SEA Support for River Basin Planning in Viet Nam(2012–2015)
While strategic environmental assessment (SEA) is a statutory requirement for most major strategic planning exercises in Viet Nam, there has been little guidance on how to apply SEA to river basin planning.
Since late 2012, CEP has supported the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MoNRE) to address this issue, focusing initially on the intensively farmed and densely populatedRedRiver Basin, one of the country’s key economic areas. The 150km long Red River is the second largest inViet Namand its basin is home to over 20 million people and accounts for more than 20% of the nation’s rice production.
The Government has begun creating a basin development plan for the Red River with support from ADB. Technical assistance included a series of analyses on natural, economic and social features of the basin and the current status of water resources and their exploitation, development, and protection. These analyses served as a baseline for formulating river basin planning tasks to be implemented by MoNRE in preparation of the plan.
CEP contributed to this preparatory planning process by identifying the potential for SEA to strengthen river basin planning and management. Support included:
- preparing a national water demand projections report,
- developing a conceptual and analytical framework for SEA in river basin planning,
- reviewing key Red River Basin functions and uses including irrigation, flood control, forest management for watershed protection, and water quality, and
- conducting an ecosystem services assessment to investigate the economic values associated with river basin functions.
A key finding the work so far is that SEA and the river basin planning process in Viet Nam are well aligned, making it relatively straightforward to apply SEA into preparation of basin development plans. In addition, SEA can strengthen basin planning by looking at the different dimensions of river basin functions and basin development scenarios, ensuring that the planning process takes into account a fuller range of social and environmental issues and considers alternative development pathways.
Following on from this work, CEP plans to develop SEA guidelines for river basin planning inViet Nambeginning in late 2014.
Publish Date: 19th June 2014
Last Updated: 19th June 2014