Environmental Democracy Index Score
Vietnam scored well on the Transparency pillar, and fair on the Participation and Justice pillars. Regarding the Transparency pillar, there is a right to access environmental information granted to members of the public, and most relevant ministries are obligated to proactively disseminate environmental information. However, there is no requirement to release relevant and timely information during environmental emergencies. As for the Participation pillar, the public has a right to participate in a majority of decisions that relate to the environment, but there is no requirement that participation must occur at an early stage of the process. As for the Justice pillar, there are some review procedures to ensure that aggrieved persons are afforded redress when their environmental rights are violated. However, there are no assistance mechanisms in place to address gender-based barriers to access to justice. By addressing these issues, Vietnam could ensure that the public can access environmental information, can participate in environmental decision making at an early stage, and can challenge government decisions relating to the environment.
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The legal framework in Vietnam includes constitutional provisions for access to information and access to justice. In addition, multiple pieces of legislation govern all three access rights. However, the TAI assessment revealed that the laws do not have clear stipulations binding the state agencies to provide timely information, or technical support. Additionally enforcement of laws remains highly problematic.
The TAI coalition in Vietnam is led by the Vietnam Association for Conservation of Nature and Environment (VACNE). With 110 member organizations in various sectors and provinces, VACNE is a broad social organization concerned over the protection of natural resources and environment of Vietnam. It encourages the rational use, rehabilitation, and regeneration of natural resources, and the protection and improvement of the environment of Vietnam, contributing to protection of the environment regionally and globally.
As part of the Rio +20 event, VACNE drafted a decree on mobilizing communities for environmental protection and sustainable development. The decree states that it is essential to promote the important and decisive role of communities in environmental protection and sustainable development of the country. The decree also defines the necessary information for the community and participation of the community in relevant activities.
A TAI assessment of Vietnam was completed in December 2007. The 20 cases studies in the assessment were presented in numerous workshops across the country. Results were also published in a publicly available book, “Community with Environment.”