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Danish expertise has left its fingerprints on many aspects of Vietnam’s development strategy
The Vietnam-Denmark Development Cooperation in Environment Programme has been a big winner for Vietnam. The Danish embassy to Vietnam said that the programme (DCE) – one of the biggest cooperation programmes between the two countries in 2005-2011 period – “has directly affected the capacity enhancement of decision makers, policy makers, people who set up and implement finance plans, and officials working in environmental sectors, because they have the chance to attend diverse training courses or directly participate in demonstration projects designed by the programme.”
However, the most outstanding gains from the programme, implemented in Phu Tho, Thai Nguyen, Ha Nam, Nghe An, Quang Nam and Ben Tre provinces, was that it had contributed to bettering the quality of environmental protection policies and environmental managers’ capacity.
It had also raised public awareness of environmental protection issues, and improved the environment in localities where demonstration projects had been carried out.
The programme includes five components: Pollution Control in Poor Densely Populated Areas (PCDA), Sustainable Livelihoods in and around Marine Protected Areas (LMPA), Cleaner Production in Industry (CPI), Environmentally Sustainable Development in Poor Urban Areas (SDU) and Capacity Development Support in Environmental Planning and Management (CDS).
In addition, the Programme Support Office (PSO) is considered as a component but it has typical function of supporting administratively to the Component Support Office and acting as a secretariat of the Program Coordination Committee (PCC).
The PCDA project combined with authorised agencies to issue 28 legal documents at central levels, 18 administrative decisions at local levels, and 54 technical guidelines on pollution control and environmental management.
The PCDA also organised 33 training courses for over 1,700 people and 113 training conferences for over 11,000 people. In addition, there were seven study trips abroad and two local field trips. The courses and conferences were mostly focused on disseminating legal regulations in environmental protection and waste management. The component also equipped localities with some machines and monitoring equipment.
It implemented 16 demonstration projects to improve environmental quality in poor densely populated areas. These projects helped improve locals and authorities’ awareness of environmental protection and management.
Meanwhile, LMPA reported it had supported the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) to draw up the planning of 16 marine protected areas (MPA) of Vietnam towards 2020. This planning was approved by the prime minister in 2010.
The LMPA also supported the establishment of new MPAs (Phu Quoc-Kien Giang province; Con Co-Quang Tri province, Cu Lao Cau-Binh Thuan province) and Nui Chua National Park in Ninh Thuan province. Livelihood support in the MPAs and the national park was carried out by the component via various models such as credit funds, community eco-tourism, and livelihood transfer, among others.
In addition, the CPI said it had helped the government issue a cleaner production strategy for industry until 2020. CPI had also helped make a database for cleaner production for 63 provinces and cities. Besides, the component organised training courses for the public and for enterprises, with the participation of over 6,000 learners in over 40 provinces and cities.
The component carried out 61 demonstration projects on cleaner production in industrial enterprises. The component reported that cleaner production had helped Vietnam reduce 1.3 million cubic metres of wastewater and 30,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide annually.
Meanwhile, the SDU also made a greatly contribution to developing Vietnam’s Urban Planning Law, and helped the Ministry of Construction make a report on assessing climate change impacts on Vietnam’s urban areas and the construction sector’s programme on responding to climate change.
The SDU also conducted 12 demonstration projects and the component organised 38 training courses attended by 2,800 participants from the local to central levels to improve their knowledge of urban environmental protection.
As for the CDS, it helped the Ministry of Planning and Investment evaluate environmental impact in the ministry’s building socio-economic development plan and strategy. It trained 1,900 cadres from ministries and ran many seminars. This enabled participants to improve their environmental management skills.
Furthermore, the component helped localities assess their environmental situation while their socio-economic development plan was designed. For example, it helped Quang Nam province revise its socio-economic development plan 2011–2015, and pared down targets which could have had a negative impact on the environment.
“The DCE programme has visibly improved the living environment and greatly benefited people in the province’s Mo Cay and Ba Tri districts, where the programme is implemented,” said Cao Van Trong, vice chairman of Ben Tre province People’s Committee.
“Enterprises joining the programme have been able to reduce their consumption of fuel, their energy use and their production costs, while contributing to environmental protection,” said Phu Tho province People’s Committee’s vice chairman Nguyen Dinh Cuc.