative approach by providing insights into the every day life of the women involved in ResilNam; making their thoughts and actions understandable and emotionally accessible to an interested public.

Save the Mekong Statement on the Collapse of the Xe Pian – Xe Nam Noy Hydropower Project

Save the Mekong Statement on the Collapse of the Xe Pian – Xe Nam Noy Hydropower Project

Save the Mekong, a coalition of non-government organizations, community-based groups and concerned citizens within the Mekong region, wish to express our shock and concern at the recent collapse of the Xe Pian – Xe Nam Noy hydropower project in Laos, and our deep condolences to communities affected by this tragedy, both in southern Laos and downstream in Cambodia.
The Xe Pian – Xe Nam Noy dam collapse is a disaster, but not a natural disaster; it is a disaster caused by human error on the part of the dam-builders. Much of Laos and the Mekong are vulnerable to such disasters and to broader environmental threats due to eleven large hydropower dams on the lower Mekong mainstream and 120 tributary dams planned by 2040. The majority of these high-risk projects are planned for Laos as part of the country’s stated policy to become the “battery of Southeast Asia.” This disaster has amplified calls from within Laos to reconsider the country’s heavy investment in hydropower, and to strengthen the enforcement of national laws to ensure greater accountability from foreign investors.
The Xe Pian – Xe Nam Noy hydropower project has been surrounded by controversy from its beginnings. In 2013, civil society advocates flagged the project’s inadequate public consultation process, poor environmental impact assessment (EIA), lack of transboundary impact assessment, and the fact that environmental and social safeguards did not meet international standards. Already in its early planning stages, lack of information around potential project impacts and mitigation for project-induced losses plagued local communities. In the dam resettlement area, researchers witnessed people struggling to cope with a lack of access to sufficient food, water, and land.[1]
The Xe Pian and Xe Nam Noy feed into the Sekong River, one of the Mekong’s most important tributaries. Originating in the Central Highlands of Vietnam, the Sekong flows through Laos and then enters Cambodia to join the Mekong River. In Laos, the waters of the Sekong and its many smaller tributaries are home to tens of thousands of people from at least 20 different ethnic groups, all of whom rely on wild-capture fisheries and the surrounding forests and fertile lands for gathering and cultivating food. In addition, over 30,000 people living along the Sekong River in Stung Treng province of Cambodia, the majority of whom also belong to indigenous ethnic groups, rely on the land and watershed for subsistence. The health of Sekong River Basin communities and surrounding riparian ecosystems are being threatened by aggressive natural resource developments. Up to 17 dams are planned in the basin to export electricity to Vietnam and Thailand.
Even before this disaster, the Xe Pian – Xe Nam Noy hydropower project’s diversion of water from the Xe Pian River into the dam reservoir had been causing serious downstream impacts. Hydrological and water quality changes have decimated local fisheries, and villagers living along the Xe Pian River have received no compensation for the loss of their livelihoods. The Xe Pian National Protected Area, adjacent to the Xe Pian River, has also been negatively impacted by the project.
Project developers, financiers and investors must be held fully accountable for the damage caused by the Xe Pian – Xe Nam Noy project in accordance with Lao law and international standards and best practice.
The project is being developed by the Xe-Pian Xe-Namnoy Power Company (PNPC). PNPC is a joint venture formed in 2012 by SK Engineering and Construction (Korea), Korea Western Power, Ratchaburi Electricity Generating Holding, and Lao Holding State Enterprise.[2] The dam is scheduled to begin operation in 2019, and 90% of electricity produced will be exported to Thailand. The Electricity Generation Authority of Thailand (EGAT) is the buyer, and several major Thai banks provided funding for the project: Krung Thai Bank, Tanachart, the Export-Import Bank of Thailand, and Bank of Ayudhaya (Krung Sri).
The people affected by this tragedy face huge challenges in bringing these companies and financiers to justice. National judicial processes are in need of reform, and there are significant barriers to obtaining accountability in the investors’ home countries. Furthermore, given the political sensitivity surrounding such investments, fear of reprisal often inhibits local people from accessing company mechanisms for redress.
The plans for extensive hydropower construction throughout the Lower Mekong Basin pose major threats to Mekong ecosystems, and the food security, livelihoods and wellbeing of local populations. The Xe Pian-Xe Nam Noy project follows a common pattern for hydropower development in Laos, and elsewhere in the region, of extracting natural resources for revenue generation without adequate consultation with affected communities or concern for social and environmental costs. The vast majority of benefits and profits are accrued by project developers and investors while local communities bear the impacts and risks. Better alternatives to large-scale hydropower for energy generation and development exist. They must be comprehensively assessed and considered in decision-making and development planning.
In the wake of this tragic disaster, the Save the Mekong coalition makes the following demands:
· Project developers and financiers must take full responsibility for all losses and harm, including for those downstream in Cambodia.
· In the interest of transparency, the terms of the project concession agreement setting out the responsibilities of the company should be made public.
· An independent, comprehensive system must be immediately set up for survivors to safely voice their expectations for reparations.
· Project developers must substantiate how they will comprehensively address villagers’ expectations and implement a long-term plan for relief and rehabilitation. Reparations should start immediately, with no delay.
Lower Mekong Basin governments must suspend planned dam projects within the Lower Mekong Basin pending a comprehensive, independent and transparent review of existing plans and alternative options for energy planning and development revenue
Source: Save the Mekong

Ecosystem-based adaptation to increase flood resilience of vulnerable people – Evidence from central Vietnam

Ecosystem-based adaptation to increase flood resilience of vulnerable people – Evidence from central Vietnam

Floods are amongst the most devastating natural disasters, especially in Asia. Sea-level rise, changing rainfall patterns due to climate change as well as rapid urbanization result in increased flood risks at Asia’s coasts and inland areas.
Developing countries are especially vulnerable to floods due to their limited capacity to prevent and absorb disaster effects. Furthermore, within developing countries the poorest people are often the most vulnerable, as they live in the most threatened locations and struggle to adapt due to income constraints. Women present another vulnerable group, because they commonly experience disadvantages in social, cultural, economic and political domains as well as legal status and opportunities. These socio-cultural circumstances lead to increased deaths among women during floods, and higher poverty rates due to more unemployment and a lack of basic rights. Moreover, women face more psychological stress during and after a disaster due to the women’s caretaker role.
To limit the impacts of floods, ‘structural measures’, such as dikes or reservoirs, are the main focus of flood management in many regions within Asia, including Vietnam. However, these measures are often associated with negative impacts on the environment, on which especially poor and vulnerable communities depend on. A useful and complementary approach is Ecosystem-based Adaptation (EbA).
EbA is a more inclusive approach that takes into consideration vulnerable groups, whose livelihoods directly depend on natural resources, and make it a possible means to strengthen their position by offering multiple benefits. These measures also seem promising to help achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 5 (Gender equality), 10 (Reduced inequalities) and 13 (Climate Action).
images2029347_lu_lutEcosystem-based adaptation in Thua Thien-Hue Province
The Vietnamese province of Thua Thien-Hue is regularly hit by floods, which stand to get worse in the future. Recent flood events in November 2017 resulted in a cost of 830 billion VND and led to the loss of nine lives. The threat posed by floods makes adapting and managing flooding a highly urgent matter. At the same time, many of Thua Thien-Hue’s coastal communities suffer from unstable livelihoods and insufficient (financial) resources to recover from disasters. On average, 55% of a household’s income and a little less than 20% of the household’s food consumption comes from seafood, showing the importance of this natural resource. Additionally, women do not have a strong decision-making role and as such are often left out of adaptation and management plans.

In 2018, two EbA measures will be implemented in Thua Thien Hue Province jointly with the Disaster Management Centre, the Women’s Union and local communities. Both EbA measures aim to reduce flood risks while simultaneously supporting local livelihoods. In the old town of Hue City, we will restore urban water bodies. These are important water retention areas during heavy rainfall events. Moreover, many households live near the ponds or visit them frequently: about 50% of the respondents visit them at least once a day, which means the ponds and their appearance have a significant impact on the way people experience their environment. At the Tam Giang Lagoon, mangrove restoration will take place. Mangroves can help reduce wave and tidal energy as well as coastal erosion. Moreover, they improve water quality and provide important breeding grounds for fish. Here we will provide evidence that both measures hold up to the promise that EbA is favored by vulnerable groups, and is therefore more inclusive.
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For this study we conducted 1010 comprehensive household surveys across Hue City and the Tam Giang Lagoon. The comprehensive survey included a discrete choice experiment (DCE). A DCE is a valuation method that is widely used to value goods that are not (yet) sold on the market and is commonly applied. A DCE involves making choices between different packages that consist of changes in ecosystem services and a payment for these changes. By observing the trade-offs that respondents make it is possible to estimate relative values of the goods. This reveals the willingness-to-pay (WTP) of the local households for changes in the ecosystem services that are affected by the EbA measures, which are presented in Figure 1.
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We find that there are positive WTP values for all ecosystem services. This indicates that the households in both sites see benefits from the EbA measures that they are willing to pay for. At the Tam Giang Lagoon the most valued change is the increase in seafood abundance. A change in recreation suitability, i.e. a cleaner urban areas with more opportunities for recreational activities, is valued most in Hue City. To investigate if EbA is more inclusive, we divided our sample in two sub-samples according to income and gender differences.
Figures 2 and 3 show the estimated WTP for households above and below the mean income of our sample. It is clear that lower income households are willing to pay more for the benefits from EbA. While these households have less money to spend, they stand to gain more due to their current vulnerability. For example, less damage to their property means smaller repair costs and an overall safer environment, whereas increases in tourism, or recreation suitability, can lead to better employment and business opportunities. The potential increases in seafood abundance result in more stable livelihoods and food security.
tải xuống.png4Via the gender sub-samples we find that women have higher WTP values for all the ecosystem services, except for changes in tourism in Hue City, where WTP values are more or less the same (see Figures 4 and 5). An increase in protection from storms and floods not only protects women and their family’s lives during a flood, but also means that the work that needs to be done during the flood itself and the aftermath is reduced. Positive changes in seafood abundance and recreation suitability mean a more secure and pleasant environment for their household. The development of tourism provides interesting opportunities for women to increase and stabilize their income, especially in the rural areas where little other job opportunities arise.
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EbA is a possible means to adapt to climate change and can reduce the risk of disasters while simultaneously improving the flood resilience of those that are especially vulnerable to the impacts. Analyses focusing on the role of women and the poor in EbA measures implemented in Central Vietnam, such as the restoration of urban ponds and mangroves, provide an evidence in favor. Lower income households as well as women, in both urban and coastal areas, hold higher values for the changes that occur due to these measures, which not only reduce the risk of climate change impacts, but also present (new) livelihood opportunities and income security. It is therefore recommended to consider complementing structural measures such as dikes or reservoirs with EbA measures, and look into locations where EbA measures can replace hard measures altogether.

The project

In addition to this policy brief, the ResilNam project will complement these findings by also making further recommendations regarding:

  • The gender gap in flood resilience across the province;
  • The possible well-being impacts of flooding (across genders);
  • Gender dynamics in disaster risk management;
  • Community level adaptation projects.

The policy recommendations across all of the ResilNam activities can help increase flood resilience of urban and coastal communities in Thua Thien-Hue Province. Additionally, the ResilNam directly invests in ecosystem-based adaptation measures in collaboration with local stakeholders to increase flood resilience and strengthen the role of women in disaster risk management.
The project is part of the Global Resilience Partnership Water Window and it is implemented by the University of Potsdam, the Centre for Social Research and Development and the Institute for Environmental Studies/VU University Amsterdam.
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Sourse: https://www.weadapt.org/knowledge-base/ecosystem-based-adaptation/eba-as-an-approach-to-increase-flood-resilience-of-the-vulnerable

Communication of enhancing women’s awarness

Communication of enhancing women’s awarness

Centre for Social Research and Development (CSRD) associated with Thua Thien Hue Women’s Union held a communication to enhance the awareness of flood resilience for the members of local Women’s Union in 4 wards of Hue city, namely, Thuan Thanh, Thuan Hoa, Thuan Loc and Tay Loc; and 3 communes in Thua Thien Hue Province, such as Hai Duong – Huong Tra town, Loc Vinh – Phu Loc district and Quang Loi – Quang Dien district.

A meeting of communication was hosted by Women’s Union in Thuan Hoa ward.

Ecosystem, Ecosytem-based Adaptation and Flood Resilience were considered the theme of communication in local areas throughout. The role of women in flood and disaster resilience were especially emphasized.

A skit was perfomed by memers of Women’s Union of Thuan Thanh ward. The content focused on women’s roles before and after flood and in environment protection.
Q & A and many materials of communication were shared.

In communication meetings, women attended, acquired knowledge and jointly participated in many acitvities related to ecosystem and disaster, such as cultural arts, skits, Q & A, Vietnamese chanty, hat cheo,…These activites were lively, excited and actively joined by women.

In communication meeting, women attended, acquired knowledge and jointly participated in many acitvities related to ecosystem and disaster, such as cultural arts, skits, Q & A, Vietnamese chanty, hat cheo,…These activites were lively, excited and actively joined by women.
Members of Women’s Union in local areas in active participation.

In the following period, CSRD is expected to implement some activities with the aim of enhancing women’s abilities in the regions of project.
This activity were associated withThua Thien Hue Women’s Union within the framework of the project “Enhancing flood resilience in urban and coastal areas in Thua Thien Hue Province” which are implemented by CSRD, Postdam University (Germany), Amsterdam University (Netherland).

Public consultation meeting of mangrove planting plan and place

Public consultation meeting of mangrove planting plan and place

Centre for Social Research and Development held a public consultation with the aim of introducing the project and the implementing plan of mangrove forests planting in Vinh Tri, Hai Duong, Huong Tra town and Loc Vinh, Phu Loc district – Thua Thien Hue Province.

Consulting meeting with the authoritties and the locals in Loc Vinh commune (Phu Loc district).
Mr. Le Quang Tien – CSRD’s project officer – presents the project and the plan of mangrove forests planting.

This meeting also aimed at collecting the contributive ideas of the authorities and the locals so as to build the Regulation of Protection and Development mangrove forests on the basis of society.

Women’s Union members in two levels in the consulting meeting.
Ms. Le Thi Xuan Lan – Chairman of Vinh Tri village Women’s Union – shared in the consulting meeting.

The local authorities and the locals in Hai Duong commune reached a consensus of planting 3.25 hectare of sonneratia trees in Vinh Tri village and Loc Vinh and 1.5 hectare of those in Canh Duong village. In the consultation with Women’s Union, the local of Vietnam Fisheries Society, Farmer Association and some other branches also contribute many vital ideas for the project during the proces of forest-planting implementation.

Mr. Le Cong Minh – the Chairman of Loc Vinh People’s Committee – experessed his agreement and unanimity in the project’s implementation.
Mr. Nguyen Van Tho – Hai Duong Fisheries Society – shared the benefits of aquatic species development when mangroves are newly planted. Through this, he also wished villagers in Vinh Tri in particular and Hai Duong commune in general will grow together, protect and care well 3.25 hectares of sonneratia trees which will be planted in the next time.

The study results conclude that the new planting site is suitable for planting mangroves thanks to the favorable conditions in terms of natural conditions, views and guidelines for the plan of protective forest development from local authorities and people. The implementation of new plantation training and planting practice will be carried out by CSRD and local authorities in April 2018.

Share the reseach results with students of Geography – Geology Department

Share the reseach results with students of Geography – Geology Department

On the afternoon of April 7, 2018, Dr. Philip Bubeck, a Researcher and a member of the project entitled “Enhancing flood resilience in urban and coastal areas in Thua Thien Hue Province (or Resilnam), held a meeting to share the research results with the students of Geography – Geology Department, Hue Science University.
The meeting’s content focused on some research related to land usage status, tendency of increasing flood and its damages in Hue City. In addition, the survey results of the ecosystem values conducted by Resilnam project in urban and coastal areas in Thua Thien Hue Province were shared with the students. The results were analyzed and compared from material resources based on different tools and methods of research. This research and many activities were coordinated among Resilnam project, Centre for Social Research and Development (CSRD) and Department of Geography and Geology in Hue Science University.

teachers and students of Geography – Geology Department in the meetings of sharing research results.
Dr. Philip Bubeck, a researcher of Postdam University, Germany.
Presented results of research.
Presented results of research.
Presented results of research.
Updated informations of the project.


Training and visiting course for Women’s Union

Training and visiting course for Women’s Union

Centre for Social Research and Development (CSRD) held two training courses related to Sexual Role in Disaster Risk Management (DRM) and Ecosystem-based Adaptation (EbA).
Most of the first-course members come from Women’s Union of 4 wards in Hue city; and those in the second course are the citizens of 3 communes, namely, Quang Loi, Hai Duong and Loc Vinh – Thua Thien Hue Province.

Women’s Union members of 4 wards – Thuan Loc, Thuan Hoa, Thuan Thanh and Tay Loc – in training and visiting course.
Mr. Nguyen Luong Minh – From Thua Thien Hue Disaster Prevention, Search and Rescue Department – shared the information about bypass channels in the inner city of Hue.
Ms. Tran Thi Tam – From Women’s Union of Hai Duong commune – shared the ecosystem features and ecosystem-based adaptation activities in the local area.

In addition to enhancing the awareness of EbA, the trainees of Hue city also visited Mung Lake (Thuan Loc district, Hue city), listened to the presentation and learnt about drainage system in the lake areas in the inner of Hue city. Furthermore, they also visited, learnt and listened to the Hai Duong ecosystem introduction. The learners of 3 communes implemented to vistit and enquire the Loc Vinh ecosystem, such as lagoons, systems of Bu Lu and Lach Giang river, specific chestnut forests, dunes, coastal protecting forests,… Much shared knowledge associated with reality visiting and learning have given trainees a lot of practical lessons about ecosystem values; women’s roles, contribution and participation.

Trainee’s note-taking.
Dicussion training about Women’s roles in DRM, EbA; barriers and links related to making decision of DRM policies.
Trainees were educated much ecosystem information.

Training and visiting course aimed at giving trainees direct and detailed information, function of ecosystem in terms of river, lake and lagoon in Thua Thien Hue Province in flood regulation, local and national policies in terms of disaster risk management and ecosytem protection; and promoting women’s role in DRM.
Moreover, the project is expected to build society-based tourism model, ecosytem-protecting tourism; and connect the locals’ living advantages with communes’ sustainable development.

Raising awareness about roles of women on disaster resilience.

Raising awareness about roles of women on disaster resilience.

Centre for Social Research and Development (CSRD) organized a training: “Roles of women on Disaster Risk Management (DRM) and Ecosystem-based Adaptation (EbA)” for nearly 35 members from Women’s Union in province, city, wards, communes in Thua Thien Hue province.

Trainees from Women’s Union in 4 wards and 3 communes in Thua Thien Hue province.

“Ecosystem-based Adaption (EbA) is the process of ecosystem recovery, conservation and management which aim to provide supporting services on climate change adaption”. Women can participate and support on natural disaster prevention and control to reduce the risk of disaster and adapt ecosystem-based.

Trainees participate in discussion group.
Participants show their ideas in the discussion group.
Results of discussion.

Roles and contributions of women can be implemented if they are provided knowledge and raising awareness. In addition, men in their family can share the housework so that women can have more time on EbA activities. Besides, local authorities need to create conditions for women to participate in some activities such as community development, natural disaster prevention, climate change adaptation which meet gender need.
End of the course, participants were supplied knowledge. Besides, they also want to learn more about of EbA. CSRD is going to raise awareness of participants by visiting and learning about EbA model.

CSRD in partnership with Women’s Union to implement activities in Thua Thien Hue Province

Centre for Social Research and Development (CSRD) and Women’s Union in Thua Thien Hue province had a meeting to discussed and planned for activities within the framework of the project: “Enhancing flood resilience in urban and coastal areas in Thua Thien Hue province”.

Officers of Women’s Union at the meeting.

Training course and communication activities on raising awareness are two main activities which implemented by CSRD and Women’s Union. Implementing two training courses for women in four wards in Hue centre areas and three communes in coastal areas in Thua Thien Hue province. Focus on “Roles of women in Disaster Risk Management (DRM) and Ecosystem-based Adaptation (EbA) activities, barriers and bridges on the decision-making of DRM policies ”. In addition, communication activities at 7 local areas are also implemented.

Mrs. Ngo Thi Anh Tuyet – Vice-chairman of Woman’s Union shared her opinions about activities in the future.

Activities focus on practical knowledge about DRM and EbA for participation such as participate on study tours, learn about local knowledge on project area, participation will share knowledge and experience together. Communication activities will be celebrated by members of Women’s Union which based on their experience to strongly approach and spread.
Activities will be operating in March and April 2018.

Advancing Women’s Leadership in Water Resource Governance

Advancing Women’s Leadership in Water Resource Governance

In September 2017, Oxfam and the IUCN held a regional forum in Vientiane, Lao PDR to discuss gender equity and women’s leadership in water governance in the lower Mekong basin. The forum’s participants came up with key opportunities to bridge existing gender gaps in the Mekong region.

“Gender equality is not just about men or women. Gender equality is about both, and built upon mutual understanding.”