Hydropower impacts: From Environmental, Social and Gender Perspectives

Page 1




A bilingual publication by Center for Social Research and Development under the funding of Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung, Southeast Asia Office


TABLE OF CONTENTS Table of Contents




Introduction by A/Prof. Dr. Le Anh Tuan




List of Tables


List of Figures


List of Boxes


Chapter 1: Understanding and responding to hydropower impacts: From conceptualization to practice


Nguyen Quy Hanh, Pham Thi Dieu My, Jacqueline Storey, Nguyen Thanh Toan and Nguyen Thi Nhu Trang



Chapter 2: Buon Kuop hydropower: Evaluation of the implementation of environmental protection commitments and emerging environmental and social impacts in affected areas


Nguyen Bac Giang, Pham Thi Dieu My and Le Quang Tien

Chapter 3: Gender impact assessment of A Luoi hydropower in Thua Thien Hue Province


Le Thi Nguyen, Nguyen Thi My Van and Lam Thi Thu Suu

Chapter 4: Gender balanced? Impact assessment of hydropower projects on the Srépok river


Nguyen Quy Hanh, Phan Thi Ngoc Thuy, Nguyen Thi Xuan Quynh, Hoang Thi Hoai Tam and Phan Thang Long



Chapter 5: Hydropower impacts and community responses: An analysis of barriers


Dang Ngoc Quang, Tran Mai Huong and Tran Thi Thanh Tam


Chapter 6: On the road to change: Results of gender-based interventions in hydropower impacted communities in Dak Lak Province


Hoang The Vinh and Nguyen Quy Hanh

Chapter 7: Beyond projects: How CSRD has built partnership with hydropower impacted communities in the Central and Central Highlands of Vietnam


Pham Thi Dieu My, Jacqueline Storey, Nguyen Thanh Toan and Nguyen Thi Nhu Trang

Chapter 8: Vietnam’s hydropower policy reform: Reflections on reality-based impacts


Le Anh Tuan

About the authors


Vietnam’s Central and Central Highlands hydropower impacts on photos



PREFACE This is the second publication by the Center for Social Research and Development (CSRD) on hydropower development in Vietnam’s Central and Central Highlands, focusing on the integrity of multi-dimensional impacts, impact assessments and promotion of stakeholders’ roles and responsibilities, especially the involvement of affected communities. Our first publication in 2015 introduces new approaches to environmental and social impact assessment and highlights the importance of social impact assessment as an indispensable requirement for sustainable development of hydropower projects. This second volume offers at least two new aspects. Epistemologically, hydropower impacts and impact assessments are discussed under sustainable development dimensions including environment and ecology, society and culture, health and gender. Ontologically, hydropower impacts are (re)viewed under heterogeneous communities and varied stakeholders, across different time frames and responses to such impacts by local communities as change agents. Together with the previous publication, this book reflects rarely-heard voices of local communities, both women and men who are affected by hydropower development in the region. They are no longer passive information providers. They are taking the role of knowledge co-producers in CSRD-promoted participatory research and involvement in co-monitoring hydropower impacts. In addition, mitigating negative impacts and creating new changes in local lives in such a turbulence context can be further enhanced if affected communities are centered and supported by different stakeholders. In the long-term vision, impacted communities need to be empowered and networked, with active participation of the private sector, State agencies at all levels, and other community-supporting organizations. We sincerely thank the Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung Foundation, Southeast Asia Office (RLS SEA) for supporting CSRD’s development projects for hydropower impacted communities for the last several years as well as financial assistance to this publication.


FOREWORD By Associate Professor Dr. Le Anh Tuan – Vice Director of the Delta Research and Global Observation Network in Mekong Institute (DRAGON-Mekong Institute), Can Tho University In last two decades, hundreds of hydropower projects have been developed widely in many mountainous and highland areas in the North, the Central, the Central Highlands and the South-East of Vietnam. These hydropower schemes have distributed significantly to the electricity demands of the country, mostly for industrial and domestic consumption, but they are also bringing several controversies and negative impacts related to environmental and social issues, such as deforestation, biodiversity losses, river-flow regime variation, sedimentation reduction to downstreams, agricultural and residential land acquisition, compensation for villagers’ losses, including their displacement and resettlement, livelihood supports and further the financial sharing from hydropower development benefits. The Central and Central Highlands areas of Vietnam are considered as the region having the highest density of small, medium and large-size hydropower projects developed. However, the voices of local communities and other related stakeholders, specially the poor groups, women groups and ethnic minorities groups, have not been fully noticed. Although, some improved policies on land acquisition, damage compensation and resettlement in Vietnam have been released, the conflicts situation due to the inequality and unsuitability on people’s living benefits and rights with hydropower investors and local governments are not solved completely. This is a second book published by the Center for Social Research and Development (CSRD) with the financial supports of Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung (RSL). The overall goal of the book is to review Vietnam hydropower development policies and real stories related hydropower projects concerning environmental and social issues, focusing strongly in gender equity in the Central and the Central Highlands areas. The book also gives more policy recommendation on impact management in order to figure out the participation of vulnerability communities, women groups and other related stakeholders in minimizing negative impacts of hydropower projects and increasing the possible positive sites of these development. There are total eight chapters in the book as outline. In Chapter 1, authors Nguyen Quy Hanh, Pham Thi Dieu My, Jacqueline Storey, Nguyen Thanh vi

Toan and Nguyen Thi Nhu Trang have discoursed the hydropower development from the ideal and conceptual theory to the practical application situations. Many research projects and reports of some nongovernmental organizations have been summarized in this Chapter. In Chapter 2, the story of Buon Kuop hydropower project is commentated by authors Nguyen Bac Giang, Pham Thi Dieu My and Le Quang Tien, in which the implementation of environmental protection commitments and the impacts on environment and society in affected areas have been evaluated. Many gaps between official documents on environmental impact assessments and practical situations have been found. The following Chapter 3, authors Le Thi Nguyen, Nguyen Thi My Van and Lam Thi Thu Suu have examined other case study in gender impacts of A Luoi hydropower project. Based on the survey data, it is found that the gender issues were not considered mainly in this case. Many local women’s and children’s needs were missed during all project implementation phases. As demonstrated by authors Nguyen Quy Hanh, Phan Thi Ngoc Thuy, Nguyen Thi Xuan Quynh, Hoang Thi Hoai Tam and Phan Thang Long in Chapter 4, they have used the gender impact assessment (GIA) tool in Srepók river hydropower development. There are positive and negative impacts found in the survey; however gender unbalance seems considerable. In Chapter 5, authors Dang Ngoc Quang, Tran Mai Huong and Tran Thi Thanh Tam have examined the barriers analysis on hydropower impacts and community response. Policies on land acquisition, compensation for losses caused by hydropower dam construction, supports for displacement, resettlement, and family livelihood are still inadequate and poor. In Chapter 6, authors Hoang The Vinh and Nguyen Quy Hanh look the ways forwarding the environmental justification and gender equity for the hydropower issues by suggestions as building community networks, raising awareness for women and mass communication development. Some models on upgrading the roles of women have been introduced in this Chapter. Authors Pham Thi Dieu My, Jacqueline Storey, Nguyen Thanh Toan and Nguyen Thi Nhu Trang, in Chapter 7, focus on the impacts and achievements of the implementation of CSRD projects for a better overview about hydropower dam development and CSRD staffs’ efforts to seek justice for affected people and make better improvement in policy making process. In last one, the processes of hydropower policy reforms in Vietnam are addressed by author Le Anh Tuan from Can Tho University, in Chapter 8, including historical hydropower development, listing environmental and social problem statements as well as factors related to the reform of hydropower development policies. In this Chapter, some case studies on controversial hydropower projects cancelled have been presented. vii

Globally, the various chapters of the book have demonstrated partly the gender and community problems occur in most hydropower projects in the Central and Central Highland areas of Vietnam. These problems can be solved efficiently if the goals of economic and social development must be considered and reformed in terms of sustainability in regions. All in all, the main messages of this book is that the sustainable development requires the conservation and the promotion of nature values and human satisfaction to encourage development standards within reasonable human-ecological bounds.





Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development Community-based research Civil Society Organization Center for Social Research and Development Danish Hydraulic Institute Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Environmental Impact Assessment Vietnam Electricity Foreign Direct Investment Focus on Global South Free Prior and Informed Consent Inter-Church Organization for Development Cooperation Piloting Gender Impact Assessment with A Luoi and SrÊpok 3 dam along the 3S river area in the Central and Central Highland Vietnam Enhancing Gender Equality and Women Empowerment in dam affected communities along the 3S river area in the Central and Central Highland Vietnam Land use right certificate Mekong Delta Study Research Center for Management and Sustainable Development Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment Memorandum of Understanding National Environmental Policy Act Non-governmental organization Non-timber forest product Project Management Framework Participatory Rapid Appraisal Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung Southeast Asia Strategic Environmental Assessment Socio-ecological transformation Special economic zones Social Impact Assessment Social and Environmental Impact Assessment Transnational corporations Vietnam dong World Commission on the Dam Women’s Union ix


Basic information on river basins in the Central and Central Highlands of Vietnam

Table 2.1:

Changes in aquatic resources in Ea Tung village, Ea Na commune, Krong Ana district


Table 2.2:

Specific requests made by studied communities


Table 3.1:

Changes in production activities before and after the establishment of the hydropower plant


Table 3.2:

Gendered impacts of lacked production land and reduced income


Table 4.1:

Analysis of labor division in cultivation of Krong Na villagers


Table 4.2:

Analysis of labor division in reproductive activities of Tan Phu villagers


Table 4.3:

Analysis of labor division in community activities in the three studied villages


Table 4.4:

Activity profiles of Tan Phu, Ea Mar and Tri A villages


Table 4.5:

Profile of resource use and control of Tan Phu, Ea Mar and Tri A villages


Table 4.6:

Institutional analysis of Ea Mar village


Table 4.7:

Analysis of negative impacts of hydropower


Table 4.8:

Analysis of practical and strategic needs


Table 8.1:

Risk groups based on the hydropower operation


Table 8.2:

Occupied land area and resident relocation of some hydropower projects in Vietnam


Table 8.3:

Proportion of resettled poor households by hydropower project





Structure of Vietnam’s power generation sources as of 31 May 2015


Figure 1.2:

Development status of EIA systems in the world


Figure 1.3:

Law on EIA in Vietnam


Figure 1.4:

Gender impact assessment – a step-by-step process


Figure 1.5:

A multi-dimensional model of hydropower impacts and hydropower impacts assessment


Figure 2.1:

A flow behind the Buon Kuop dam


Figure 3.1:

Model of the A Luoi hydropower plant


Figure 4.1:

Cascade hydropower on the Srépok


Figure 4.2:

A woman in Ea Mar village had to drill a new and deeper well, costing her more money since the old one was out of water


Figure 4.3:

Elephant racing festival in Buon Don


Figure 6.1:

A three level conceptual model for change


Figure 7.1:

Regional network of hydropower affected communities in the Central and Central Highlands of Vietnam




Issues related to the Srépok 4A hydropower plant have not been resolved in Krong Na commune


Box 6.1:

Tan Phat cooperative model of production and trading in clean pepper and coffee


Box 6.2:

The story of change of Ms. TTH


Box 6.3:

Don Keng Ti “pipe wine”


Box 6.4:

Recommendations of the resettled households by hydropower dam project in Drai village


Box 6.5:

An economic development proposal by Tan Phu village group




HYDROPOWER AND IMPACTS Hydropower development in Vietnam, initially developed on the developmental framework of "water control" or "nature governance for development", has, over the past decade, been promoted in planning, construction and operation under the “modernization� paradigm thinking and the purpose of ensured energy security to accelerate the national industrialization and modernization cause so that by 2020, Viet Nam would basically become an industrialized country. Hydropower projects have been more advocated upon energy supply advantages and lower investment costs in comparison with conventional types of energy generation. However, rather than a purely economic investment project, hydropower has negative impacts on many aspects, for local communities and through many generations. According to ADB (2015), Vietnam's demand for electricity and other types of energy is quite high compared to other countries. In the 2005-2014 period, the average increase rate of annual energy demand was 12.1%, in which electricity consumption rose from 5.6 terawatt-hours (TWh) to 128.4 TWh. In 2014, energy consumption by sectors was as follows: industry (53.9%), residential (35.6%), trade (4.8%), agriculture (1.5%) and other sectors (4.3%). As such, the industry recorded the highest electricity consumption as it is the most important sector for economic development. According to the National Power Development Plan from 2011 to 2020 with visions extended to 2030 (revised Power Plan VII), electricity demand is 1

projected to grow at an average annual rate of 10.5% between 2016 and 2020 and 8.0% in the 2021- 2030 period. As shown in the structure of energy production sources (Figure 1.1), Vietnam is currently relying heavily on traditional energy sources. Hydroelectricity and coal-fired power are the key sources of power generation (35% each), which are followed by gas turbine power (20%) and other sources. It implies that an increase of energy demands puts greater pressures on key energy sources, or alternative sources should be taken into account in the future. Figure 1.1: Structure of Vietnam’s power generation sources as of 31 May 2015 Diesel and small hydropower, 5%

Oil-based Imported, 3% thermal, 1%

Gas turbine, 20%

Gasbased thermal, 1% Hydropower, 35%

Coal-based thermal, 35%

Source: Electricity Regulatory Authority of Vietnam (2015), available at: http://www.erav.vn/d4/news/Co-cau-nguon-cua-He-thong-dien-Viet-Nam-tinhden-ngay-3152015-8-436.aspx

With a dense river system, Vietnam has huge potential for hydropower development. This fact has also been demonstrated through the national energy source structure. In the last few decades, hydropower has been invested with high density and different scales nationwide. According to Electricity of Vietnam (EVN), by the end of 2016, Vietnam has 78 large and medium hydropower plants in operation (23 plants in 2009) with a total installed capacity of 16,585 MW (13,509 MW in 2012). The Central and Central Highlands of Vietnam have various favorable natural conditions, such as high river density, large flood flows and great altitude disparities, for developing small and medium-sized hydropower 2

plants. According to Le Anh Tuan (2015), “the river basin of this region has the highest density of hydropower projects in the country” (see Table 1.1); however, “hydropower projects, despite significant contribution to meeting increasing national and regional energy demands, have caused controversies, particularly over the past five years, due to many negative social and environmental impacts on communities in the Central and Central Highlands”. Negative impacts of hydropower are frequently listed under major groups including operational risks, environmental impacts, and social impacts. Operational risks can cause serious flooding in downstream areas in the rainy season, and drought in the dry season because of water flow shifting or not-enough-water discharge. Other risks from hydropower plants include dam breakage, land depressions in neighboring areas, or even earthquakes (Le Anh Tuan 2015). These "socially constructed" disasters were analyzed by Huber et al. (2017) as capital-driven destructions. Environmental impacts are no longer limited to the degradation of riverine environment, but also relating to forest ecosystems, land, water resources and biodiversity. Social impacts have a much broader spectrum beyond relocation and livelihood issues of displaced communities when including community health, education, cohesion and development, local women’s and men’s development needs and dreams. Table 1.1. Basic information on river basins in the Central and Central Highlands of Vietnam


North Central Coast


Population (2012) (Persons)

Main river basins hydropower projects

Thanh Hoa



Nghe An


Ha Tinh


2,942,900 Ma River – Ca River 1,229,300

Total: Mid Central Coast

Area (km2)



Quang Binh



Quang Tri



Thua Thien Hue




Gianh – Nhat Le River, Thach Han River, Huong River






Quang Nam



Quang Ngai



Binh Dinh



Phu Yen



Khanh Hoa



Ninh Thuan



Binh Thuan






Gia Lai







Lam Dong



Dak Nong





Da Nang

South Central Coast

Kom Tum Central Highlands

Dak Lak


Vu Gia – Thu Bon River, Tra Khuc River, Kon River, Ba River

Se San River, Srepok River

Source: General Statistics Office of Vietnam (2012, 2013)

Nguyen Quy Hanh and Lam Thi Thu Suu (2015) observed an transformation of hydropower development in Vietnam from the discourse of exploiting nature for development to socionature, emphasizing on the interweaving of nature and society and the agency of nature, which requires hydropower development to be placed in the whole of ecosystem and sustainable development, and to ensure obligations, benefits and involvement of stakeholders, especially affected communities. There is an important facilitation role of local and international non-governmental organizations (INGOs) in this transformation through projects that promote participation of affected communities in performance assessment, building capacity, voice and connectivity. These projects have been implemented by mobilizing continuous efforts beyond the closed framework of a “project” 4

with the coordination role of local non-governmental organizations (NGOs), linking to national and the Mekong region networks, including the introduction and replication of new impact assessment methods and community monitoring through impact assessment.

IMPACT ASSESSMENT: EVOLVING THINKING AND PRACTICES Impact assessment is the process of analyzing, assessing, monitoring, and managing environmental, social, health consequences and other impacts probably caused by project development before decisions and commitments in project implementation have been made. According to this approach, it is an essential management tool of development planners. In Vietnam, environmental impact assessment has been institutionalized and completed in regulations; meanwhile such other forms as social impact assessment and gender impact assessment have been adopted, as pilot projects, by INGOs and domestic research centers in hydropower development. Environmental impact assessment The approval of National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) of the USA in 1969 led to the official formation and application of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) in the USA before being applied in other countries years later. Figure 1.2 presents the development status of EIA systems all over the world, which shows that countries in Asia are primarily at an early stage and/or transition to the EIA quality development stage. Figure 1.2: Development status of EIA systems in the world

Source: Glasson et al. (2005)


In Vietnam, with a clear appearance of increasingly urgent environmental issues related to development and with the introduction of the Law on Protection of Natural Resources and Environment in 1993, EIA has no longer been an academic connotation but become a practical requirement for managers and practitioners (Nguyen Dinh Manh 2015). In fact, as Doberstein (2003) analyzes, the development process of EIA performance in Vietnam that has undergone through three main stages: (1) learning: characterized by research programs, training efforts and implementation of EIA case studies led by Vietnam before 1990; (2) formalizing EIA through laws, policies and development planning frameworks between 1990 and 1994; and (3) deploying/ enhancing capacity since 1995 to present, showed by not only the increase of EIAs implemented at the national and provincial levels, but also the capacity building initiatives, regulations and guidelines as well as supervisory networks at the national level. To date, EIA has been regulated and instructed in details at many policy levels from laws, decrees, and EIA guiding circulars (see Figure 1.3). Figure 1.3: Law on EIA in Vietnam

Law on Environmental Protection (1993, 2005)

Law on Environmental Protection (2014)

Decree No. 29/2011/ND-CP stipulates that EIA reports can be conducted after obtaining the construction permit. Decree No. 18/2015/ND-CP dated on February 14, 2015 on environmental protection planning, strategic environmental assessment, EIA, and environmental protection plan (24 chapters / 7 articles)

Decree No. 19/2015/ND-CP dated on February 14, 2015 stipulates details for implementing some articles of the Law on Environmental Protection

Source: Nguyen Thi Hong Van (2015)

However, in practice, EIA implementation has many inadequacies as specifically summarized by Nguyen Thi Hong Van (2015) including: many projects ignored the EIA; making “pro forma� reports without carrying out post-EIA activities; project holders contracted environmental consultants to implement the EIAs with inconsistent or inappropriate EIA report 6

information to project contents, even copying the EIA of other projects. The current major challenge, as noted by Doberstein (2003), is whether the EIA is well structured and positioned in the overall development planning framework to reduce negative impacts of development and show that demand for capacity building, including identifying a common vision for EIA and a mechanism to harmonize capacity building efforts with a shared vision is an important orientation in the future (see Clausen et al. 2011). Social impact assessment Social impact assessment (SIA) was developed in conjunction with the environmental impact assessment from the early 1970s as an indispensable tool for planning and decision making. NEPA requires that social issues should be considered as a part of environmental impact assessment. The Inter-organizational Committee defines principles and guidelines of SIA in the United States that SIA is “efforts to assess or estimate, in advance, the social consequences likely to follow from specific policy actions (including programs and the adoption of new policies), and specific government actions (including buildings, large projects and leasing large tracts of land for resource extraction), particularly in the context of the US National Environmental Policy Act 1969 (NEPA)” (Becker 1997:2-3). The 1970s and 1980s, the SIA was vigorously developed in the United States during the boom era with many large-scale energy projects. Nowadays, SIA in many developed countries is as important as environmental and economic impact assessments of policy changes or approval of ecosystem-related changes. "Social Impact Assessment includes the processes of analyzing, monitoring and managing the intended and unintended social consequences, both positive and negative, of planned interventions (policies, programs, plans, projects) and any social change processes invoked by those interventions. Its primary purpose is to bring about a more sustainable and equitable biophysical and human environment (Vanclay 2003:6). Vanclay (2002:185-186) develops important social impacts such as:  People’s way of life - that is, how they live, work, play, and interact with one another on a day-to-day basis;  Their culture - that is, their shared beliefs, customs, values, and language or dialect;  Their community - its cohesion, stability, character, services, and facilities;  Their political systems - the extent to which people are able to participate in decisions that affect their lives, the level of


   

democratization that is taking place, and the resources provided for this purpose; Their environment - water, air, food, hazard or risk, sanitation, safety, and their access to and control over resources; Their health: physical, mental and social well-being; Their personal and property rights; Their fears and aspirations.

SIA’s result is not just a social impact report. In principle, it must be a social impact management plan and many other management materials, including a community health and safety plan, resettlement action plan, stakeholder engagement plan, local procurement plan as well as toolkits to manage social problems caused by development projects (Vanclay et al. 2015). SIA in Vietnam and in the world needs to promote local participation and knowledge instead of applying technocractic approaches. Keskinen and Kummu (2010) make an accurate observation that: “Existing impact assessment (IA) processes seem in many cases to be inadequate to capture even the actual magnitude of the impacts at different levels and scales. They are also predominantly expert-driven processes with a macro-scale view, leading easily to the neglect of local knowledge and contexts. Due to their technical nature, the assessments are also easily described in language that excludes most of the people from the discussion of their methods and results. (Keskinen and Kummu 2010:5) SIA is conceived as being the process of managing social issues related to development that requires enhanced participation of local communities as well as benefit sharing from the project to affected communities. Many international organizations require hydropower project investors to apply the FPIC principle: Free, Prior and Informed Consent1.In some developed countries, a social license is applied that requires dealing with communities with respect. Continuous, meaningful and transparent participation of communities in all project stages is of importance in building trust and respect (Vanclay et al. 2015).


(i) Free: no manipulation, coercion, abuse, retaliation; (ii) Prior: consent is sought sufficiently in advance of any activities; (iii) Informed: communities is provided with satisfactory information about projects in the appropriate form and language and possible impacts; (iv) Consent: a process in which participation and consultation are the central pillars.


SIA in Vietnam is not a mandatory requirement as for EIA and in fact it becomes a sub-part, and ignored in the required EIA report. In the field of international development, current SIAs have been conducted in many foreign development projects through needs assessment and project impact assessment on beneficiary communities during various project stages, and are usually made on a single project. In addition to SIA funded by foreign partners, SIA can be encouraged to be implemented by companies and enterprises as a useful and appropriate management process to reduce risks and increase benefits for businesses and communities based on the concept of shared value. Health impact assessment Unlike the developmental origin of EIA and SIA, health impact assessment (HIA) origins from public health professional movements to promote health policies and solutions to more equitable health impacts (Harris-Roxas et al. 2012). In Vietnam, since 2005, HIA has been conducted through capacity building programs under the comprehensive HIA capacity building model in the Mekong basin developed by the World Health Organization (Nguyen Thi Lien Huong and Nguyen Thi Lan Huong 2012) and continuously strengthened with funding from international partners in recent years. HIA has been institutionalized in the Law on prevention and control of communicable diseases 2007 and Decree No. 29/2011/ND-CP dated April 18, 2011 by the Government on strategic environmental assessment, environmental impact assessment, and commitment to environmental protection. However, current regulations have still considered HIA as a small part of EIA or there is no requirement for independent HIA for investment projects that have large impacts on community health such as hydropower plants, irrigation dams, and seaports (Nguyen Thi Lien Huong and Nguyen Thi Lan Huong 2012). Gender impact assessment Responding to the call of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action (BDPA), gender impact assessment (GIA) has been developed in international organizations and developed countries, such as the Netherlands, as a key policy tool to ensure that decisions are taken into account gender (Verloo and Roggeband 1996; Roggeband and Verloo 2006). In 2013, Oxfam developed a manual for implementing GIA for river basin and hydropower development: ‘Balancing the Scales: Gender Impact Assessment in Hydropower’ (Simon 2013), based on Oxfam’s previous report and manual for GIA in mining and extractive industries; developed in 2009 and updated in 2017 (Hill and Newell 2009; Hill et al. 2017). The GIA 9

manual has adapted many proven gender impact tools to the context of Mekong hydropower development. It provides checklists for developers to ensure that they have assessed gender impacts at different stages of project development and which help guide companies to consider how a project can contribute to positive outcomes for women as well as men. Implementing GIA in hydropower development projects is crucial to inform decision-making and implementation of hydropower dam projects so that impacts, rights and opportunities are considered equally for women and men throughout the cycles of dam and hydropower development and planning. Understanding how impacts of hydropower development are experienced by men and women differently can help developers ensure their projects minimize harm, and potentially, how they can play a positive role in addressing gender inequality (Hill et al. 2017). GIA was first introduced in hydropower projects in Vietnam through the Oxfam Water Governance Project (see below sections). Two GIA projects presented in details in Chapters 3 and 4 may provide some techniques, results and implications for promoting GIA in Vietnam in the upcoming time. Human rights impact assessment Compared to EIA and SIA, human rights impact assessment (HRIA) is relatively new. According to Gรถtzmann et al. (2016), the development of HRIA is based on several different strands including development, health and human rights, impact assessments of private sector projects, community-led processes, sector-wide impact assessment, etc. Essential elements of HRIAs include normative human rights framework, public participation, equality and non-discrimination, transparency and access to information, accountability, and inter-sectoral approach (Nordic Trust Fund 2013).

CSRD AS A FACILITATOR TO PROMOTE IMPACT ASSESSMENTS AND SUPPORT HYDROPOWER AFFECTED COMMUNITIES BASED ON PARTICIPATORY APPROACHES Hydropower exploitation has significantly contributed to the industrialization, modernization and economic growth of the country. However, construction of various hydropower projects has caused significant impacts on society, especially resettled communities and riparian communities in many aspects. Identifying such problem and with the mission to support vulnerable communities by environmental and social changes and other externalities, Center for Social Research and Development (CSRD) considers hydropower an indispensable part of its 10

strategy, programs and action plans. With the support of many donors who share the same mission and purposes, CSRD has worked nearly ten years with more than 15 communities affected by hydropower projects in the Central and Central Highlands. Programs and projects Different CSRD’s programs or projects have been carried out under different approaches. Main hydropower projects that CSRD has implemented over the past four years include:  

  

    

Assisting access to land resources and social services for resettled people in Huong Tra District, Thua Thien Hue Province, 2010, funded by ICCO; Access to and control of resources: Women's rights in resettled communities in Phu Loc District, Thua Thien Hue Province, 2013, funded by Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development (APWLD); Facilitating participatory approach in the approval process of hydropower projects in Quang Binh and Quang Nam provinces, Vietnam, 2013, funded by Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung (RLS); Increasing participation of local communities in the management of hydropower plants in the Central Vietnam's river basins, 2013, funded by Oxfam Hong Kong; Assisting access to land and social services for people in resettlement areas in Phu Loc District, Thua Thien Hue Province, 2013, funded by Research Center for Management and Sustainable Development (MSD); Gender mainstreaming in policies of forest management, compensation, and resettlement hydropower projects, 2014, funded by Forest Land Union; Research on hydropower impacts on the daily life of people living in the downstream area of Vu Gia - Thu Bon River, Dai Hong Commune, Dai Loc District, 2014, funded by Takagi Fund; Facilitating participatory approach in the approval process of hydropower projects in Quang Binh, Quang Nam, Vietnam, 2014, funded by Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung (RLS); Increased participation of local communities in the process of managing hydropower plants in river basins in the Central Vietnam, 2014, funded by Oxfam Hong Kong; Promoting participatory approaches to hydropower development monitoring in the Central and Central Highlands of Vietnam, 2015, funded by Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung (RLS); 11

  

Piloting Gender Impact Assessment of A Luoi Hydropower Plant and Serepok 3 Hydropower Plant - a part of the 3S river branches of the Central and Central Highlands of Vietnam, 2015, funded by Oxfam; Promoting participatory approaches to hydropower development monitoring in the Central and Central Highlands of Vietnam, 2016, funded by Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung (RLS); Promoting gender equality and empowering women in the 3S river hydropower affected communities in the Central and Central Highlands of Vietnam, 2016, funded by Oxfam.

In addition, CSRD has independently monitored activities related to the project impacts on the resettlement communities. Each project has its own objectives and approaches. Some projects focus on solving specific issues to support the community by short-term, immediate solutions or just for research, while some projects work with the community for a long time towards a strategic and long-term change effect. Depending on given stages and contexts, CSRD has applied various methods. From the projects mentioned above, it can be easily seen that Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung (RLS) and Oxfam are the two main organizations that have been working with CSRD to support affected communities by different approaches. For other small-scale research projects and activities, approaches are identified based on the appropriateness of the project timeframe and objectives, for example: “Research on hydropower impacts on the daily life of people living in the downstream area of Vu Gia - Thu Bon river, Dai Hong commune, Dai Loc district, 2014” funded by Takagi Fund, “Access to and control of resources: Women's rights in resettled communities in Phu Loc district, Thua Thien Hue province, 2013” funded by APWLD, and “Assisting access to land and social services for people in resettlement areas in Phu Loc district, Thua Thien Hue province, 2013” funded by MSD. Socio-ecological transformation approach Since 2015, Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung Southeast Asia (RLS SEA), a civic education and progressive social research organization, has been working on the theme of “Socio-Ecological Transformation” (SET). In this field, RLS SEA has been continuously seeking to promote SET across Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar together with its local partners. SET aims for “development of society, production, and lifestyle in the quest to answer how a society can develop in a socially and environmentally sustainable manner” (Konstantinidis 2017). SET can be conceived as an “exploratory movement” based on the critique of the global growth based development model and aimed at replacing a sustainable development paradigm that 12

somehow has failed to keep its promise. With the support from partners, in which CSRD is one of the prominent actors, RLS SEA expects to inspire the ideas and the energy of SET widely to more people. However, RLS SEA is not aiming at bringing ready-made answers of SET from Europe. It’s about “localizing” local stakeholders’ own understanding that determines their way of definition and concepts of “society”, “ecology” and “transformation” based on the analyses of their local situation. For the Mekong region in general and Vietnam in particular, international financial institutions and multilateral institutions promote the Mekong region as a huge potential area with largely untapped natural resources and a young, cheap labor force. For a long time, foreign investment has ignored social and environmental impacts and has distorted true costs of this development, creating a false image regarding the extent and sustainability of benefits. Business orientation often ignores the environmental and socioeconomic costs, or excludes alternative options that would be more financially or environmentally beneficial in the long run but would require short-term expenditures. A favorable investment climate is putting countries on the radar of many transnational corporations (TNC) due to tariff perks and cheap labor while environmental or labor standards are not seriously considered. But this “development” often has adverse consequences, including impacts on social human rights, loss of local livelihoods, violation of labor conditions and wages, natural resource destruction, erosion of indigenous identities and culture. Environmental degradation is an emerging issue as it is moving towards a state of environmental emergency or has, indeed, already reached it. This warns that ecosystem services and natural resources do not only contribute to living quality, but indirectly underpin the economic development and as such form the basis for current and future prosperity and productivity. According to the theory of 1% and 99%, people mostly are subject to impacts and become most vulnerable in regards to the resource depletion and environmental degradation. In reality, those who are directly dependent on ecosystems and natural resources for their livelihoods and survival (ethnic minorities, poor or near poor people in rural areas) are the direct affected group. On the other hand, foreign direct investment (FDI) flows to the Mekong region countries go to a wide range of sectors: resource development for energy and extractive industry (oil, gas, coal, hydropower, power transmission grids), forestry, etc. Hydropower projects on the Mekong mainstream and other rivers in the basin (such as Salween, Nam Theun, Mun, Sekong, and Sesan rivers) have altered water levels and flows, 13

resulting in forest floods and riverbank erosion. Long-term land leases to investors (whether for hydropower plants or SEZs, etc.) have resulted in lacking of living means, unemployment or even threats to food security. Development projects with negative consequences affect mostly on those whose lives are dependent on nature and traditional ways of living. Resettlement areas often do not provide sufficient living conditions for the people who move there as they suffer from low quality of land and soil, lack of livelihoods, and poor access to education and health care services. Many people choose to migrate to nearby cities for working in the developing manufacturing and service industries. In countries with expanding economies, some people enjoy new amenities and higher incomes, while others become unemployed and/or involved in illegal employment, such as drug dealing and prostitution. Other resettled people, perhaps those with more resources or ambitions, become migrants who do not want to seek a better life in larger and more dynamic cities in neighboring countries. During the boom periods, these migrants may be unofficially regarded as a means of keeping labor costs down, but during the global economic recession, foreign workers become a threat to economic and social stability. Since 2014, with the project on “Promoting participatory approach to hydropower development and monitoring in the Central and Central Highlands of Vietnam�, RLS SEA and CSRD have established and strengthened a network of affected communities by hydropower dams in the Central and Central Highlands of Vietnam, supporting them to monitor and declare their rights to protect environment through legal aids as well as dialogues among stakeholders for stronger commitments of considering and implementing environmental protection actions according to the governmental decrees on EIA. With the hope of bringing better lives with considerations for vulnerable groups, the project has continuously made attempts to facilitate participatory voices while taking care of social, economic and environmental aspects. As for RLS SEA and CSRD, all voices matter, a true value is the harmonious combination of healthy society and environment. Gender-based approach Oxfam is an international confederation of 19 organizations networked together in 97 countries, working as part of a global movement for change, to end world poverty and injustice. Oxfam works together with marginalized communities, local organizations, governments, private companies and the community at large to create connections and collaboration between stakeholders, and to ensure communities have a say in decisions that affect their lives. In all areas, Oxfam prioritizes gender 14

justice; understanding and addressing women and men’s rights, inequalities in gender relations, and women’s empowerment. In the Mekong region, Oxfam partners with civil society organizations and communities on regional and transboundary water governance, in the Oxfam Mekong Regional Water Governance Program. The program aims to ensure there is fair sharing of water resources, and increased protection of river-dependent people’s livelihoods and food security. It focuses on supporting increased inclusion of civil society organizations (CSOs) and affected people, especially women and other marginalized groups, in water resource governance and policy dialogues at local, national and regional levels in the Mekong and Salween river basins. One of the key projects in Oxfam’s regional program is the Inclusion Project, funded by the Australia Government Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) 2014 – 2019, and implemented with partners in Myanmar, Lao PDR, Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam. The Inclusion Project aims to increase the inclusion of CSOs and communities in water resource decision making at local, national and regional levels in the Mekong and Salween river basins. The project focuses on three objectives: increasing women’s leadership and consideration of gender in water governance, building capacity and networks for CSOs, and facilitating the inclusion of communities and CSOs in water policy dialogue. Regionally, Oxfam is encouraging greater consideration of the impacts of current and proposed hydropower development in the Mekong region on gender equality and women’s rights. Gender analysis and impact assessment are first steps in ensuring infrastructure development projects benefit women and men equally, avoid, mitigate or redress negative impacts, and support longer-term positive change in gender relations (see Figure 1.4). In Vietnam, Oxfam works in partnership with civil society networks and government to address the challenges in river basin management and water governance, ensuring the participation of communities and civil society organizations in the policy process on issues such as hydropower, water quality, irrigation and water management. This includes working with government agencies such as Vietnam National Assembly, Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, and Vietnam Women’s Union, as well as local CSOs, including Centre for Social Research and Development (CSRD), Vietnam Rivers Network, Coalition for Clean Water and others. The project covers a wide range of activities such as capacity development for local communities, authorities, CSOs, networks and institutions, as well as conducting research on water resources management and the impacts of dam and hydropower development in Vietnam for policy development processes and policy dialogues. 15

Figure 1.4: Gender impact assessment – a step-by-step process

Source: Simon 2013

Currently, there is no requirement in Vietnam for an assessment of gender impacts of hydropower projects, or guidance on how such an assessment might be done and little practical experience within stakeholder groups of doing such an assessment (Hill et al 2017). While gender-based discrimination is legally prohibited in Vietnam in the Law of Gender Equality (Law No.73/2006/QH11), there is no official attention to the effects of hydropower on women. This investment has been largely missing to date, and civil society organizations can play a role in enabling this process (Hill et al. 2017). In 2015, Oxfam in Vietnam and CSRD signed a contract in order to undertake a GIA project. The overall goal of the project is to support hydropower companies and relevant government agencies to be able to take stronger consideration of gender in hydropower development projects along the 3S river basin in the Central and Central Highlands of Vietnam. In this project, three aspects are focused including: (i) exercising GIA tools in practice and writing GIA reports, (ii) sharing the results of GIA’s implementation with local and national hydropower companies, government agencies and communities through a series of workshops and dialogues and (iii) working with the selected hydropower corporates in utilizing the GIA’s results and then facilitating them in developing gender action plans for their organizations. The GIA project is a good chance for both Oxfam, CSRD and project partners to pilot the tools in practice and support the hydropower companies and local authorities in better addressing gender needs and minimize and redress gender-related issues in hydropower projects in Vietnam. 16

Community-based research In the research funded by Takagi, the selected approach is communitybased research (CBR) (cf Strand et al. 2003). CBR is a method of establishing a group of community members in the project design and implementation processes and research activities, demonstrating respect of and contribution to the project successes brought by community partners as well as respect of principles that do not affect communities. To achieve its goals, the following principles need to be fulfilled in order to establish collaborative research activities between researchers and communities that may be either a formal community or informal community group.    

CBR is the collaboration between researchers and community members. This approach connects university faculties, students, and staff with diverse backgrounds and community members. CBR identifies different sources of knowledge and promotes approaches of knowledge exploration and dissemination. CBR has its goals of social actions and social changes to achieve social justices. This approach is also a participatory approach that creates changes due to the involvement of affected people and its qualitative nature.

Accordingly, CSRD researchers set up a research team led by a woman and trained them in methods of collecting field data about hydropower impacts on their current lives. Researchers then gave instructions for the analysis of collected data and images, documentation for valuable informative reports that could be used for communication and enhancement of community’s voice in meetings, discussions, and forums with participation of related stakeholders such as government, hydropower companies and the community in which they live. These activities have raised the awareness and understanding of the community on environmental issues and hydropower impacts, and especially enhanced confidence of the community in general and of women group in particular in participating in social activities and raising their difficulties. In the framework of this study, these activities were conducted with two villages: Dong Phuoc and Duc Tinh in Dai Hong commune, Dai Loc district, Quang Nam province. The results of the project have made a remarkable contribution to CSRD’s research on hydropower related issues. The research team with 18 people, including 09 men and 09 women is one of the core groups in the CSRD's community network and the nucleus connecting communities affected by hydropower from the upstream to the downstream of Vu Gia - Thu Bon river basin.


Right-based approach For the activity funded by APWLD, this is a small activity based on the rights-based approach2. This approach aims at reaching those who are marginalized, ignored or discriminated. It often requires analyses of gender concepts, different forms of discrimination, and inequalities of rights to ensure that intervention activities can reach vulnerable groups. Specific contents of this method depend on issues that organizations concern and address. Basic principles of this method include participation, accountability, non-discrimination, empowerment and legality. Due to time constraints and limited budget, CSRD researchers identifies that the purpose of this activity is to raise awareness about women’s rights in resettlement areas of hydropower projects. Four villages in Ben Van resettlement areas 1, 2, 3, 4 and Phuc Loc village, Xuan Loc commune, Phu Loc district, Thua Thien Hue province have been selected for awareness raising activities on women's rights. Although this is a small activity, it has contributed to promoting and enhancing women’s confidence in such localities and helping them understand and improve their skills and ways of raising their voices. Network-based approach Through activities of the aforementioned projects and based on the linking of resources from different projects, more than 10 communities affected by hydropower projects in the Central and the Central Highlands have been networked. These communities come from Dak Lak, Dak Nong, Quang Nam, Thua Thien Hue and Quang Binh provinces. This network is a channel for exchanging information and promoting advocacy activities as well as monitoring environmental protection. At present, the network has at least 60 people (about 30% of the network members) who become confident in joining and leading community groups in common activities and policy advocacy. They give their comments on related issues to the media, the public and investors in forums and dialogues. The most impressive thing is that about 50% of them are women who have participated in our projects over the years. Approximately 150 members of the network have been trained in order to effectively participate in the hydropower development process. By providing practical tools to guide communities to participate in the development process of a dam project, communities in the network 2

Principles of the right-based approach include: participation, accountability, equity and non-discrimination, empowerment and legality (www.humanrights.gov.au/human-rights-based -approaches).


become more aware of their participation rights.

THE MAIN MASSEGES OF THE BOOK This book has at least two main messages. The first message is clear that hydropower impacts need to be systematically understood from multidimensionality and multi-agent perspectives, including the temporal dimension (see Figure 1.5). Epistemologically, hydropower impacts, following the framework of sustainable development, comprise of such dimensions as environment, society (including economics and culture), health, gender and rights. Rights here include human rights, environmental justice and even the agency of nature. All different dimensions of hydropower impacts demonstrate the non-seggarated relationship and interaction between bio-physical and human environments. Ontologically, hydropower impacts should be considered and addressed with the “real” involvement of heterogeneous community groups, particularly vulnerable groups (women, ethnic minorities) and various stakeholders including hydropower companies, investors, consultants, impact evaluators, press, lawyers, policy makers at all levels, international organizations and social organizations, and, in many cases, considered with basin and/or crossborder resource governance factors. In addition, cumulative impacts should be taken into account, from both impact interactions and over time scales. This is because “second and higher order impacts tend to cause more harm than first order impacts” (Vanclay 2010). Hydropower impact assessment should be comprehensively implemented via complete EIA and SIA within the overall strategic environmental assessment, at the same time, a monitoring mechanism for the community and open dialogues for emerging impacts are essential. Impact assessments should also extend assessment dimensions so as to ensure sustainable development of the sector and the local community, such as health and gender dimensions. A hydropower project cannot be a “pure” economic and technological investment project, but it must be a development project from the design stage with the application of impact assessment tools in order not to turn affected communities and nature into the losers in the "finite game" as Carse (1986) argues. "We control nature for societal reasons. The control of nature advances with our ability to predict the outcome of natural processes. Inasmuch as predictions are but explanations in reverse, it is possible that they will be quite as combative as explanations. Indeed, prediction is the most highly developed skill of the Master Player, for without it control of an opponent is all the more difficult. It follows that our domination of nature is meant to achieve not certain natural 19

outcomes, but certain societal outcomes."(Carse 1986:80) Figure 1.5: A multi-dimensional model of hydropower impacts and impact assessment

Bio-physical environment

Rights Gender

Impacts and impact assessment


Society Health Human environment

Community groups (men, women, children‌)

Various communities (Concentrated resettlement, reservoirsurrounding resettlement, downstream...)

Other stakeholders (hydropower companies, investors, consultants, impact evaluators, press, lawyers, policy makers at all levels, international organizations, social

River basin, cross-border governance


The second message is that mitigation of negative hydropower impacts should be addressed simultaneously on a three level framework, namely micro level (community), meso level (organization) and macro level (policy). More specifically, negative hydropower impacts can only be well mitigated and managed in the partnership established among stakeholders and on the foundation that the resilience of affected communities is enhanced through the processes of capacity development, empowerment and 20

network building, with the support and participation of national and international development organizations, local authorities, and hydropower companies. This is also a nucleus approach of developing hydropower projects based on sustainable development principles and formulating more sustainable hydropower development policies in the future. New policies should be designed under the multi-sectoral framework of foodwater-energy nexus (cf Wallington and Cai 2017) to create a critical balance of economic development, sustainable ecology, and social equity, especially for vulnerable communities. These messages can be explored in the next two main parts of the book. Part 1, consisting of Chapters 2, 3 and 4, primarily presents the results of environmental, social and gender impact assessments. Part 2 scrutinizes responses to hydropower impacts at the community level (Chapters 5 and 6), at the organizational level (Chapter 7) and at the policy level (Chapter 8).

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Simon, Michael and Pauline Taylor-McKeown. 2014. Chương trình quản lý nước Mê-kông – Dự án Inclusion Pillar. Bản nộp cuối cùng, tháng 02/2014. Oxfam Australia. Simon, Micheal. 2013. Balancing the scales: Using gender impact assessment in hydropower development. Oxfam Australia. Strand, Kerry J., Nicholas Cutforth, Randy Stoecker, Sam Marullo and Patrick Donohue. Community-Based Research and Higher Education: Principles and Practices. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass A Wiley Imprint. Vanclay, F., Esteves, A. M., Aucamp, I., and Franks, D. 2015. Social Impact Assessment: Guidance for assessing and managing the social impacts of projects. Fargo ND: International Association for Impact Assessment. Vanclay, Frank. 2002. Conceptualising social impacts. Environmental Impact Assessment Review 22(2002):183-211. Vanclay, Frank. 2003. International principles for social impact assessment. Impact Assessment and Project Appraisal 21(1): 5–11. Vanclay, Frank. 2010. Using social impact assessment to consider the social impacts of landscape change in the Wadden region. Presentation at the 'Towards a trilateral research agenda' symposium, 8-10 December 2010, Leeuwarden, Wadden Academy. Verloo, Mieke and Connie Roggeband. 1996. Gender Impact Assessment: The Development of a New Instrument in the Netherlands. Impact Assessment 14(1): 3-20. Wallington, Kevin and Ximing Cai. 2017. The Food–Energy–Water Nexus: A Framework to Address Sustainable Development in the Tropics. Tropical Conservation Science 10: 1–5.





INTRODUCTION During two years of 2013 and 2014, the Center for Social Research and Development (CSRD) launched a project to promote participatory approaches to hydropower development and monitoring in Quang Nam and Thua Thien Hue provinces. The final project evaluation has confirmed that the project helped local communities to better understand issues related to water, ecosystems, river protection and conservation and hydropower impacts on their lives. Local people in affected areas by hydropower plants became more confident in showing their concerns about hydropower dams and river ecosystems to local authorities and other stakeholders so that their voices could be listened. A toolkit with a checklist were developed and put into use so that affected communities can use them to regularly monitor environmental and social impacts of hydropower plants that are in operation in accordance with regulations and government’s commitments to environmental protection and justice. This is the foundation on which future hydropower plant projects in the Central region should make serious efforts to listen to local community voices. The project was expanded in 2015 to include a number of project components over the Central and Central Highlands of Vietnam, aiming to form a network of communities affected by hydropower development in the Central Highlands region to exchange information and respond to adverse environmental impacts of hydropower development as well as 25

participate in the processes of hydropower development and monitoring the implementation of environmental protection. The project in this phase also aimed to promote women in affected communities to participate in the network as well as monitor the implementation of environmental protection, and at the institutional level, stakeholders to be involved in a memorandum of understanding for the implementation of environmental protection measures, including the implementation of environmental protection measures earlier committed by hydropower plants in the environmental impact assessment (EIA) report to be annually monitored and checked. Within the framework of the mentioned project, this chapter presents the result of a research team consisting of CSRD and local community members to evaluate the implementation of environmental protection commitments by the Buon Kuop hydropower project in Dak Lak province and other emerging environmental and social impacts in the affected areas. Focusing on community participation in the research process, the research process includes: collecting relevant secondary data; researching materials, planning and developing toolkits for investigation; supporting training courses for local people on environmental monitoring tools so that they can collect information at their localities; making reports and organizing forums to publicize the project results; and forming a regional network of affected communities. After reviewing secondary data, the team conducted field trips to collect additional information about impacts of the Buon Kuop hydropower project on socio-economic issues of localities based on the comparison of commitments made in the EIA report and the actual situation. In terms of economic aspects, the study focused on assessing living conditions and livelihoods of resettled people as well as non-resettled households in the affected areas. In terms of environmental aspects, impacts on the water environment, aquatic fauna and flora systems and other related factors were studied. The research activities were carried out in localities directly affected by the Buon Kuop hydropower project in Dak Lak Province, namely: (1) Hoa Phu Commune, Buon Me Thuot city, Dak Lak province (where the hydropower plant is located); (2) Ea Na commune, Krong Ana district (located within the reservoir area); and (3) Dray Sap commune, Krong Ana district (located in the downstream area of Buon Kuop dam). The study was conducted from May 2015 to September 2015.

GENERAL INFORMATION OF STUDIED AREAS SrĂŠpok river is a level-one tributary of the Mekong river. The main stream of the SrĂŠpok river originates from the Chu Yang mountainous area of the 26

Annamite Range that is about 1,400 meters in height and located in the territory of Vietnam. The SrÊpok river - flowing through four provinces of Vietnam including Dak Lak, Dak Nong, Gia Lai, and Lam Dong before entering the Mekong river in Stung Treng, Cambodia - is 35 kms away from the Mekong mainstream to the upstream and has a basin area of 29,450 km2. The Buon Kuop hydropower plant is located in two communes: Ea Na of Krong Ana district and Nam Da of Krong No district, Dak Lak province. According to the socio-economic data of these localities extracted from the EIA report of the Buon Kuop hydropower project made in 2003, Krong Ana and Krong No are mountainous districts with a quite diverse ethnic composition of about 20 ethnic minority groups. Mnong and Ede ethnic groups account for 80% of the ethnic minority population (excluding the Kinh). Some ethnic groups like Tay and Nung people migrating from the North live in harmony with the surrounding. Identities of these ethnic groups have more or less faded. The basin area of the Buon Kuop hydropower plant is 7,980 km2, in which natural forests occupy the largest area, nearly 60% of the total basin area. This area is relatively fertile and thus the unused land occupies only 10% of the area. The basin of the Buon Kuop hydropower plant is mainly mountainous areas and plateau, while the river valley is extended to be the riverbank plain. Surface water exploitation is very difficult due to topography differences between water surface and basin surface. Areas for industrial crops need irrigation water; however surface water source has not been exploited. Meanwhile riverbank plains are often inundated in the flood seasons. In the basin of the Buon Kuop hydropower plant, agriculture and forestry production account for a large proportion (about 70%) of the total output of the economy. The Buon Kuop hydropower project was approved by the Board of Directors of Vietnam Electricity in accordance with the Document No. 291/QD-EVN-HDQT dated 26 September 2003 based on the Prime Minister’s Document No. 1107/CP-CN dated 19 August 2003 on investment in the Buon Kuop hydropower plant, the opinion made by the Ministry of Industry at the Document No. 4233/CV-NLDK dated 25 September 2003 on appraising the feasibility study report of the Buon Kuop hydropower project, official letters of the Hydropower Project Management Board No. 4 and the Hydropower Project Management Board No. 5 on the feasibility study report of the Buon Kuop hydropower project, and the feasibility study report of the Buon Kuop hydropower project made by the Power Engineering Consulting Company No. 2 in September 2002 that was revised and supplemented in April 2003. The EIA report of the Buon Kuop 27

hydropower project was revised and issued by the Hydropower Project Management Board No. 5 (2003), under Vietnam Electricity (EVN). The Buon Kuop hydropower plant invested by EVN was managed by the Hydropower Project Management Board No. 5 from its construction commencement on December 21, 2003 to March 2010 upon the completion of connection to the national grid. The Buon Kuop hydropower plant has a 280 MW installed capacity and a 68.7 MW guaranteed capacity, with the normal water rising level of 412 m, corresponding to the reservoir capacity of 63.24 (106m3) and the reservoir area of 5.57 km2. Total estimated investment of the Buon Kuop hydropower plant is 106 VND 4,588.125 million. The Buon Kuop hydropower project is located in the districts of Krong No and Krong Ana, about 10 kms to the downstream from the confluence of Krong No and Krong Ana rivers. The hydropower plant is situated in Hoa Phu commune, Dak Lak Province. The reservoir area stretches over two communes: Ea Na of Krong Ana district and Nam Da of Krong No district. This hydropower project is expected to provide 1.4 billion kWh per year to the national grid. According to the Dak Lak Environmental Protection SubDepartment (2015), the electricity output in 2014 reached 1,141.9 million KWh. In addition, based on the project information, this hydropower project aims at regulating water sources, supplying water for the irrigation system in the downstream area, stabilizing local people’s lives, creating tourist landscapes, and developing transportation and aquatic products.

EVALUATION OF THE IMPLEMENTATION OF ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION COMMITMENTS Summary of the EIA report and comments In December 2003, the Hydropower Project Management Board No. 5 approved the EIA report (revised) of the Buon Kuop hydropower project. This EIA report was implemented according to the Decree No. 175-CP issued by the Government on November 18, 1994 guiding the implementation of the Law on Environmental Protection and the Circular No. 490/1998/TT-BKHCNMT by the Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment guiding the planning and approval of EIA reports for project development. The 157-page report includes annexes and seven chapters of introduction, a brief description of the project, environmental status of the project area, evaluation of project impacts on the environment, measures to prevent and minimize negative impacts, environmental monitoring and management programs, conclusions and recommendations. The main parts of the report are description, analysis of environmental status of the project area, identification of environment issues in the project area, 28

analysis, forecasting and evaluation of project impacts on each environmental component during the construction, water accumulation, and operation phases and integrated evaluation of the project impacts on the environment. Based on that, measures are proposed to mitigate negative impacts and maximize positive impacts. In general, the report complied with regulations at the time of its implementation (before 2003). The EIA report presented the following: description of meteorological - hydrological characteristics; technical specification for construction works; maps of the project area; hydrodynamic cutting points; land description; evaluation of erosion hazards; flora and vegetation statistics; wildlife statistics; aquatic and fisheries inventory; assessment of impacts on the physical, air and water environments; assessment of ecological impacts; assessment of socioeconomic impacts; assessment of impacts on existing irrigation works; compensation and resettlement solutions; construction of waste treatment systems; restoration of land used during construction; developing protection forests; measures to reduce negative impacts on the environment during the water accumulation and operation phases; and environmental monitoring programs. However, the EIA report has not fully addressed the following, such as: -


Lack of a reservoir operation diagram; Results of hydrological calculation corresponding to scenarios of extreme flood and drought with different frequencies; Forecasting risks of dam failure; Mutual impacts of hydropower and irrigation works to the project; Plan of inter-reservoir operation in the river system (flood seasons and dry seasons); A mapping of locations having past landslides and a mapping of locations with landslide risks; A mapping of vegetation distribution on the ground; A mapping of wildlife habitat distribution; A mapping of fish species distribution by seasons; Inventory of local livelihoods related to the use of natural resources and ecosystems; Water discharge to ensure environmental flows must be presented on the basis of water resource balance rather than subjective estimate of discharge level; Social impact assessment by livelihood changes; A scoreboard of socio-environmental impact assessment is quite subjective and ungrounded; 29


Lack of vocational training and job creation solutions for those who lost land and were relocated Lack of commitments to forest replanting and locations of forest plantation; Cost of forest and vegetation restoration is too low and not convincing as calculated; An annual sand discharge plan is ungrounded; A plan of relocating animals is unrealistic; Lack of meeting minutes about the implementation of compensation and relocation.

Evaluation of the implementation of mitigation measures during the construction phase Compensation and resettlement The EIA report of the Buon Kuop hydropower project indicated some principles of the resettlement and compensation implementation as follows: -




It should be calculated and considered to minimize the number of households, land and assets affected by the project; The implementation of compensation and resettlement needs to be fully carried out before land acquisition for project construction; In addition to perform compensation for land and asset damages to local people, financial, technical, and medical support must be provided to ensure that living conditions of displaced households are improved better than previously; It is necessary to thoroughly study natural and socio-economic conditions of the resettlement area in order to create the most convenient living condition for resettled people; It is necessary to improve infrastructure and build more roads to help people to quickly stabilize their production and lives; It is necessary to maintain customs, habits and socio-cultural activities of displaced people; It is necessary to facilitate resettled people to enjoy project benefits; Resettlement program must be approved by the majority of affected people.

The compensation and resettlement work was made in a separate report of "Plan for Compensation and Resettlement" by the Construction Consulting Company No. 2 that was approved by Dak Lak Provincial 30

People's Committee. The report was made based on the Government's regulations in the Decree No. 22/1998/ND-CP dated April 24, 1998 on compensation for damages when the State recovers land for the purposes of defense, security, national interests, and public interests; Land Law 2003; the Decree No. 197/2004/ND-CP dated December 3, 2004; the Decree No. 181/2004/ND-CP dated October 29, 2004; the Decree No. 17/2006/ND-CP dated January 27, 2006; the Decree No. 84/2007/ND-CP dated May 25, 2007; and the Decree No. 69/2009/ND-CP by the Government on compensation, support and resettlement when the State recovers land. There are also some documents of Dak Lak Provincial People's Committee such as the Decision No. 634/1999/QD-UBND of the People's Committee of Dak Lak Province dated 29 March 1999 guiding the application of the Decree 22 in the province, the Decision No. 31/2005/QDUBND dated April 25, 2005, the Decision No. 30/2006/QÄ?-UBND dated July 4, 2006, the Decision No. 37/2007/QD-UBND dated September 17, 2007, and the Decision No. 02/2010/QD-UBND dated January 22, 2010 of the People's Committee of Dak Lak Province promulgating regulations on compensation, support and resettlement when the State recovers land in the Dak Lak province; decisions on annual land prices, compensation rates for trees, crops, buildings, architecture works and assets on land issued by the Dak Lak Provincial People's Committee. According to the report No. 22/BC-HDBT by the land clearance compensation board of the Buon Kuop hydropower project in Krong Ana district dated August 24, 2015 on the implementation of compensation: total area of land acquisition for the Buon Kuop hydropower project in Krong Ana district is 5,321,106 m2 and total number of households subject to land acquisition is 719 households (of which 238 households are of ethnic minorities), in which: 1) Land areas withdrawn in Ea Na commune are 4,798,857 m2 and total number of households with land withdrawn is 591 households (199 households are of ethnic minorities), including: acquiring land of Krong Ana coffee and cacao limited company: 1,129,757 km2; withdrawing land of households and individuals (under the communal land fund) is 3,669,100 m2. The above-mentioned acquired land areas were used for building roads and reservoirs, and partly for resettlement of Buon Drai people. Specifically, land areas used for roads and reservoirs, and focal areas are 4,015,725 m2; land used for resettlement (under the land of Krong Ana Coffee Company) are 783,132 m2. 2) Land areas withdrawn in Dray Sap commune are 522,249 m2 and total number of households having land acquired is 128 households (39 ethnic 31

minority households). Land areas used for building roads are 84,988 m2 (withdrawing from Dam San Company) and land used for auxiliary areas is 437,261 m2 (returned upon completion). Total land clearance and compensation cost in Krong Ana district includes: land compensation cost of VND 15,395,648,575; house and architecture works compensation cost of VND 6,633,957,405; crop compensation cost of VND 26,548,044,039; economic support of VND 1,726,498,947; poor households support of VND 3,636,000,000; site clearance cost of VND 599,716,662; and other support cost of VND 1,149,794,761. Resettlement: total number of households allocated with land plots for resettlement is 14 households in Ea Na commune with an area of 0.57 hectare and 03 households under 134 program receiving a land area of 0.06 hectare. The mentioned households have been granted land use right certificates. Agricultural resettlement: 147 households were provided with resettlement land area of 84.3 hectares, of which: -


Ea Na Commune: 138 households were allocated with a land area of 69 hectares. The two remaining land plots of 01 hectare have been under the management of the Ea Na commune authorities. 120 households were granted land use right certificates while 28 households have been not issued yet due to lack of map number. Dray Sap Commune: 9 households were allocated with a land area of 15.3 hectares and all households have been granted land use certificates.

In terms of infrastructure, the Hydropower Project Management Board No. 5 invested in building one school located in a 0.56-hectare area and a 6.71km traffic road in the residential area. According to the assessment of the Krong Ana District Compensation Board in the report No. 22/BC-HDBT dated August 24, 2015, apart from benefits of the Buon Kuop hydropower project to the State and local people, implementation of the compensation plan still has some problems, affecting local people living along the reservoir: -


Riverbank erosion: Some households were displaced due to erosion occurring in the residential area of Ea Tung village and some high areas nearby the river have been at risk of landslides during the flood season. For agricultural resettlement, each household was allocated with a small 0.5-hectare area. Such land area has been not enough for most crowded households, thus local people struggled with a lot of difficulties. They were forced to cultivate in Krong No district (located in the other riverside). Cultivation in a far area is more 32





challenging and transportation of products and production tools is at risk. Compensation was made for damages at the 412m altitude for the Buon Kuop hydropower project. As the affected area is quite flat, floods strongly affect cultivate productivity. For areas with sloping hills, erosion occurs annually. During the water level rising season, river water penetrates into wells, polluting water source and at the same time carcasses of animals drifting into residential areas cause pollution. Some households after land acquisition just had a small land area of about 300-500 m2 that was not enough for cultivation and their land areas have been threatened to landslides as they are located in the riverbank. Wells in the resettlement area are not available because of water shortage. Local people have arbitrarily cultivated in bare areas in the dry season and some households have even cultivated in the reservoir area, leading to complex disputes and disorder in the locality.

Apart from the above-mentioned reported issues, during the fieldwork of CSRD research team, some issues have been not addressed, such as: -




A recommendation is made that 51 households are deducted VND 17,000,000 /household to get a land area of 5,000 m2 from the land fund of Krong Ana coffee company. According to local people, this is a form of land purchase rather than land allocation as they have lost their land in the old production area and also lost money to get the 5,000 m2 land. Support policies for poor households resettled are inadequate, 19 persons of 7 households have not been well supported with the prescribed amount of VND 9,000,000 /person. Compensation policies are not reasonable. Local people just received a very small amount for compensation so that they could not carry out production activities effectively. According to the price norms at the time of compensation, local people received VND 34,000,000 for each one-hectare cultivation land but to buy a rice field in another place, they had to spend VND 3,000,000 for each 500m2, or VND 60,000,000 for each hectare. Vocational training and job creation for resettled people, especially young people, are not practiced in reality. Due to lack of land, they had to work as hired laborers or cultivated in other areas. 33



People did not participate in consultation sessions during the construction of resettlement houses, the quality of houses and auxiliary works are not guaranteed with signs of degradation. People could not access water for daily activities. The hydropower company did not have any support in terms of extension activities for resettled people and for agricultural resettlement.

After many years of completion of the compensation and resettlement plan, in general, the investor has basically performed legal regulations on compensation policies, despite of some shortcomings and negative feedback of local people on compensation prices, life quality, and production conditions. Social welfare policies have been inadequately implemented and have not satisfied local needs, such as vocational training and job creation support, schools, and water supply. The authorities of Ea Na Commune also reported that in the resettlement program there were no infrastructure construction component. People lost their cultivation land and they have not directly benefited from the project but suffered more losses; however the investor did not have any welfare programs to support them. The local authorities requested the hydropower company to support the affected areas, such as, reinvesting in welfare funds, creating employment, organizing vocational training, and improving infrastructure. Reservoir clearing Clearing the reservoir before water accumulation is to ensure water quality in the reservoir and not to affect landscapes of the localities. Reservoir clearing consists of the following: -

Plants and trees need to be cut down and products need to be brought out of the reservoir; Cleaning farm cages by removing and filling them with clean soil before water accumulation; Graves have to be moved to another appropriate places; Detecting and dealing with mines, explosives, and toxic chemicals (OB)

Regarding mitigation of environmental impacts during the construction phase, according to assessment by representatives of the Dak Lak province Sub-Department of Environmental Protection, the investor completed construction documents including: reservoir clearing and chemical toxics removal, and land dossiers (minutes of land acquisition, land handing-over, grazing land acquisition...). For the reservoir clearing, the investor worked with a consultancy unit and completed the acceptance minutes after 34

completion. This work was under the supervision of the authorities of Dak Lak and Dak Nong provinces, with the coordination of the Dak Lak Province Preventive Medicine Center in monitoring surface water quality before water accumulation. Prior to the acceptance process, the inter-sectoral inspection team of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment and Dak Lak Province Department of Natural Resources and Environment checked water quality. The company investor was granted a certificate of project completion in 2012 for water accumulation. Mitigation measures to water and air environments To maintain ecological flows, as presented in the EIA report of the Buon Kuop hydropower project, upon the construction of the Buon Kuop reservoir, water was led to the hydropower plant through water paths and returned to the main SrĂŠpok river. A long section of this river is dried up (the natural stream, ecological flow), about 6.69 km long, entering the Dak So stream) and the dried section mainly gets water from the basin of the Buon Kuop dam and the plant outlet. According to the monitoring data collected on the SrĂŠpok river by the bridge station No. 14 and the Ban Don bridge station, the basin of this middle area generates a flow of about 550 mm (17 m 3/s), therefore to have an ecological flow at the plant outlet reaching 22 m3/s, 5 m3/s needs to be discharged in order to maintain the natural flow in the downstream area of the Buon Kuop dam and tourism activities of Gia Long, Dray Wax, and Trinh Nu falls. It is possible to increase the discharge capacity up to 10 m3/s, discharging water in daytime and accumulating water in nighttime so as not to affect landscapes of the falls. During the project construction and operation process, unusual water discharge cases occurred. Before water discharge, it is necessary to warn about abnormal changes of river flows to local people living in the downstream area. The warnings can be done by loudspeakers or sirens within the scope of 10 km. In addition, the EIA report also mentioned arisen issues and measures to these issues during the construction phase, such as noise and dust reduction and environmental sanitation. These measures are prescribed in the construction norms that have been applied by contractors during the project construction process. As confirmed by the Buon Kuop hydropower company, in order to ensure ecological flows and water supply for tourism waterfalls, the company made a plan of water discharge of 10 m3/s in daytime and water storage in nighttime. In fact, the Buon Kuop dam had its right shoulder soaked and water flow following waterways to pour in the dam downstream is 7.5 35

m3/s and regularly monitored. The soaking phenomenon has been assessed by specialized agencies as a geological issue that can be acceptable. To compensate the soaked water volume, the hydropower company only needs to discharge at the dam discharge gate an additional water volume. In March 2015, the Dak Nong province HydroMeteorological Station carried out measurement of water level in Gia Long waterfalls. It was measured 22.8 m3/s on February 28, 2015 and 22 m3/s on March 23, 2015. Figure 2.1: A flow behind the Buon Kuop dam

Restoring land areas used during the construction period The EIA report on the Buon Kuop hydropower project referred rehabilitation of land areas used in the construction process as follows: -


Backfilling and greening pits outside the reservoir and disposal sites to protect the landscapes of the Dray Sap recreation area. Some forest areas inevitably destroyed during the construction process must be replanted or restored at the end of the construction phase. Cost of forest and vegetation restoration in the areas used for construction activities is about VND 1,575 million.

Regarding land rehabilitation, the research team did not collect any information and related documents, only knowing that the hydropower company handed over a 29 hectare land area after completion of the 36

project construction to the Ea Na commune and the commune authorities have intended to carry out afforestation activities in such area. Building a protection forest system Building a system of protection forests was mentioned in the EIA report as a large project on the entire SrĂŠpok river system to serve the entire cascade irrigation and hydropower in the basin. The protection forest planting and protecting project is funded by the State while the electricity sector makes a contribution for the project design. The Buon Kuop hydropower plant makes a contribution of VND 440 million and coordinates with the agriculture and rural development agencies to design the project right away during the time of putting the works into operation. According to the Dak Lak Environmental Protection Sub-department, the investor developed a plan of 300-hectare protection forest planting that has been monitored by the provincial Department of Agriculture and Department of Commerce. However, some regulations applied at the time of making the EIA report are different from those in the current time so the plan has been waiting for the approval of the provincial People's Committee. This agency needs to review planting activities in accordance with regulations and guidelines on planting locations (planting on the forest land, not on the project land). Evaluation of the implementation of mitigation measures during the water accumulation and project operation. Ecosystems The EIA report addressed measures to mitigate negative impacts on ecosystems during the water accumulation phase, including the following key points: -


For flora: applying forest rehabilitation. For forest fauna: clearing the reservoir to attract animals to the Nam Ka Nature Reserve, making a plan of protecting and planting watershed forests, investing in constructing local nature conservation zones, and improving people’s awareness of nature and environment protection by different methods. For aquatic systems and fisheries, upon the construction of the reservoir, fishery has been transformed into reservoir-based fishery. In addition, the hydrological regime of the reservoir may affect the downstream area and local fishery. A number of measures have been taken such as preserving the development of the watershed forests, cleaning the reservoir bed, managing and developing reservoir-based fishery, guiding local people to 37


carry out exploitation of fishery resources in accordance with the hydrological regime of the reservoir and by appropriate means (no using landmines, electrical impulses, and toxic chemicals ...). Coordinating with local authorities to educate local people about environmental protection. Providing regulations on prohibition of animal hunting and forest protection for contractors to manage their workers.

Commenting on the implementation of measures to mitigate negative impacts on ecosystems, the EIA report put forward theoretical and general measures that have not been fully implemented in the reality. Collecting information and documents from the local authorities and local people in Ea Na and Dray Sap communes of Krong Ana district, Hoa Phu commune, Buon Me Thuot city that are the main communities affected by the Buon Kuop hydropower project in Dak Lak province, fishery and aquaculture have been no longer developed. According to the report of the Krong Ana District People's Committee, there are 121 fishing rafts in the reservoir area with the yield of 1.5 - 1.7 tons per day. However, according to the survey, the research team only found one private establishment investing in cage aquaculture in the reservoir in Ea Tung village, Ea Na commune. Through the interviews, the hydropower company and the district and commune authorities have not yet implemented any policy to help people to develop aquaculture in the reservoir because investment costs in a deep water area are quite high. In the assessment of the project impacts on the aquatic environment, the EIA report predicted changes of the aquatic systems in the reservoir area and the development of cage aquaculture. The report also said that the formation of a river section after the dam to reduce water will not affect local aquatic systems if water discharge in the dry seasons is strictly implemented. However, the local authorities of Dray Sap Commune located in the downstream area of the Buon Kuop dam, said: "Fishery resources are reduced, if the discharge flow is assured, fish go to the downstream. Previously, local people carried out cast net fishing but now they no longer do that�. The Hoa Phu commune authorities and local people living in the downstream area of the plant, also said that since the Buon Kuop hydropower dam prevented water flows, exploitation of fishery resources has been dramatically decreased and no longer developed as previously. In Ea Na Commune, Ea Tung villagers evaluated fishery resources after the establishment of the Buon Kuop reservoir as follows: Table 2.1: Changes in aquatic resources in Ea Tung village, Ea Na commune, Krong Ana district 38

Disappeared species

Species with yield decreased by more than 50%

Species with normal yields Species with increased yields

- Milkfish (40-50kg in weight, this species was previously caught) - Hemibagrus microphthalmus - Mylopharyngodon piceus - Anguilliformes - Hemibagrus guttatus: decreased by around 80% - Shrimp: 70-80% - Notopterus: 60-70%, this species has a high economic value, previously a net can be used to collect 2kg of this species. - Gobiiformes: 50-60%, this species only lives in the flowing water - Wallago attu: 50% - Hypophthalmichthys - Cichlidae - Trichopodus pectoralis (with normal economic value, this species is caught for providing food sources for various species in ponds. - Hypostomus plecostomus: increased up to 80%. This is an exotic fish with a flat head and black skin as hard as crocodile skin, which often feeds on small fish - River crabs: Although this species is valuable in nutrition, it tear fish cages, rafts, affecting the economy of farmers. - Cyprinus carpio: 30-40%

Other measures mentioned in the EIA report have not yet been implemented, such as planting and protection of watershed forests and raising local people’s awareness of natural environment protection. Water environment The EIA report stated that sediment variation in the SrÊpok river tends to increase due to the high rate of industrial crop deforestation. Measures to reduce erosion, thereby reducing the amount of sand accumulated in the reservoir area, are to apply surface erosion prevention techniques (plant structure by altitude line) and to ensure forest cover in the upstream area. The investor has applied sand drainage (combined water drainage) in the spillway, with the altitude lower than the dead water level (383.5m). In addition, the altitude threshold near the river bed is also favorable for sediment to be discharged regularly in the flood seasons. Sand issues in the downstream area are also of concern. Localities in the downstream area interviewed by the research team, such as Dray Sap and 39

Hoa Phu communes, reported that local sand exploitation activities have been either affected or no longer implemented. The Buon Kuop hydropower company said that normally, the outlet valve does not work to save water. Socio-economic environment Requirements of mitigation of socio-economic impacts include: - Strictly complying with the current regulations on flood discharge to ensure safety of local people, promptly notifying flood discharge to communities in order to minimize human and asset losses. In case of unusual flood discharge that causes damages to crops or assets, the investor shall have to perform compensation. - Upon implementation of the compensation and resettlement plan for affected people, measures such as extension support, medical assistance, mosquito spraying, funding for medicines and treatment of common diseases such as malaria, diarrhea must be continuously taken. - Local population and labor management Regarding flood and disaster prevention, the Buon Kuop hydropower company has performed well according to the assessment of Department of Natural Resources and Environment, Department of Commerce, Dak Lak Provincial Steering Committee for Natural Disaster Prevention and Flood Control, and localities such as the People's Committee of Krong Ana district, and Ea Na, Dray Sap and Hoa Phu communes. The company annually developed a plan of disaster prevention and submitted it to the Department of Commerce and the People's Committee of Dak Lak province for approval and coordinated with other localities for the plan implementation. The company completed the disaster prevention plan for the year 2015. In the densely populated areas, the company also installed loud-speakers to inform local authorities and people about disaster information. Information about water discharge has been updated daily to the local authorities and agencies concerned. For large floods, the company has made warnings four hours prior to water discharge by fax or email. The company signed a contract with the National Center for Hydrology and Meteorology to be updated daily weather forecasts and forecasts of rainstorms within 5-7 days before occurrence. Local authorities have been informed of flood discharge to promptly inform people in the communes by the loudspeaker system or in writing through the network of village heads. However, it is suggested that local loudspeaker systems need to be improved or maintained. Regarding social life of people in the resettlement area, the Ea Na 40

commune authorities said that they have also monitored regularly and found people's living places clean. Some households spent money on repairing their houses. However, after being compensated for losses, some households from ethnic minority groups did not manage their money well even though the commune authorities have provided them with support and guidelines.

ENVIRONMENTAL MONITORING AND MANAGEMENT PROGRAM At the time of the EIA report, the environmental monitoring program was one of the contents of the EIA report as stipulated by Environmental Protection Law 1993 and the Governmental Decree No. 143/2004/ND-CP dated July 12, 2004. The contents of the monitoring program were implemented in the stage of construction phase and operation phase. The contents of environmental supervision are as follows: Hydro-meteorological parameters monitoring Establishing a hydro-meteorological monitoring station with the following tasks: -


Observing meteorological factors such as temperature, rain, humidity ...; Monitoring changes in hydrological regime before and after the construction of the reservoir (flow, velocity, sediment, water level); Monitoring changes in water quality after the construction of the reservoir; Flood forecasting and reservoir operation.

Station location: Using stations of the national hydrological grid in the SrĂŠpok river basin. The upstream station (input data) can use two stations of Giang Son in the Krong Ana river and Duc Xuyen in the Krong No river. The bridge station No. 14 can be used as the downstream (output data) station. Monitoring frequency: continuously monitoring for five years for the project construction, then long-term monitoring for plant operation. Ecological environment monitoring Investigating periodically one time per six month about fish and aquatic animals in the reservoir and downstream areas (behind the dam and the plant) to detect any changes in species composition and their development after the construction of the reservoir. Monitoring duration is five years. Health impact monitoring 41

Health impact monitoring include the implementation of mitigation measures proposed and detecting new or mutated problems in diseases or mortality rate. It also include controlling the implementation of other health measures such as vaccination, tuberculosis control, malaria control, clean water supply, and toilets‌ Compensation and resettlement monitoring Tasks related to compensation, site clearance, migration and resettlement are complicated. Organizational structure of the monitoring agency must reflect the collective responsibility of local authorities from the provincial level to the district, commune and village levels and representatives of the affected communities. Environmental components monitored include: water quality; air quality; hydrological flow; climate regime; socio-economic life; compensation for resettlement; fauna and flora; aquatic system. Comparing the contents of the monitoring program in the EIA report with the contents of the environmental monitoring report, which was implemented by the project owner for the first time in 2009, environmental components not yet implemented include quality of the air environment; fauna and flora; aquatic system (fish). In 2010, the environmental components monitored include: air quality (surrounding air, emissions, production water); surface and ground water quality; microclimate; hydrography (water level) and environmental components monitored in 2011 are similar to 2010. Frequency of environmental monitoring: only hydrological flow is monitored twice a year. Compared to the contents proposed in the EIA report, the project investor has complied with the regulations on monitoring hydrological flow and socio-economic life while environmental components proposed to be monitored four times per year including water quality and air quality; and climate regime are only implemented twice a year in 2010 and 2011. Monitoring parameters: Environmental monitoring parameters during the construction process are different from the proposed contents. During the operation phase, the project investor has monitored most of the environmental components under the environmental monitoring program developed in the EIA report. However, some environmental components, such as, on-land and underwater flora and fauna have not been fully monitored.


CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS Conclusions The investors, Vietnam Electricity (EVN) and the Hydropower Project Management Board No. 5 have complied with current regulations of Vietnamese law during the construction of the Buon Kuop hydropower project. During the construction phases, the project has strictly implemented relevant procedures, and coordinated well with local authorities and agencies. During the project operation, the operation unit - the Buon Kuop hydropower company has also satisfied requirements of dam safety, flood warning and water regulation. Monitoring and measurement activities have been also carried out regularly and strictly monitored by specialized agencies. However, as a relatively large scale hydropower plant, the Buon Kuop hydropower project also has some negative impacts on environment and socio-economic life of affected people and some existing issues have not been thoroughly resolved. Monitoring and implementation of environmental protection commitments of the operation unit have not been publicized, lack of information and evidences to make accurate conclusions. The responsibility and coordination between the local government and the management and operation unit have not been clearly demonstrated in dealing with negative issues. Recommendations With negative issues reported by local people, the investors, the operation management unit, and the provincial and district authorities should coordinate to resolve thoroughly and explain carefully to local people. Specific recommendations synthesized from local villagers during the research process in communities are specified in the below Table 2.2: Table 2.2: Specific requests made by studied communities Buon Drai village, Ea Na commune, Krong Ana district Land



Land allocation based on the number of household population Relocating households along the river and households having land areas subject to landslides to high and safe places. Providing land for local people, households having or not having land acquired when moving to 43






Facilities, Infrastructure




resettlement areas. Issuing land use right certificates to 12 households in the village. Among these households, Y-Mre HDĆĄk's family has not yet been issued a land use right certificate for both residential and cultivated land. Providing preferential and long-term loans to local people with low interest rates so that people can buy more land for farming and raising goats and cattle for sustainable poverty reduction. Providing seedlings suitable for cultivation in hilly land such as avocado, cashew and forest trees in order to prevent soil erosion. Supporting agricultural techniques for cultivating and caring coffee trees. Supporting households living along the riverbank to raise cage fish in terms of capital, techniques, tools, equipment and methods of output stabilization. Supporting boats, life jackets for people moving to the other side of river for farming or for fishermen. Concreting the remaining 750m road in the village Providing clean water for the village Building and installing a pumping station for distant households to get water from the river up to cultivating areas. Dragging the grid into the cultivation plots of local people.

Ea Tung village, Ea Na commune, Krong Ana district Compensation





Supporting and making compensation for assets such as houses, landslides, plant damages due to floods, especially for households along the river. Disbursement and completion of land compensation for households subject to landslides to be resettled in high and safe places Providing preferential loans with low interest rates for villagers so that they have enough capital to develop animal husbandry and plant trees with high 44



Facilities, Infrastructure







economic values such as pepper, butter and durian. These trees are usually harvested after 5 years so local people need loans with low interest rate and slow repayment duration. Supporting breeding animals, food sources, capital for investment in cages and stables so that households can cultivate and develop aquatic products to ensure household economy. As fishery resources are reduced, breeding fish supporting programs need to be carried out to increase fishery resources and exploitation by electric pulses is prohibited. Supporting boats, life jackets for people to carry out fishing activities and for those who have to travel to the other side of river (Krong No district) for cultivation. Supporting and investment in construction of a 3km concrete road in the village. Providing clean water to the village, providing initial financial support for installation costs Dealing with water sources pollution for households living along the river, especially in the Hamlet 4 of Ea Tung village. Implementing projects of planting protection forests along the river to prevent riverbank erosion, wind, flood and reforestation of the lost forest area. Supporting Mai Duong herbicide expenses and spraying expenses.



GENERAL INTRODUCTION Hydropower is considered as a renewable energy source that plays a significant role in the energy supply system. Hydropower therefore is an essential contributor to the national development, especially for developing countries. However, the development of the hydropower industry not only affects river environment, river resources, and forest resources but also affects the lives of displaced communities and inhabitants living along the rivers at the downstream. In particular, the construction of hydropower dams leads many households to involuntary resettlement. This causes great social psychological stresses for individuals and the whole society. In addition, many resettlement areas are not better or as good as the old places for local people’s lives as promised by investors that causes great concerns in the community. Impacts by hydropower projects are not exceptional for everyone including men, women, children, the elderly, the disabled, and the ethnic minorities. All of them are affected. These impacts often disrupt the community structure as well as people's livelihoods, gender roles and responsibilities that have been long-established in communities and households. For women, they not only shoulder domestic responsibilities but also take other roles in the community. Obviously, apart from great contributions to the international and national development, hydropower has negative impacts on communities from the gender perspective. Most of these impacts have not been specifically reported but often ignored or underestimated in the project evaluation in terms of its significance and sustainability.


According to the World Commission on the Dam (WCD) (Simon 2013), "‌ gender is a concept defining roles and social relationships between men and women. Benefits of the hydropower dam construction for women are a necessary condition rather than a sufficient condition to gender equality�. Respecting rights and benefits of both men and women when building hydropower dams may bring about equal benefits for both sexes, contributing to improvement of gender-related issues. Gender-related issues have been properly paid attention by investment enterprises and financial experts and included in the development process of governmental policies and legal documents in many countries. In Viet Nam, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MONRE) sets an action plan on gender equality for women advancement, including gender mainstreaming in the water resource planning and management. Law on Gender Equality in 2006 specifies the goal of "ensuring gender equality in all fields of politics, economics, culture, society and family; assisting men and women in promoting their abilities and creating equal opportunities for them to participate in the development process and benefit from that development� (NAV 2006). Vietnam has also built the national strategy for gender equality during the period of 2011-2020. Specifically, Vietnam's Gender Strategy in Agriculture and Rural Development aims to improve "access to and participation in management of resources such as land, water, infrastructure, credit, and other services in the field of agriculture and rural development" for women (Simpson and Simon 2013). Meanwhile, this strategy also recommends "a gender analysis database and quantitative tools need to be established while development policies, plans, programs, and projects are developed" (Simpson and Simon 2013). This is to ensure that needs of women who are impacted by hydropower projects are considered. This study aims to investigate gender impacts to local people by the A Luoi hydropower project which is located at the source of the 3S River (Serepok 3, Sesan, Sekong) in Thua Thien Hue province. Focusing on impacts of A Luoi hydropower on production, reproduction, and community activities from a gender perspective, this research was conducted in two villages, A Sap and A Den of Hong Thuong commune (these villages are the former Can Tom resettlement area) and Quang Ngan village of Son Thuy commune, where is semi-flooded by the A Luoi hydropower reservoir. The research results are expected to stimulate the project owners (EVN CHP Hydropower Joint Stock Company and A Luoi Hydropower Plant) and state agencies to pay attention to gender issues and gender mainstreaming in the decision-making process.


A LUOI HYDROPOWER: PROJECT AND GENDER CONCERNS A Luoi hydropower project The A Luoi hydropower project invested nearly VND 3,235 billion was built in June 2007 and completed in June 2012 for commercial operation. The A Luoi hydropower plant is located on A Sap River, A Luoi district, Thua Thien Hue province, about 70 km3 from Hue City. A Sap River is a three-levelled tributary of the Mekong River, including many confluences of small and big rivers and streams, of which two major rivers are Ta Rinh and A Sap. The length of the main river to the hydropower dam is 43 km and the catchment area is 331 km2. Major components of the A Luoi hydropower project include a main dam, a spillway, and a plant (including two units with a total electricity distribution capacity of 170 MW. The maximum flow through the plant Qmax is 43,3 m3 /s) (see Figure 3.1). Figure 3.1: Model of the A Luoi hydropower plant

Source: Central Hydropower Joint-stock Company (www.chp.vn)

The A Luoi hydropower plant is considered to be superior as it is a hydroelectric power plant, with a tunnel of 12 km in length from Hong Thuong Commune to Hong Ha Commune and with a 500m difference to water column. Although water volume discharged through turbines generates a relatively small amount of electricity, Qmax = 43.3 m3/s, the plant capacity is very large, 170 MW. The annual average electricity output is 686,5 million KWh, a significant electricity source for the national power system, ensuring energy security.


Social Impact Assessment of A Luoi Hydropower, June/2014, CSRD - CORENARM


Gender considerations of the Central Hydropower Company and A Luoi hydropower plant The Management Board of the Central Hydropower Company consists of the General Director and two Deputy General Directors. No female take these positions. The company has 07 divisions corresponding to 07 division managers but there is only 01 female manager. Total number of employees is 117 with 13 females, accounting for 11.11%. In the recruitment process, the company has widely announced recruitment information on various channels; however the number of females, especially females with university or postgraduate degrees voluntarily working for the plant has been still modest. In the Company Resolution, recruitment of female laborers is given priority in order to achieve 15% of female workers. Some departments such as administration and accounting departments give preference to recruit female employees. However, due to specialization requirement as well as topographic structure of the company, a very limited number of females work at the company. Barriers for women when being recruited to work at the Company include: + Location of the plant is far from residential areas that is not convenient for female employees. + Working in the plant is not suitable for married female employees as they have to take care of their family and their children’s schooling. + Women's health is not the same as men’s For female employees at the Company and the plant, the Management Boards give priorities for them such as assigning them with administration work; however, the number of females applying to work at the Company remains limited. With regard to gender-related issues, policy promulgation, and policy enforcement in the A Luoi hydropower plant, according to a hydropower plant leader’s statement, project approval requires the project carries out environment impact assessment (EIA), rather than social impact assessment (SIA). Therefore, no request for gender impact assessment to any hydropower projects by Vietnamese investors (except ADB projects) has been made. In addition, the hydropower plant leader shared that "men and women receive same benefits from the A Luoi hydropower plant. Difference in benefit sharing may depend on the different proportion of women and men in communities. "


RESEARCH METHODS Gender impact assessment of hydropower projects can be carried out at several stages: during the river basin planning process; at the beginning of the project; after the project operation ... With the research objectives and requirements of gender impact assessment, dialogues among three parties including affected communities, local authorities, and project investors should be carried out. During the period of 18 October 2015 - 02 November 2015, the research team collected information and secondary data related to the A Luoi hydropower project; reports on socio-economic characteristics of A Luoi district and communes affected by the hydropower project. The team contacted the local authorities and completed administration procedures for field surveys. The team directly met the Company's leaders at the A Luoi hydropower plant including Deputy General Director of the Company cum Director of the Plant, and staff and leaders of the district People’s Committee including Vice chairman, representatives of specialized divisions and affected communes on 05 November 2015. Group discussions were conducted in three villages including A Den and A Sap villages of Hong Thuong commune, and Quang Ngan village of Son Thuy Commune with the participation of affected people, local government, and project representatives. Discussions were conducted in groups including male group, female group and group of local officers. A Den and A Sap villages of Hong Thuong commune were grouped for evaluation as they have been just separated from the Can Tom resettlement area in July 2014. 35 local people involved in group discussions including 16 females and 19 males. 30 participants including 12 females and 18 males were in group discussion in Quang Ngan village, Son Thuy commune. During group discussions, the team used six gender impact assessment tools proposed by Oxfam. Six gender impact assessment tools include: (1) developing profiles of hydropower affected communities in production, reproduction, and community activities by gender; (2) developing profiles of natural resource use and control by gender (profiles of resource access) that aims to identify who decides to use domestic or community resources; (3) institutional analysis to identify impacts of policy and mechanism implementation on gender in the project areas; (4) analysis of impacts by gender (how does the hydropower dam affect men and women in the environmental, social, and economic aspects during its construction and operation process?); (5) gender needs assessment and (6) analysis of empowerment tools for women in order to evaluate hydropower impacts on women’s status in terms of "welfare, accessibility, awareness, 50

participation, and control". Gender impact assessment of the hydropower project was illustrated by six tools; however, Tool 2 and 6 commonly aim at identifying women's participation in the planning and decision-making process to bring about equitable benefits for women in society. For this reason, Tool 2 and 6 were integrated during the analysis and report process. This report basically analyzes hydropower impacts on economic, social and environmental activities, needs, and solutions mainly from a gender perspective. Upon completion of gender impact assessment by six tools, the research group synthesized preliminary results and held a three-party meeting (village, commune, and district authorities, affected people, and representatives of the investor) to check assessment results more accurately and realistically. Based on the assessment results, the research made recommendations more feasible.

NATURAL AND SOCIO-ECONOMIC CHARACTERISTICS OF THE STUDIED COMMUNITIES Natural characteristics of the studied areas The survey results in the A Sap and A Den villages of Hong Thuong commune show that due to the hydropower impacts, communities were relocated to the current resettlement area. In the resettlement area, land quality is very poor with mainly stones and not suitable for cultivation. Most of households do not have enough land to grow rice plants. The irrigation system does not fully afford agricultural production. There are only 9 hectares of paddy land with irrigation system and 15 out of 24 hectares of land planned for wet rice production have been abandoned. Unlike the A Sap and A Den villages of Hong Thuong commune, Quang Ngai village of Son Thuy commune is a semi-flooded area due to the hydropower impacts. About 95% of local land is inundated and cannot be used for production as often as previously. 7 out of 9 hectares of paddy land are flooded, resulting in decreased rice yields and food shortage. Local employment and income The survey results show that employment structure dramatically changed since the construction of the hydropower dam. Previously, people lived mainly on agriculture, animal husbandry, and non-timber forest products (NTFPs) exploitation. Since the establishment of the hydropower plant, cultivation land has been reduced, resulting in lack of employment. According to local people’s opinion, more than 90% of households in the surveyed communes have worked as hired laborers. Unmarried young men 51

have found jobs in the southern provinces (mostly in Ho Chi Minh City) while married ones have worked in neighboring communes. Household income has been also significantly reduced. Local people estimated that their income has been reduced by about 30% while their expenditure has been increased for health care, food, electricity, and water. Previously, people had land for cultivation and afforestation that brought them a stable income and food. Currently, lack of cultivation land results in food shortage. In addition, animal husbandry is poorly developed due to lack of food sources and grazing land. Income from hired labor is uncertain while gender wage is driven by discrimination due to job characteristics. Infrastructure Infrastructure invested by the hydropower company for affected communities is relatively spacious and better according to the evaluation of local people and authorities. However, the infrastructure is quickly degraded so local people feel insecure. The infrastructure system includes: Schools: In the resettlement community, three schools (kindergarten, primary school, and secondary school) were newly-built by the hydropower company. Kindergarten and primary schools have been put into use but their facilities did not meet quality requirements. Secondary school has been not well-used due to the very modest number of students. Students from the secondary school are currently studying at the primary school. There is an upper secondary school located in a faraway place; however, students have no means of transportation and their parents cannot take them to school daily. As a result, the majority of students drop out of school upon completing their study at the secondary school. Health station: Although the hydropower company has built a health station in the A Sap resettlement community, this facility has not been used. A leader of the A Luoi district People’s Committee explained: "In principle, the village is not supported for its health station (as the State does not provide budget for its operation), so the district cannot allocate any doctors, nurses, or equipment for the station. During the construction period, A Luoi District People's Committee does not anticipate these mentioned issues. When we approve the project, we only care how the project supports electricity, roads, schools, and health station for people without carefully mentioning its operation mechanism�. Transportation: In the resettlement area, roads are nicely constructed but quickly damaged upon being put into operation. The hydropower company responded: "Investment in degraded infrastructure after four years is crucial; however people inappropriately use large trucks that make roads 52

quickly damaged”. Previously, there was a bridge on the Kieng stream for people to move from residential areas to new production areas; however this bridge was washed away due to the flood occurred in 2013. The communal People's Committee and local people made a proposal of rebuilding this bridge to the hydropower company. In addition, according to local people's reflections, there are a lot of challenges in travelling and exchange of goods. The resettlement area is far from the market so purchase depends on street vendors. This indirectly puts pressure on women and girls as their main responsibility is to ensure daily meals and basic necessities for the whole family. Housing: According to the A Sap villagers, the hydropower company had built new houses for them before they were relocated. Local people are very happy as their houses are bigger, nicer, and more convenient with toilets. Prior to the house construction, the hydropower company consulted with the community in selecting a suitable type of house. However, according to the community’s assessment, these houses have been of poor quality with peeled floors, unclosed windows, rain-soaked and cracked walls, and leaking roofs. Design of kitchens does not fit the customs and needs of rural people, especially ethnic minority people. Local people said that "Kitchens are very nice and are suitable for gas stoves while rural people mainly use firewood for cooking”. Therefore, most households have to build another kitchen for cooking. They even borrow money to build bathrooms and kitchens that increase their debts. Many local people argued that their old houses are not as nice as new ones but they are safer. They are now living in large houses but they are afraid that their house may be damaged and unsafe during stormy and rainy seasons. Benefit sharing mechanism of the A Luoi hydropower plant For the resettlement area, the main benefit sharing mechanism of the company is paying annual taxes to the district authorities and supporting other activities. Around VND 400 billion was funded to the resettlement area, in which VND 4.3 billion was for livelihood support, accounting for 1%. According to the hydropower plant leader’s statement, "Every year we support to annually build 1-2 houses of gratitude, so far we have built about 8-9 houses. Each house of gratitude costs VND 40-50 million. The Central hydropower company contributes around VND 100 billion to different funds. In 2014, the company spent VND 1.8 billion on building a road in Son Thuy commune. In addition, the company also financially supported to build Bot Do market (VND 1 billion), a rubbish dump (more than VND 1 billion), and a kitchen for the kindergarten. Response to the request of the provincial 53

authorities, the Company funded VND one billion to build a school near to the hydropower plant for Lao people”. Feedback mechanism According to the hydropower plant leader’s sharing, "Local people can give their feedback to any issues, mainly through local channels and the company keeps following up local feedback. So far, local feedback is primarily related to compensation. We have not received any feedback about difficult lives of local people while some people highly evaluate their living condition better than before”.

RESULTS OF GENDER IMPACT ASSESSMENT OF A LUOI HYDROPOWER PROJECT During the implementation of the gender impact assessment of the A Luoi hydropower project, the team conducted the assessment in three villages of two communes. Hong Thuong commune includes A Den and A Sap villages. Two villages that were formerly the Can Ton resettlement area have been separated since July 2014. The Can Tom resettlement area welcomed those who used to live in the reservoir and are involuntarily replaced. Quang Ngan village of Son Thuy commune is affected by the water level rise of the reservoir and is an inundated area. Impacts on household production In the three surveyed areas, main livelihoods of local people were formerly agricultural production and NTFP exploitation. The construction of the hydropower dam has affected local cultivation land. Lack and poor quality of production land actually cause difficulties for local agricultural production. Therefore, role and responsibilities of family members also need to be changed to adapt current living conditions. Table 4.1 below summarizes changes in livelihood activities of the two communes before and after the construction of the A Luoi hydropower dam. Table 3.1. Changes in production activities before and after the establishment of the hydropower plant Production activities

Before the Since the establishment of the establishment of hydropower plant/Since the hydropower resettlement plant Quang Ngan village, Son Thuy commune Farming 100% of - 95% of area is inundated and not households had used for cultivation. Land of rice paddy fields with cultivation is narrowed. Previously, an 54

an average area of 2-3 sao (1,000 – 1,500m2)/ household. - An average rice yield of 6 tons/hectare. - Land for cash crops: sugarcane, coffee, and cassava. - Stable income.

area of 9 hectares was used for wet rice cultivation but now only 2 hectares are for rice production. - Maintaining 02 rice crops per year - Current productivity only reaches 3 tons per hectare as rice fields are inundated. - People are using land of the hydropower plant for cultivation. This is very unstable because it may be flooded at any time.


Husbandry, especially pig raising was developed as there were enough land for vegetable planting. - Local people raised buffalos, cows, and poultry. - Stable income. Hired labor Previously, people mainly worked in agriculture so they did not find extra jobs.

- Inundated land is not suitable to plant vegetables. People do not dare to invest in husbandry due to unusual flooding. During the flood in 2013, water level suddenly rose, people carried pigs on their shoulders. Accordingly, pig raising has been reduced. - Raising poultry and livestock has not been developed due to lack of grazing land and food. Local people are mainly farmers; however they do not have land for production. Many of them lose their income and become unemployed. They have to work as hired laborers. Hired labor is the main livelihood activity (90 out of 92 households have members work as hired laborers), even some households have all members work as hired laborers. Young people often migrate to Ho Chi Minh City to find jobs while married people often work in neighboring communes. A Den and A Sap villages, Hong Thuong commune Farming Local people - In the resettlement area, due to dry seemed not to land, rocky terrain, and lack of worry about land irrigation system, people find a lot of 55

issues as they had enough fertile land for rice planting and cash crops (cassava, corn, bean, banana, etc.).


difficulties in agriculture development. Only 15 out of 24 hectares of paddy land have been abandoned as these areas have not been improved. - Farmers only carry out two rice crops per year, but rice yields are very low. - Each household is allocated with an area of 5,000m2 for gardening. This land is featured with mainly rocky soil and landmine /UXO so local people do not dare to improve it. They plant acacia, beans, corn, and cassava for their income. Acacia trees have not been harvested so far. - Most households do not have enough land for cultivation. - Both male and female involve in farming activities but women mainly carry out the planting and caring steps - Cattles were - Raising cattle and buffaloes is grazed. limited because there is no grassland. - Pigs and chickens Raising pigs is not developed as local were also raised in people lack food sources and most households. investment capitals. - Some households raise pigs with the support of traders who cover expenses of breeding and food in advance. Local people pay them all expenses after selling pigs. Such cooperation does not work effectively, even some households suffer from losses. - Local people do not raise ducks and chickens in a large scale. Raising livestock is undertaken by mainly women. - Local people carry out small-scale fishing activities to meet their domestic needs. 56

Collecting NTFPs

Hired labor

Collecting NTFPs was a traditional activity of local people in Hong Thuong commune. Previously, local people, mainly men, worked as hired laborers in their free time.

In the resettlement area, local people have to take a long way to the forest for collecting NTFPs.

At present, most of local people have to work as hired laborers. This work becomes popular at the locality.

Impacts on household reproduction The survey results show that the construction of A Luoi hydropower plant changes production activities of local people and affect their reproduction, health care, education, and food security. Health care In the resettlement village of A Sap and A Den, the hydropower company has already built a community health clinic that has not been put into use effectively so local people have travelled to another faraway place for medical treatment. Local people argued that children and the elderly could not access the community health clinic due to its inconvenient location and their economic difficulties. The number of people hereby suffering from diseases is increasing: the elderly and children suffer from malaria, diarrhea, and skin diseases while women suffer from gynecological diseases. Housing quality in the resettlement area has been in poor condition, negatively affecting women’s and children’s health. Women even could not sleep during heavily rainy days as they were busy with preventing roof leaks. In addition, local people also complained that the hydropower company has been very irresponsible for not keeping its commitments with local people and thus discouraging them. A female local person from A Sap village shared: “Upon receiving my house, I found its kitchen and toilet broken and unusable. I informed and requested the hydropower company to repair. The company estimated the repair cost of VND 6 million. I with representatives of six other households signed in the confirmation document (there were seven households in the village sharing the same situation). Upon signing, we waited for a long time and did not receive any support from the company. We had to get loans to repair our houses. Until now, we have not received any payment from the company for the repair cost”. 57

Kinh households in the resettlement villages have not been provided with free health insurance cards so they have confronted many difficulties in medical treatment. According to Law on Health Insurance: "Only poor people and ethnic minority people (EM), living in areas with difficult or extremely difficult socio-economic conditions, are 100% funded by the State to get health insurance. Kinh people who are not from poor households, shall not be covered by the State for health insurance". A district policy officer stated: "In Phase 3 of the Program 135 framework (2012-2015), Can Tom village was classified as extremely difficult and all people in this village including Kinh people, were provided with free health insurance cards. Since the Can Tom resettlement village was separated into A Den and A Sap villages in July 2014, these villages have not been specified in the official document. Therefore, according to the Decision No. 14/2012/QD-TTg, only ethnic minority people are granted free health insurance cards while the Kinh people in these villages are not�. Local people argued that this regulation is inappropriate when the State makes differences in issuing health insurance cards to ethnic groups living in the same area as all of them are subject to be relocated, equally affected by resettlement, and need same supports. Kinh households as well as ethnic minority households in the village should receive free medical treatment. In Quang Ngan village where most Kinh people live, there have been still a lot of difficulties in health service accessibility. Local people disagreed with the state regulation that requires compulsory health insurance for all members of a family. This seems to be irrelevant to the hydropower company; however, such regulation puts more burden to local people. Health insurance for all family members is a really big amount to many households when their living has been still in difficulty with their decreased income and lack of cultivation land. Limited access to health services makes local people’s lives more difficult. In fact, according to the Official Letter No. 777/BHXH-BT dated March 12, 20154, compulsory household-based health


The Official Letter No. 777/BHXH-BT guiding health insurance premiums issued by Vietnamese Social Insurance on 12 March 2015: "For households participating in health insurance as stipulated in Clause 5, Article 1, the Circular 41/2014/TTLT-BYTBTC that have a member who already pay 100% of the premium by himself/herself, if he/she continues to register health insurance after 1 January 2015, health insurance premiums will be applied for himself/herself or household-based. The remaining members in the household do not participate in health insurance have to register household-based health insurance when participating in any health insurance plan. From 01 January 2016 onwards, all persons named in household


insurance has been officially valid by January 1, 2016. Currently, local people have been encouraged to voluntarily get health insurance. The irresponsibility of the insurance officer and limited awareness of local people led to local grievances and difficulties. Furthermore, local people in Quang Ngan village reported that the number of people in the village suffering from urolithiasis has been on the rise (more than 10 cases have been reported). Local people have been frightened when the disease causes have not been identified. This is again not necessarily related to the hydropower company; however such disease may push local people in a more difficult situation when their access to medical service has been still limited. Education and employment issues Education and employment issues need to be addressed in the locality. The hydropower company has built three new schools in the resettlement community including kindergarten, primary school, and secondary school; however the number of children attending school has been still modest. Due to reduced household income, lack of production land, and lack of jobs, many parents registered their children to study at vocational training schools. In addition, the number of young people migrating to the south for employment opportunities has been increasing; however many parents admitted that they have not known about their children’s lives and work in big cities. Finding jobs in faraway places may be one of the best solutions for the young and their parents at this moment when their living have been still difficult and they could not get any suitable job at the locality. Food security issues Residents in the resettlement villages said that in the past, when they lacked rice, they often collected NTFPs and ate cassava, vegetables, corn, and beans. At present, food shortage is very common among most households. 80% of households lack rice because their rice production is only enough for domestic consumption within one or two months. Land for cassava and cash crops is limited and NTFP activities in faraway places take people a lot of time that push them always in food shortage situation all year round. Similarly, in Quang Ngan village, rice cultivation land has been narrowed. Seven out of nine hectares of rice fields are inundated so food shortage usually occurs. About 50-60% of households with food shortage have to buy registration book or temporary residence book must register household-based health insurance".


foods. Lack of food has forced people to get loans to support their lives. This means that more debts put more pressure on women as they are primarily responsible for taking care of their family meals. Impacts on community activities According to local people’s evaluation, living conditions in the resettlement area are more modern than in the old one. Almost every house has a TV, a motorbike, and a mobile phone and roads are more spacious; however, people feel isolated and separated from the society when living so far away from schools, market, and the district center and without medical station. Local people access information mainly through TV. Due to living far away from the market (more than 13km), all trading activities become difficult, mainly through intermediaries. Traditional customs of the localities are gradually faded and traditional festivals are not organized due to lack of funding. In Quang Ngan village, the hydropower dam development has almost caused no impact on community activities as local people have not been displaced. Village meetings are held every quarter and extra meetings are conducted in some unexpected situations. Community activities such as road cleaning, holiday celebration on International Women's Day (March 8) or the Vietnamese Women's Day (October 20) are well organized and women participate in some activities. In Quang Ngan village, women are equal to men in community activities, and women's opinions are respected as men’s. Due to difficult living conditions, the number of men working far away is increasing so mainly women, the elderly, and children remain staying at the locality. The absence of men in the locality partly affects organization of community activities. Impact on access to and use of land resources by households Agricultural land and forests are the most important assets for farmers. The construction of the hydropower plant has affected local land. In the resettlement area, land is in a poor condition, mainly with stones and mines. Although people keep improving land conditions to grow 02 rice crops per year, rice productivity is very low and only enough to feed their family within 1-2 months. They have to buy more rice or eat cassava in the remaining time of the year. Leaders of A Luoi hydropower plant as well as local authorities have made efforts in finding solutions to local people’s difficulties. However, solutions proposed by the hydropower plant are only temporary and do not provide sustainable livelihoods to the community. For farmers, land is always the most valuable asset and the most important resource to ensure sustainable 60

household livelihoods. Land is not only the production material but also a determinant to the socio-economic status of households. Limited access to land or lack of cultivation land make farmers confront more challenges. Lack of agricultural land and reduced agricultural productivity have resulted in lack of jobs, food insecurity, and reduced income generation in the locality. Difficult living conditions affect all members in every family. Women and men with different roles and responsibilities are subject to different impacts. As the pillar of the family, men try different ways to increase their income when they do not have land for production. Hired labor is increasingly popular in the two communities. Some people even illegally exploit woods or collect scrap metals for income. When men work far away, family burdens are put on women’s shoulder. Women take the role of taking care of their family and ensuring food security for all members so they become more stressed and vulnerable when the food shortage occurs (see Table 3.2). Table 3.2: Gendered impacts of lacked production land and reduced income Lack of production land

Specific impacts


Male - Lack of jobs; - Anxiety ; - Dissatisfaction ; - Distrust.

- Working in neighboring areas; - Labor migration to the southern provinces for employment; - Poor land improvement for cultivation; - Illegal logging; - Return to the former areas for production activities. 61

Female - Lack of jobs; - Anxiety about food issues for family; - Pressure of child care when working in faraway places; - Debts; - Anxiety about nutrition and health of family members. - Finding more jobs, starting up small stores, or staying at home to look for children during the husband’s absence time for work; - Poor land improvement for cultivation; - Seeking foods such as vegetables and mushrooms in forest; - Borrowing money to get more food for family.

Reduced income

Specific impacts

- Depression; - Increased debts.


- Parents let children give up their study and work as hired laborers; - Looking for more jobs.

- Being extremely anxious about the unemployment; - Risk of domestic violence; - Struggling to feed their family; - Fear of children getting spoiled. - Cutting down their own expenditure and family expenses; - Buying food with later payment.

Resettlement also affects access to forest resources, especially to ethnic minority communities. Formerly, people often went to forests to gather NTFPs easily: men collected rattan, honey, firewood and hunted animals for food and for sale while women collected bamboo leaves, mushrooms, bamboo shoots, and vegetables for their daily meals. Currently people have to travel a long way, spend more time, and take more risks for gathering NTFPs but a few products are collected. Local people have to find solutions to their problems in the situation of extreme lack of arable land. Improving poor land for cultivation is given priority; however, this work is heavily dependent on available household resources. For well-off households, process of land improvement is faster and more effective. In contrast, for poor households, single-person households, and female headed households, land improvement is more difficult or even impossible. A forty-year-old woman in A Sap village shared: "My husband died, leaving me with my two small children. I did not have any land slot as well as resources for improving the allocated stone-filled area. Thus, I gave up farming, started up trading, and worked as hired laborer to get money for child support�. The hydropower company have financially supported local people in the process of land improvement with a budget of VND 9 million per hectare. With this support, some households started improving their land. This work has not been effective despite of huge efforts and time spent on. Some households spent a couple of months to improve a 35 - 50m2 area. Local people stated that the support budget of 9 million per hectare is too low compared to their efforts so they gave up. In fact, the hydropower plant and local authorities made attempts in finding good areas for resettlement. A Luoi was formerly a revolutionary base so many forests in A Luoi were 62

dispersed with Agent Orange during the war. As a result, this area is mostly covered with bare land and hills and contains a very small portion of flat and arable land. Arable land is a big problem for the hydropower plant, local authorities, and local people as well. Impact on access to capital resources Access to formal loans in the two surveyed communities has been still challenging. There are two sources of funding that people can access: Social Policy Bank grants loans through Farmer’s Union or Women's Union with preferential interest rates and without mortgage. However, in the two studied sites, there were differences in access to this fund as follows: + For the resettlement villages of A Den and A Sap: Currently, people have not accessed this loan source so they have confronted many difficulties in production investment. The reason is that the operation of administration agencies in the two villages of A Den and A Sap was delayed due to their new establishment (July 2014). According to the Circular No. 04 of the Ministry of Home Affairs5, a new village is only established when having enough 100 new households. Three villages were moved to the resettlement site (two villages in Hong Thai commune and one in Hong Thuong commune); however local people want to live in their old villages and do not agree with the village affiliation. Due to conflicts between the application of governmental documents and local people’s expectations, the local authorities took a long time to convince local people in accepting the village division into A Den village and A Sap village. The delay of village establishment and the failure to establish local agencies have negatively affected the resettlement villagers’ access to preferential loans. + For the Quang Ngan community: People have accessed preferential loans of the policy bank at the interest rate of 0.65-0.8% per annum. Each household can borrow up to VND 30 million for every three years. In the village, 44 households have get loans for production investment. Loans from commercial banks are also the official loan source by the State. However, access to loans from these banks requires households to perform mortgage. Certainly, households in A Den and A Sap villages have not accessed this source because they have not been granted with land use right certificates. As they have not get such loans, they have been forced to 5

The Circular No. 04/2012/TT-BNV dated August 31, 2012 regulates that a new rural area in a mountainous area, a bordering area, or an island should have 100 households and over for its establishment (Article 7).


borrow loans at high interest rates (20-30% per annum) when needed (in case of sickness, illness, and wedding). According to the Land Law of 2003 and 2013, a land use right certificate (LURC) of a household must contain full information of both husband and wife, unless the spouse agrees to name only one person. This is an important step towards gender equity in access to land in Vietnam. However, in the reality, whether the name in the LURC shows women’s equality or not has been still questionable. According to the survey results in Quang Ngan village, Son Thuy commune, people said that most of the households have the names of the couple in the LURC but men make decisions related to land issues. Mortgage contracts and transaction applications are often named and signed by males. Wife and husband often discuss and make decisions to get loans but the final decision is made by the householder whose name is in the loan contract. In the two surveyed areas, women holding the household head in their family have been still limited. Through group discussion of Kinh men in Quang Ngan village, people said that "men are the pillar of the family so they will be the household head. Women become the household head when they divorce or their husband dies”. Similarly, Ta Oi group in A Den and A Sap villages said that "men normally are the household head. Women are the household head when husbands live in wife’s houses or move from another area”. Despite of the government's efforts in gender equality, social prejudices still remain, causing difficulties for women in making decisions. Impacts on natural environment and gender Soil environment In the formerly Can Tom resettlement area - currently A Den and A Sap villages, Hong Thuong commune, apart from the poor land quality, this area has been also contaminated with dioxin, causing difficulties to the farmers in farming and animal husbandry. This phenomenon affected both men and women psychologically as they fell depressed and lacked enthusiasm in farming. Especially for women, they have been more depressed because of anxiety about family economic conditions. Quang Ngan village of Son Thuy commune is often flooded by the rising water level whenever the hydropower plant closes the dam gate. This leads to the interruption of farming activities, causing men’s and women’s depression and making their lives difficult.


Consequences of land shortage, polluted land, and floods are that young people leave their homeland to find jobs in another places. Most of them work for garment companies located in Ho Chi Minh City. In addition, the number of people working as hired laborers in these villages is also increasing. This is a temporary job so both men and women are always in anxiety and depression. Water environment In A Den and A Sap villages, Hong Thuong commune, since people started settling here, water had a bad smell, different colors, and high exposure to aluminum but many people used for three consecutive years. People said that water in the well was formerly fresh and clear but after a short time, water turned red and smelled badly. Many households did not dare to use so they got water from the A Sap River. Water quality of A Sap River is very poor and polluted by production activities and waste from upstream communes (A Roang, Huong Lam, Dong Son, and A Dot). Due to water shortage, many households used water from ditches on the road to brush teeth and wash faces. In addition, irrigation system did not provide enough water in the dry season as water infiltrates quickly into sandy land. Water shortage causes the increasing incidence of gynecological diseases for women and negative psychological impacts on both men and women so that they want to leave the resettlement sites to live and work in their old places. This also leads to illegal deforestation. Local people understood that this action was illegal but they keep doing for their living when most of land in Can Tom has been not used for rice planting and forest land has been already used for acacia planting. From the beginning of 2015, this place has been equipped with clean water system, making people feel more reassured. For Quang Ngan village, Hong Thai commune, this area is semi-flooded so the dug wells are submerged. Well water becomes muddy, has a bad odor, and high exposure to aluminum. Men seem not to realize current direct impacts but they have long-term concerns. For women, gynecological diseases also become popular. Pollution of domestic well water dramatically increases skin disease among children. From September 2015, the village started installing a water system so people feel safe. Thua Thien Hue Water Supply Joint Stock Company (Huewaco) was also in charge of installing the main pipelines of the water system; however, all material costs were covered by local peoples. This added more difficulties to many households.


Air environment For the Can Tom resettlement area of Hong Thuong Commune, some people think that this resettlement area has a new scenery and fresh air. However, due to low vegetation cover, this area has a lot of wind, especially Lao wind, being not favorable for local people’s health and indirectly causing many diseases such as headache and runny nose to women, children, and the elderly. In the semi-flooded area of Quang Ngan village, Son Thuy commune, animal mortality and other solid wastes flowing along the reservoir cause a bad smell, especially in the summer time. This bad odor affects the health of the whole community, especially for children and women easily susceptible to respiratory infections. Geological environment In the flood season, water volume of the A Luoi hydropower reservoir is up to million cubic meters of water (24.4 million cubic meters of net capacity, 60.2 million cubic meters of total capacity). This is a hidden risk threatening to dam break and these huge water bags will affect local geology. According to local people in the studied areas, since the establishment of the hydropower plant, earthquake occurs frequently. Whenever earthquake happens, it shakes houses within a few minutes. It often appears at midnight or early morning. In the recent two years, earthquakes occurred about 9 times, of which two times had the vibration up to 4.3 Richter, making houses and equipment sharply shaken.

NEEDS BY GENDER In the current context, with negative impacts by the A Luoi hydropower project, local people have generally encountered many difficulties. In order to bring about a stable life for people affected by the A Luoi hydropower plant, from a gender perspective, they have eagerly put forward immediate and long-term urgent needs for investors of the hydropower project as well as local authorities to take timely solutions and create a peaceful living environment for all. Gender-specific information was collected in a gender-segregated manner. Male and female have their own needs that match their gender roles in the household and in community. Women's needs are often more diverse, specific, and related to everyday life than men’s needs. However, both men and women share the same need: a desire for cultivation land, water for irrigation and fishery, compensation for resettlement, and stable jobs. The shared need among women is towards greater gender equality in domestic 66

and community life - a simple but difficult desire in rural low-education areas. Immediate and long-term needs by female For Quang Ngan village of Son Thuy commune, women’s needs include: - The hydropower company should pay compensation for price difference and for families early displaced (VND 3-10 million). - Companies and factories should be established to offer more jobs for young people. - Six households living near the river bank want to be reallocated as they are afraid of flood. - The company has to timely control water volume in the reservoir to prevent floods. - Graduates should be given jobs (10 people). - Local people are supported with cow breeds. - Training on gender equality, especially domestic violence should be conducted for men to enhance their sympathy towards women. - Training on reproductive health is necessary for women. For A Den and A Sap villages of Hong Thuong commune, women’s basic needs include: - Employment is really important for local people. Unemployed men tend to drink wine, chat with friends, and wander all days, resulting in debts burdening on women. Unemployed women have to work as hired laborers in faraway places, affecting their family and children. - Preferential capitals should be allocated to people to raise livestock (buffaloes, cows, and goats). - It is necessary to build a bridge on the Kieng stream. Local people currently walk through the stream. This is especially dangerous in the rainy season as water level rises very fast. - Women need bicycles to take their children to school conveniently. - A small market located at the crossroad is necessarily built for local people to buy and sell goods. - Women need capitals to increase their production. - Women’s heath need to be checked regularly. 67

- Women want to share housework with their husband (if wife attends a training, husband prepares meals, cleans up house, and washes clothes‌). Training on gender equality should be carried out. - Women want to be listened by others and raise their voice. - Women want to be invited to meetings. - They want to be elected to executive boards or key positions. - Updating market information is necessary for women doing business. - Community house should be equipped with tables and chairs. Men’s needs For A Den and A Sap villages of Hong Thuong commune, men’s basic needs include: - They need land for production so leveling areas that were used to be bomb pits is of importance. - Crop shift needs to be implemented (more than half of local people do not have land for rice fields and suffer from water shortage). - New roads and bridges need to be constructed to make local transportation more convenient in the rainy season. - Members of Elderly Union need to get loans for business. - Young people with university or college degrees need employment. - Local people need water for their farming. Some households without farming land need to be given more support. An irrigation system is needed to support local fishery and provide water for local farming. - Downgraded houses need to be checked for timely improvement. - A traditional house should be rebuilt. - Roads in poor conditions need to be rebuilt. - A cemetery area needs to be established at the locality. - Five households living near to the riverside should be relocated. - A football field is a need. - Traditional festivals should be organized every three years.


- Farmers need financial support for their own production (seeds, fertilizers, labors, and devices…). The state may supervise and monitor local people’s production activities rather than impose on farmers what need to be planted or raised. - Roads and houses must be solidly built for long-term use. - Vocational training classes need to be conducted. - Local people’s voice should be listened to by the authorities. - A fish pond should be built near to the Kieng stream (15 hectares) as this stream is not flooded. For Quang Ngan village of Son Thuy commune, men’s basic needs are specific as follows: - The hydropower company should control water level of the reservoir, especially in the flood season to ensure safety for all people. - The local authority and the hydropower company may work with enterprises to offer job opportunities for local people to ensure long-term and stable incomes. - Compensation for local people should be addressed soon. - It is necessary to balance benefits between the hydropower company and the affected communities. - Compensation policies must be fair, public, and transparent (the Decision No. 928 is contradictory with the Decision 11 and Decision 15). - Local people should be supported with preferential loans for production activities, economic development, and income increase. - Kindergarten education must be free for children under 5 years old. - Health insurance should be voluntary rather than compulsory (VND 621,000 /person/year).

CONCLUDING REMARKS Establishment of hydroelectric dams in general and the A Luoi hydropower dam in particular has clearly negative impacts on environmental, economic, and social activities of the affected communities. In terms of gender impacts, both women and men are affected in production, reproduction, and community activities. Women are the vulnerable group in society as their bodies are different from men’s. In addition, in some poor rural areas, women’s role in family and society has not been fully respected. Gender 69

discrimination still remains. Women are disadvantaged and subject to more negative impacts compared to men. Gender impacts by the A Luoi hydropower are not exceptional. In the A Den and A Sap villages of Hong Thuong commune and the Quang Ngan village of Son Thuy commune, A Luoi District, women are strongly affected due to unstable livelihoods, polluted environment, and incomplete infrastructure caused by the A Luoi hydropower. Although the A Luoi hydropower project initiated a strong effort for the compensation process in the affected area, there was not enough concern given to gender issues and gender sensitivity during the planning and implementation process. The compensation and facilities building only followed the suggestions of the local government, A Luoi People’s Committee and related institutions; while the gender need assessment and aspiration was ignored. There was no clear picture of local participation, especially with women in the project process such as in the planning, implementation and monitoring aspects. In the pre-compensation meeting, only the household-head, which is normally a man, was invited to the meeting. Women did not have the opportunity to raise their voice, their interest in the issues and their needs. Additionally, there was no open dialogue in which both men and women could participate and openly discuss their issues. Mostly the facilities construction in the residential area was not solved in regards to practical gender needs and strategic gender needs. For example, while the gas oven was provided by the dam company, the majority of households just used firewood for cooking because they do not have money to buy gas. The bathroom design and construction was built far from the house. Because of this distance, the women do not use it frequently because of safety reasons. The majority of women would like to have a bathroom inside the house. Additionally, because of the far distance of the residential area from the market, the elder women and young girls had difficulties reaching there to sell and buy products. Women and children were effected physically and mentally by the low quality of water in their residential area. The house was provided to the community in 2012, while the fresh water just was provided in the beginning of 2015. Due to the low-quality water during this long period of time, some health issue problems such as malaria, gynecological disease, diarrhea and skin disease was found in the area. The local community mentioned that some of their health issues were caused by the consumption of dirty water over a long period. The poor construction of the house’s roof caused leaking problems in the rainy season. As a result women had to stay up in the night to clean the floor in order to secure their 70

children from the wet floor. Women are really worried about their children’s health in this situation. There are differences in the financial management role in different selected community and ethnic groups. In the Kinh ethnic group in Quang Ngan village, Son Thuy commune, women play an important role in financial management; whereas, men are in charge of the family financial management and decision-making tasks in the Co Tu ethnic group in A Den and A Sap village, Hong Thuong commune. Some of the Co Tu women reflected that they were not aware of how much money they were compensated with from the dam company because their husband participated in the meeting and received the money. Some of the men used that money for family needs, while others used the money for their drinking habits. The unsuccessful outcomes of some livelihood promotion programs and vocational training activities have been causing new gender related issues. Firstly, in the new resettled area, due to a lack of job opportunities and cultivation land, the men have to go to the forest for illegal tree cutting. Some of them turned from a good husband to a drinking and gambling man because of joblessness. They lost their confidence in their society when they could not support their family financially. If there is no solution for this issue, more social problems and domestic violence could occur. Additionally, more women depend heavily on their husbands for financial reasons. The hard work such as manual labor, hunting and illegal cutting can only be carried out by men. Because of joblessness, the young female and males have to move to southern cities to work. In this new location, they have insufficient knowledge about gender and sexuality related experiences. Equal job opportunities for both men and women and a suitable benefit sharing mechanism is needed as an important tool for sustainable livelihood strategies in a gender equity environment. The A Luoi People’s Committee needs to consider the land sources for a better land compensation for the local community. When local people have enough cultivation land, the illegal forest tree cutting will be solved. The vocational training should be conducted in the village for improved participation of local people in the community because older people do not have the transport to access the training facility in the district or city. Traditional handicraft activities should be promoted for the development of job opportunities for the older people including both men and women. It is necessary to consider the needs of the affected community. Central Hydropower Joint Stock Company (EVN CHP) needs to allocate the compensation budget for the essential needs of the affected community. If they accomplish this, their company image will be improved and the local 71

community will not complain, so that the company can concentrate on its commercial activity. For example, a bicycle should be provided to families with children in school, financial support should be given for families with children in kindergarten and so on. Additionally, the local government should provide law and life skill training for the younger generation, especially the ones who are going to move to the city for work. This would be a suitable solution for practical gender needs for the local community. In order to support the practical gender needs for gender equity purposes in the affected community, gender preconceptions should be removed from the social norms. New gender ideologies need to be built in the society system and women should be equal in leadership roles in the community. In the affected community, women do not play an active role in gender relations with their husband. They do not have rights for decisions of the number of children they want to have and they are also often a victim of domestic violence. Thus, there is a need for a variety of training for men in gender equity, domestic violence, family planning and public reproductive health. Additionally, in general training programmes the number of male and female participants should be equal. Lastly, the empowerment of women should be considered in community leadership roles using the double quota system. With this system, women will have more opportunity to participate in community activities.

REFERENCES National Assembly of Vietnam. 2006. Law on gender equality No. 76/2006/QH11 dated 29 November 2006. Simon, Micheal. 2013. Balancing the scales: Using gender impact assessment in hydropower development. Oxfam Australia. Simpson, Virginia and Micheal Simon. 2013. Gender and hydropower: National Policy Assessment – Vietnam. Oxfam Vietnam.


CHAPTER 4 GENDER BALANCED? IMPACT ASSESSMENT OF HYDROPOWER PROJECTS ON THE SREPÓK RIVER Nguyen Quy Hanh, Phan Thi Ngoc Thuy, Nguyen Thi Xuan Quynh, Hoang Thi Hoai Tam, and Phan Thang Long

THE SREPÓK RIVER, BUON DON DISTRICT AND HYDROPOWER CONSTRUCTIONS The Srépok river stretches over 406 km and 126km of its runs through the Vietnamese territory. Presently, there have been 10 hydropower plants in the Srépok river with a total capacity of 870 MW, including Dray H'linh 0,1,2,3, Srépok 3,4, 4A, Buon Kuop, Buon Tua Srah, and Drang Phok (environmental impact assessment is on completion progress) (Figure 4.1). These plants have been causing water blockage making more than 20 km of the Srépok River running through Buon Don dried (Trung Duong 2016). Facing that massive development of hydropower, a disaster warning was made: "At present, we allow the hydropower plants to be built massively but forget to make them responsible for watershed management for them. Due to the total disappearance of the forests around the rivers, water will pour directly into the rivers if there is a big flood. That is extremely dangerous, which not only impact the constructions but also the human lives in the area. I’m afraid that we will suffer the disasters from hydropower if this problem keeps going on.” (Cao Nguyen 2012) The research location is the communities under the impact of hydropower plants on the Srépok river in the district of Buon Don of Dak Lak Province. Buon Don is the frontier district which was established in October 1995 in accordance with the Decision 61/CP of the Government. The district has a 46.7km length of border with a total area more than 141,000 hectares. The 73

area was one of the important trading points amongst the 3 Indochina countries in the past. Buon Don is the new name taken when the district was newly formed; before it was Ban Don, which means “island village” in Laos (the majority of people Figure 4.1: Cascade hydropower on the who lived here initially), Srépok featuring a village built on an oasis of the mighty Srépok, the river ranks second of the biggest ones of the great Central Highlands. Buon Don lies in the downstream area of the Srépok (which crosses over the district in the direction of Eastern South - Western North, flowing to the Cambodia to join into the Mekong river), which has a huge surface water volume but the water is unevenly allocated and the network of water bodies is intensive. It takes the tropical monsoon weather with separate seasons, featuring a very typical weather of central highland area of the Southern Central Vietnam. Source: Le Thanh Ha (2016) Buon Don is rich in natural resources, especially forest ecology system. This land also has many ethnic minorities such as Ede, M'nong, who have settled down here for a long time. Each ethnic group not only has a unique cultural identity creating a rich cultural diversity but also bear common characteristics of the Central Highlands culture. Before 1975, the southern area of the district with the new state economic policy and the attractiveness of the new land, had fascinated the migation of the Kinh from the Central and Northern plains to the area. They then have woven their living with the other existing ethnic groups. By the 80s of the previous century, a large wave of migration of the ethnic minorities in the northern mountainous areas such as Tay, Nung or Dao ran into to the Central 74

Highlands to look for the new places to live, of which Buon Don was also a potential destination. Economically, the district faces some of challenges. The economic structure leans strongly on the agricultural sector; commodity production has not yet effectively developed and agricultural products have been frequently impacted by the fluctuation of the market. The focus of this assessment research is onto the communities impacted by the 3 hydropower plants on the Srépok river, including Srépok 3, 4 and 4A. Srepók 3 Hydropower The Srepók 3 hydropower plant with the capacity of 220 MW was approved to be constructed in accordance with the Prime Minister at Decision No. 1225/TTg-CN dated 25/8/2005, the investment agreement No. 1065/CVUBND dated 18/05/2004 by the People's Committee of Dak Lak Province, the Viet Nam Electricity corporation at Decision No. 565/2005/QD-EVNHDQT dated 07/10/2005. With a total investment of more than 4.6 trillion dong, when in place, the second largest hydropower construction (after the 280 MW Buon Kuop Hydropower Plant) on the Srépok hydropower ladder system supplies the national grid more than 1 billion Kwh each year. The highlights of the construction progress of Srepók 3 hydropower plant is as follows: ground-breaking on 24/12/2005; the Unit No.1 connected to the national grid on 25/6/2010; the Unit No.2 connected to the national grid on 24/9/2010. Buon Kuop Hydropower Company (EVNHPC BUON KUOP) was established pursuant to the Decision No. 304/QD-EVN dated 9/6/2009 by the Electricity of Vietnam (EVN), which is responsible for organizing and managing the operation of The hydropower plants on the Srépok river in Dak Lak and Dak Nong provinces, including Buon Tua Srah hydropower plant (2x43MW), Buon Kuop hydropower plant (2 × 140MW) and Srépok 3 hydropower plant (2 × 110MW) with an annual average production capacity is about 2.66 billion kWh. Buon Kuop Hydropower Company became a subsidiary of Electricity Generating Corporation No. 3 according to Decision No. 3025/QD-BCT, dated 01/06/2012 by the Ministry of Industry and Trade. There are two resettlement sites built by the Srépok 3 hydropower plant in Dak Nong and Dak Lak provinces. The resettlement village in Ea Po commune, Cu Jut District include 70 resettled households from the Srépok 3 project. Since 2007, the enumeration and land grab had been carried out. From 2009 to 2010, the resettlement work were deployed. However, as few as 7 households were built and resettled and presently 20 households were granted with land ownership certificates. At the resettlement area, the infrastructure consisting community house, schools, electricity and water 75

system were well and fully installed. In the reality, the people received land but then move to the other area for livelihood development. The area were selected using the “spotting” technique in the maps, which is hollow and unfavorable for cultivation. The communal authority and people did not participate into the designing and planning of the resettlement area. The compensation price were conducted following the state policies. As the results, the built constructions have been abandoned and seriously degraded (see further Ngan Sau 2013). Regarding the resettlement area in Ea Noul and Tan Hoa Communes, Buon Don District, Dak Lak Province, the Dak Lak Provincial People's Committee issued Official Letter No. 566/UBND-NLN dated 06/3/2006 and Official Letter No. 3636/UBND-NLN dated 30/01/2006 on the agreement on the compensation, resettlement assistance and detailed planning of the resettlement of residents affected by the Srépok hydropower 3. The compensation, support for site clearance and resettlement and settled agriculture of Buon Don district, Dak Lak province were basically completed. There has been 1,180 hectares of land approved for the site clearance compensation. In which, 834 hectares is the affected lake area. The remaining areas are auxiliary buildings, transportation infrastructure, power lines and transformer stations, resettlement and resettled agriculture. 44 households have been resettled, of which, 18 households are resettled onsite, 26 households located to the resettlement site, and 60 households resettled agriculturally. Srépok 4 Hydropower With the approval by the Ministry of Industry (the Ministry of Industry and Trade today) and the Electricity of Vietnam, Dai Hai Electricity Investment and Development Joint Stock Company completed the investment project to submit to the Ministry of Industry for the ratification of the fundamental design in 11/2006. On 13/4/2007, the People's Committee of Dak Lak province granted the investment license for Dai Hai Electricity Investment and Development Joint Stock Company to implement the construction of the Srépok 4 Hydropower Plant. In 5/2007, the company established the Management Unit, headquartered in Buon Me Thuot city, to manage this investment project. The Srépok 4 Hydropower Project is the final ladder on the Srépok river in accordance with the planning approved by the Ministry of Industry. It is located in Ea Wer and Tan Hoa Communes, Buon Don District, Dak Lak Province and Ea Po Commune, Cu Jut District in Dak Nong Province. With the designed function of regulating the flows in dry season for the downstream area on the Cambodia territory with a minimum flow capacity 76

of 133m3/sec; and generating and supplying power to the national grid, this project is considered highly difficult to invest because it affects the water flows to Cambodia. The area of land permanently occupied by the project is expected to be 556.72 hectares, of which that of Buon Don district is 447.87 hectares, Cu Jut district 108.85 hectares. Implementation progress: The project was officially kicked off in 02/2008 and completed in 11/2010. It has been put into operation since 2011. With a capacity of 80 MW (2 units of 40MW each). The total volume of the reservoir is 31 million m3, the surface area of the reservoir is about 375 hectares. The plant powers about 336 million kwh/year to the national grid since it has been in place. Srépok 4A Hydropower Srépok 4A Hydropower Plant was invested by Buon Don Hydropower Joint Stock Company with 2 units with a capacity of 64MW/year. The total investment budget is 1,876.739 billion, of which 335 billion is the company’s own capital, the rest is the loans from credit institutions. The investor directly manages the project implementation. The factory has been put into operation since 2014. Without damming the river, the Srépok 4A hydropower project dug a waterway of about 10km length from the back of the Srépok 4 hydropower plant and 3km discharge channel to bring water back to the Srépok river. When constructing the water distribution channel for electricity generation, the company also shaped the water discharge gate at the head of the canal with the approved flow speed is 8.23 m3/s. However, 20 km of the Srépok river stretching from the Srépok 4 plant to Buon Don hydrological station is still in shortage of water in dry season. Implementing the Decision No. 1201/QD-TTg of the Prime Minister on the operation process of interhydropower plants on the Srépok river, Buon Don Hydropower Joint Stock Company constructed more discharge sewers and ensures the water discharge speed at the head of the canal is 27m3/s (from August 15, 2015) when in operation (Dinh Thang 2015). The area of usable land is 400.3 hectares, locating across Ea Wer, Ea Huar and Krong Na communes of Buon Don district, Dak Lak province. Until 9/2015, the number of households need to be compensated and supported is 294, of which 292 households already received compensation in accordance with the total area of 209.48 ha which were grabbed, while 02 households have not received compensation, corresponding to the area of 4.48 ha.


The major research location includes Ea Noul and Krong Na communes. In Ea Nuol commune, the study was conducted at the resettlement site of Tan Phu village, including 44 households affected by SrĂŠpok 3 hydropower plant. Most of these households migrated from the North to this area in 1994 or 1995. Kinh people is the majority (Kinh 26, Tay 7, Nung 6, Cao Lan 1, Ngai 1, Ede 1, Lao 1, Muong 1). The community is patriarchal. At present, their cultivation fields are located in Tan Hoa village. In Krong Na commune, the study was conducted in two villages, Ea Mar and Tri A, which are under the matriarchal regime. Amongst them, M'Nong and E De are the majority, who are indigenous people living locally over generations. Ea Mar commune has a poor household rate of 46%, while this rate at Tri A is nearly 50%. The two villages locate 2km away from and in the downstream of SrĂŠpok 4 and 4A hydropower plants thus heavily impacted by the blasts during the construction process of these projects. Tri A village is famous for unspoiled and legendary ecotourism of Ban Don. This study is based on the application of the six tools proposed by Oxfam in "Balancing the scales: Using gender impact assessment in hydropower development" (Simon 2013). In addition to interviews and exchanges with leaders of the hydropower companies, district and commune people's committees as well as informal discussions with a number of villagers, the focus is on group discussions. Under optimal conditions, the 6 tools need to be deployed with the active participation of groups within 1 working day. In fact, the return of the people in the later discussion tends to decrease, not to mention the concentration of answers and the sharing of the issues that need detailed research often causing the loss of concentration and concern of the people since it is unfamiliar with their daily schedule. Therefore, our group discussions are adjusted to last for half a day plus a little more time in the afternoon. All collected data was quickly analyzed and presented to representatives of local authorities and people right at the end of the study trip. Thanks to this verification section, more information was added and amended. In total, five group discussions were conducted with 49 participants, including 30 women. In addition to one group discussion with representatives of district agencies, the remaining 4 were conducted with the villagers in the three villages: Tan Phu village (Ea Nuol commune) (2), Ea Mar village (1) and Tri A village (1) (Krong Na commune). Gender impact assessment (GIA) is recommended to be carried out at the very initial phase of hydropower project initiation although it can be done in every stages of the project circle. This GIA is conducted on the basis of comparing many projects and impacted areas with various socio-economic 78

characteristics and gender-related features. Furthermore, the assessment is deployed when the hydropower projects have operated for a long time and resettlement activities have been settled; therefore there is a need to look at detailed and practical recommendations and plans to come to serve for the benefits of the impacted communities in both short term and long term.

ANALYSIS ON COMMUNITY PROFILE, RESOURCE UTILISATION AND INSTITUTIONS Activity profile In terms of production activities, cultivation and livestock activities are the major activities in all the three researched villages. In Tan Phu, corn, cassava, beans, lemon grass, coffee, and pepper are the main plants. The recent rise is orange and mandarin, but planted in a limited number of households because there is no suitable technique in place. Pepper, which is difficult to cultivate and take care, is recently planted and intercropped with coffee. After land receipt, people had begun to grow wheat. Regarding the conditions of cultivation, before resettlement, for good land people can grow cashew, pepper, and sugarcane. Poor soils are mainly for short-term crops and people have to go further to cultivate. The male group claimed that women are more strenuous (60%) while women assumed a 50% -50% ratio of labor between males and females in farming. Meanwhile, in Krong Na, rice and vegetable crops have been cultivated for generations with a balanced role between males and females, however since most of the heavy jobs are done by males, the percentage can lean on the males at 60% (See also Table 4.1). Table 4.1. Analysis of labor division in cultivation of Krong Na villagers Activities - Rice cultivation: average 2,500m2/household

- Planting of corn, sesame, beans, wheat: average 1 hectare/household

Female Rice raking, reaping, weeding, fertilizing, milling, drying... [60%]. Weeding... [40%]

Male Plowing, pesticide spraying, carrying, embankment [40%] Soil reclamation, spraying‌ [60%]


Place 1km is the nearest, 20km is the farthest distance, moving by motorbike 5 km is the nearest, 50 km is the farthest.


Go to work from morning to evening, bring lunch

Regarding livestock activities, there is a major shift of breeding subjects in Tan Phu village: from cattle and pig raising to chicken raising because there is no available breeding space. Meanwhile, the people in Krong Na continue to stick to traditional raising models of pigs, poultry, buffalos and cows. Women play a key role in livestock activities, including grazing. A transform in the type of production structure in Tan Phu village after resettlement is some people become hired labor for another family. Women do weeding and men work as bricklayer’s assistant. At present, the number of people hired for labor increases much more than before. Previously, cashew, sugar cane were planted but they are no longer cultivated due to the shortage of land. Previously families had no debt but now 100% of households are in bank loans due to the increasing need of capital for livelihood investment. Both men and women do work but have different jobs and wages due to the nature and severity of their work. Meanwhile, other household economic activities in Krong Na are linked to the forest and water resources close to where they live, such as non-timber forest products (bamboo shoots, firewood, and herbs) and fishing. These activities are mainly undertaken by men, with the support of women (30%). Meanwhile, grocery sales, sales to tourists or cow dung collection for sale to coffee growers are undertaken by women (100%). "In the past, when the SrÊpok river was immensely full of water, people were fishing, and living normally. Now since the river water resource is disappearing, causing shallow water, people cannot do fishing or any other production activities. Previously, people can do 2 crops a year but now there is not enough water to do it". Regarding the reproductive activities, the division of labor between men and women in Tan Phu village as presented in Table 4.2, showing similar evaluation between the two separately surveyed groups that while women are still undertaking housework and family care, the role of the man in helping women is increasingly promoted, such as they even go to the market and cook for the whole family. Among the matrilineal families in Tri A village, Krong Na commune, the study finds that 95-100% of family care and housework are done by women. Child education is also women’s job because men do not have time. For matrilineal families who are indigenous people living with the Kinh such as families in Ea Mar village, Krong Na, these people comment that the labor division situation has been "improved". Previously, women did everything, even heavy works.


Table 4.2. Analysis of labor division in reproductive activities of Tan Phu villagers Reproductive activities (family care)

Taking care of children, elder people. Cooking for family (women 50%, men 50%); going to the market: women 70%, men 30%. It is more convenient for men to go the market, drop or pick up children for school because they can drive motorbike). Teaching children to study, women 50%, men 50%; whoever literate is in charge of teaching children. Family health care (if the disease is mild, the couple take care of the patient at home, in case serious illness the patient must be sent to the hospital 50% -50%). Cloth washing, water collection, house cleaning... (Water from dug wells cannot be used for drinking because of impacts by hydropower plants, but only for bathing. 2 cans of 30 litters of clean water cost VND 5,000; men go to pick them every 2 days, 1km away from home. Previously, people did not need to collect water because they had well available at home).

Female group Male group opinion opinion Female 80% 50%

Male Female Male 20% 90% 10% 50% 50% 50%









For social and community activities, in Tan Phu the tendency of equality between men and women in work assignment is relatively clear (see Table 4.3). While in Tri A Village, women participate mainly in meetings and training, as well as in community management activities. In this community, all financial decisions are made by women. In Ea Mar, women are always responsible for attending regular meetings, but at meetings related to land and compensation, men are more involved as both men and women 81

believe that men have better knowledge and understanding about this issue to handle. Table 4.3: Analysis of labor division in community activities in the three studied villages Community work

Tri A, Krong Na Female

Ea Mar, Krong Na


Meetings (village meetings)

80% (Men often go to work early, come back home late, and drunk so they tend not to attend meetings.



80% (planting, breeding knowledge for women) Cooking


4 people (leaders of youth union, women's

6 people

Spiritual or festival activities of the community

Community management board

Killing pigs, killing cattle




Tan Phu, Ea Nuol Female Male

70% (Women attend more, women think it is their responsib ility, tired but since her husband refuses to go, they have to go). 60%







Reason to attend is to support and cheer for men 50%.

Perfor mers 50%



union, and village health collaborates) Table 4.4 below summarizes the activity profile from the gender perspective with comparison among the studied areas. Table 4.4: Activity profiles of Tan Phu, Ea Mar and Tri A villages Activities Cultivation

Forest products


Tan Phu (Ea Noul) Previously with good land people could grow cashew, pepper, and sugarcane. Currently, only coffee, shortterm crops (rice, corn, cassava, beans, and citronella) can be grown and people must go to work more than 4-5km away from their house. New crops such as orange, tangerine, coffee, pepper have just been planted so can not be evaluated yet.

Ea Mar & Tri A (Krong Na) Planting rice (water, dry), corn, cassava, vegetables, sesame, beans (average hectare/household).

Non-timber forest products (bamboo shoots, firewood, herbs).

In the past, cattle Cattle, pigs and pigs could be chickens 83

Gender analysis - In Tan Phu: Men think that women are more strenuous (60%) while women think it is a 50-50 situation. - In Krong Na: The roles of men and women are balanced. However since heavy works are done by men, the proportion lean toward a little bit on men 60%.

In Krong Na: Men play a key role at 70-90%, women only support drying. Particularly, firewood is split by women 50-50. and - In Tan Phu: 80% women

raised. Currently it is only possible to raise chickens. Fishing Hired labor

Fishing serves food needs for the family Hired workers Working for rent increase (plucking corn, VND 100,000/day)

Trade Other jobs

Reproduction - Care for young children, the elderly, housework ... Community activities (village meeting, training ...); Take water.

Community activities

Grocery store for tourists Collect cow dung for sale to coffee growers. Average VND 35,000/35kg bag - Care for young children, the elderly, housework ... Community activities (village meeting, training ...)

- In Krong Na: women play a key role 90% In Krong Na: 70% men, 30% women Both men and women do but the works and salary are different. In Krong Na: 100% women In Krong Na: 100% women

- In Tan Phu: Most activities are done by women (80%). Housewives 50-50. Men are responsibility for take of the water accounting for 70%. - In Krong Na: 95100% of family care is done by women. Child education is also dominated by women in charge because men do not have time. Assign work Meetings, financial - In Tan Phu: 50 – when decisions 50 participating in - In Ea Mar, landfestivals. related and compensationrelated meetings were more attended by men, as both men and 84

women claimed that men were more aware of the problem. Financial decisions are discussed by the couple but the final decision is made by men. At Tri A, all financial activities are decided by women. Analysis of Resource Use and Control Comparison of profiles for resource use and control in the studied communities are briefed in Table 4.5. In Tan Phu village, land was reclaimed for cultivation. The resettlement program gave a household only a few perch (roughly 5.03m). The households then have to expand the land themselves, so averagely each has about 2 hectares of land. Some households do not have land because their former land belonged to the forest plantation, and received a compensation rate of VND 12 million per hectare. For decision making in the family, men and women usually have agreement on the decisions they make. Men directly carry out more production activities at 60%, while women 40%. For residential land, no ownership has been granted. The households who have been resettled from the area of the lake before the hydropower to this area since 2009. Each household was informed to receive an area of 400m2 of land, but since they have not yet obtained the land use right certificate, they are quite vague about whether they would have this amount of land provided or not. In Tan Phu village, for water sources, hydroelectric water is used for irrigation, mostly used more by men (70%) than women (30%). The people do not do fishing or aquaculture. There are wells that drilled by the hydropower company for the families, but the water cannot be used for drinking and cooking. Meanwhile, in Krong Na, the accessibility to land is equal between men and women, while women are tied more closely to water resources in their daily and production activities, including water collecting, washing, bathing, irrigating, vegetables picking along the river and so on (80% female, 20% male). In Tan Phu village, men and women use and control household assets equally. Incomes are primarily held and managed by women. When a new income comes, men and women discuss and agree on how to use the 85

budget together. For some major investments, men can have more say in the decision making. In Ea Mar, men usually keep the main fund of the family while women keep petty money just for daily expenses. In Tri A village, women, on the contrary, are the people who control all the household’s earnings and make decision on purchases or sales in the family. The family assets are used to serve fairly for all the family members but the decisions are made by women. Even the clothes of men are bought by their wife, basing on the belief that the wife knows their husband’s likeness and taste. The women in Tri A village, in group discussions, revealed that if the money or other resources are used for the benefits of the household’s wellbeing, it does not matter whether the decision maker is men or women (see Table 4.5). Table 4.5: Profile of resource use and control of Tan Phu, Ea Mar and Tri A villages Resources

Tan Phu (Ea Noul)

Ea Mar and Tri A (Krong Na)


- Production land used at 50-50 rate; - Land ownership titled to men accounting for 80%, women 20%.


Water from the reservoir is used for irrigation; 70% is used by men, 30% by women. Women and men have a 50-50 use of water for daily activities.

Family assets

Women and men equally use and control (50-50).

Incomes from economic activities

Women keep 70% of the incomes, men 30%. However, men basically decide the use of family budget, at 70%, while

- In Tri A: land use at 50-50 rate but controlled by women at 100%. - In Ea Mar: Men are householders and entitled to land ownership. - In Tri A: Water use is at 50-50 rate between men and women but women takes the control, at 100%. - In Ea Mar: Women use 80% as they are in charge of housework and family care. The control rate is 50-50 between men and women. - In Tri A: The use is 50-50 but women take control 100%. - In Ea Mar: Women and men share an equal use and control of family assets. - In Tri A: The use of income is divided 50-50 between men and women, but 100% women control the budget. - In Ea Mar: Mostly women


women at 30%.

keep the money. In some families, men keep the fund as their wife cannot manage the finance.

Institutional analysis Regarding capital access, according to the district management groups, the state bank operates its loans via the systems of village’s women unions or farmer associations (authorized by the village). The loan recipients have to be selected publicly by the villagers, then are endorsed by the communal leaders before receiving the loan from the bank. However, since the loan volume allocated for each village is limited, villagers tend to get the loans from the commercial bank. For families whose land was grabbed, they receive support in house displacement and capital for reproduction in line with state policies and regulations. According to the people of Tan Phu village, the Policy Bank is only for the poor households (VND 15 million per household, VND 130,000 of interest per month, and the interest rate from 0.6% to 0.9%). Presently, there are only 20 out of totally 150 households in the village and 3 out of totally 44 resettled households are the recipients of such credit program. At the moment, some people have to get a “emergency loan” therefore pay a high interest of between 3% to 6% to carry out production plans since they have not yet received the “red book” (land use right certificate). The compensation money had been received from 2006 but not until 2009 had land been allocated for families. As a consequence, people had used the compensation money up before they received their land. Moreover, it took them about a year to reclaim the land and 3 years to get some incomes out of it. (According to land-for-land and house-for-house exchange regulations, extra money should be given to the people when there is a difference in such exchange, people received from VND 10 to 100 million for compensation. Furthermore, they are entitled to receive a 6 month allowance for food, electricity, water and land leveling expenses but when they received the land, it had not been leveled and cleared from rocks and bushes; therefore they have to remove them on their own and also have to get more loans to invest in production. The accumulated fund had been used already for children’s schooling, land reclamation during their waiting for the land to be allocated). Group discussions in Tri A village revealed that people do access to loan sources, including credit program via the women union but the fund is also limited and people only get the loans for some of their essential investments. In Ea Mar, the focus group discussions told that in case the 87

family in need of the “emergency loan” (with an interest rate between 3% to 5% and amount between VND 10 to 100 million), it would be under the name of the women (about 90% of “emergency loan”) (see more at Table 4.6). Table 4.6. Institutional analysis of Ea Mar village Services

Capital for poor and near-poor households

“Black market” loan, with 35% interest; from VND 10 to 100 million Healthcare: Regular insurance

Implementation Impact and relevant policies Male Female - Policy bank, 50% 50% with 0,65% interest (incentive) - Other banks (collateral loans) 10% 90% getting loans


Agriculture extension: Trainings, provision of

Farmer associations, Agriculture extension








Community Economy and production development: cultivation on fields.

Some information errors occur, creating difficulties in use. - Primary school is 2km away, secondary school 3km, senior high school 12km; - In the former place, children had shady areas to play but not in the current place. Poor households enjoy the most benefits.


station, Department of Agriculture

Concerning arising issues in economic development, in Tan Phu village, besides the demand of structure transformation of household economy in response to the new resettled area or difficulties of investment capital sources (see the analysis above), hired labor is becoming more and more popular: the males go to work in the other areas (usually as construction laborers) with an average payment from VND 130,000 to 150,000 per day and each month they can work about 8 to 10 days, while the females are hired for lighter jobs such as weeding, corn harvesting or housemaid for an average payment from VND 2.5 to 3.5 million per month. The villagers tend to exchange labor for each others rather than hiring labor or being hired. The group discussion in Tri A revealed that the unemployment rate amongst the youth is high and there is no industrial zone in the area. Despite the village has the famous Ban Don tourist cluster, the involvement of the local people in tourism activities is very limited, though it also promotes some economic activities in the area. Previously, the villager did embroidery and producing Ruou Can (wine in jar, drunk with a straw/tube) but these activities no longer exist. For agricultural extension programs, the district’s management officers reported that annually, such programs are usually deployed using the budget from the district. There are also provincial programs with certificate provision. For example, in 2015 there were 3 classes (2 by the district, 1 by the province) with 45-50 participants. Every year, the district spend 650-700 million to invest in the models, carry out training courses. Priority is not only given only for participants from ethnic minorities or poor households, but also those who are devoted and enthusiastic with the application of the agriculture models. Figure of agricultural production. According to district managers, the training mainly attracted Kinh people and ethnic minorities were of very low attendance. More male participants were noted than female because men are usually not busy with housework. At village meetings, women may have more participation since people use local languages and women can carry their children along. There has not been any agricultural extension program designed especially for the SrÊpok 3 resettled households. The people in Tan Phu village said that there have been no agricultural extension training programs but only seminars by companies of pesticides and animal foods. Meanwhile, in Ea Mar and Tri A, trainings on crop cultivation or new rice varieties were organized and engaged many local women. 89

For health care, at Tri A Village, the district’s Preventive medicine center did deploy disseminations on family planning, provide mosquito nets, dispense medicines and carry out health checks for community. Households in the study area who belong to the region 3 are still granted health insurance. However, according to people's comments, the personal information on the health insurance card is often inaccurate, hence people cannot use the card, while amendment procedures take a lot of time6. In the resettlement village of Tan Phu, there is a health clinic but it is not operating. Previously, the village allowed the kindergarten to use the building for classrooms. This year the kindergarten has returned the building and the clinic is empty again. Vaccination is carried out every 6 months and deployed directly at the village by the clinic staff or people can go the clinic to get injected. Women are encouraged to visit the gynecologist regularly. Some people have to ride motorbikes to the commune’s clinic with a distance from 10 km to 15km, therefore women have more difficulties in traveling to the clinic. In terms of education, currently A Noul commune has 6 schools in total (kindergarten, primary and secondary school). Each village has a kindergarten, attended by a required number of children despite the lack of facilities. For the resettlement village, since their new living place is closer to the school, the rate of students going to school has increased. The proportion of girls and boys who go to school is the same, but higher education rate is still on boys. At Tri A village, senior high school students have to take a bus to school with a high cost of VND 400,000/month. In the previous years, ethnic minority households were given priority by the province in receiving books and health insurance. However, this year, none of such support has been provided to the households, including the poor ones.


During the process of verifying the research information, the research team spent time on an extended dialogue among residents, commune officials and district labor department leaders about the errors of information on health insurance card holders. Local authorities recognised the delay in granting insurance to some households and would examine the process of defining the responsibilities of the commune or district to avoid similar errors. The reason is that some of the holder information at the district and commune levels are not suitable, so accurate data needed to be re-entered. The delay is about 2 months, from 6/2016.


IMPACT ANALYSIS Positive impacts While the impacts of hydropower on the lives of local people are mostly negative as analyzed below, some positive impacts are also noted: - In the hydropower resettlement village of Tan Phu village: People have better social interaction, women can wear skirts because the roads are more convenient and people live closer together. Studying is more convenient, and electricity or healthcare are more accessible. Basically, people have better access to information. 100% of children are going to school compared with 60-70% before. - In Krong Na Commune: During the process of hydropower construction, there has been no out-of-wedlock birth in the locality; no recognized conflicts between factory workers and local people. This is thanks to the presence of the border guard station nearby, said the local people. Negative impacts The negative impacts of hydropower are analyzed in Table 4.7. Table 4.7: Analysis of hydropower negative impacts Negative problem/Impact of hydropower Loss of forests, changes of ecosystem and landscape Loss of production land

Water sources negatively change, including surface and underground water, domestic and production water

Impact on Wo- Commmen unity ** ** **









Action/Solution proposed by the people Reforestation as committed Provide support with land reclamation, grant more land for cultivation - Install a pumping station to regulate water for the village; - Only by draining off water will allow us to clean the river and enable irrigation water, it is required to do so twice a week; - Investment in water

pipe system; shutting down hydropower plants. Loans, employment transition, trainings should be in place Implement compensation commitments, and response to newly arisen compensation issues.

More difficult economic situation and development Prolonged and low compensation has caused instability and failed to create motivation for development Obstruct the conservation, promotion and development of culture and traditions Health and safety issues to human life










Report issues to local authorities for solutions.




Family and social issues




Issues related to social management




Conduct dissemination, provide periodic medical check, and take care of women’s health. Raise awareness and provide trainings and promote management. Close coordination among agencies.

Note: * Medium impact, ** Significant impact, *** Very significant impact Impact 1: Deforestation, changed ecosystem and landscapes Massive natural forest loss, mainly in the upstream areas due to the construction of hydropower projects have led to negative changes in the environment and landscape. Future floods then can be more devastating and erosion will be more serious. Forest loss has led to dramatic changes in the way people cultivate and live compared with their traditional practices which feature their “forest culture” and “life of shifting cultivation”7. 7

Le Van Ky et al. (2015) wrote: When we talk about Central Highlands, we talk about forests. Although the forests here have been downsized because of wars and human’s exploitation, their coverage rate still has the top rank in the country. Together with forests, a rich and rare world of fauna and flora make up a very unique ecology of the region. Forests serve as a close and friendly living


Impact 2: Loss of production land Loss of productive land caused by reservoir construction and hydroelectric projects, permeated water in reservoir, and landslide has made it impossible for people to cultivate crops (Tan Phu village) and/or dried river water preventing people from carrying our production activities, either full time or part time (Tri A village). From a management perspective, the local production land fund will be subsided, which will affect the local agricultural development and production. Very often, when people receive the new settled and cultivation land as land exchange, the quality of the new land is often worse. Residents in Tan Phu said that if their former land’s quality was as good as 10 that of the new land is only 3 or 4. In addition, the hydropower company promised to level up the land for farmers before handing over, but they did not do the work. The cultivation land/fields on the banks of the Srépok river in Krong Na also have signs of erosion. Impact 3: Negative changes of water sources Negative changes of water sources include changes of river’s surface water, reservoir water, groundwater, production water and drinking water. According to people in Tan Phu village, the river water is heavily polluted by the Tan Thang industrial zone, which discharges all of their waste into the river. In addition, the hydroelectric dam causes water retention, producing algae and mucilage. "The factories along the river, especially the Tan Thang company, have discharged directly into the river. The waste from the factories along the Srépok river flow directly to the hydropower company located in Ea Noul commune. Ea Noul is the most affected commune by hydropower dams. There are two main streams contaminated with heavy metals, which cannot be used as irrigation water and cause massive deaths of fishes. It is necessary to have sanctions on factories and enterprises and to request these units to treat their waste”. In the resettlement area, the well water is mixed with limestone, which is not safe for eating. Therefore, people have to spend money to buy rickshaws and water tanks for water carriage. The water supply becomes environment for the people of the ethnicities. The culture of the people in Central Highland is the “culture of forests”.


limited so the personal hygiene needs are also getting more difficult to be met. The people of Tri A village, as well as of other villages along the SrĂŠpok River, have to endure a diminished water supply and water quality that negatively affect their lives and production. Previously, water flews strongly and were as fresh as drinking water. But now, it is so contaminated and smelly with lots of garbage, making people itchy if they bath in. Before the presence of hydropower, water was easily to be pumped up to the field. The effort is so little since people could put the pump right at the bank. At present, with the same position, people have to install about 250 to 300m of pipe to connect to the water source. In March and April, there is nothing in the river but moss and weed. The river is dead in those months. Several households do not have well, but if they dig, there is still no water. For several households who already have well, their water is severely affected by limes. To have drinking water, people have to buy with VND 8,000 /bottle, costing them about VND 80,000 each week. Before the hydropower in place, the households enjoy an irrigation system which can enable them to cultivate 2 crops a year. Now, one of the important internal irrigation channel was destroyed by the hydropower, causing 50% water loss, therefore, only one crop can be planted. People have to rely on the rain water to get enough water for irrigation of their fields. In other villages, such as Ea Mar, the amount of groundwater is severely reduced, possibly due to the disruption of artesian waters caused by mine explosions when hydropower plants were constructed. As a result, people have to drill their well deeper, which cost them an increased fortune, at from VND 12-25 million/well (see Figure 4.2). Figure 4.2: A woman in Ea Mar village had to drill a new and deeper well, costing her more money since the old one was out of water

Source: Nguyen Quy Hanh 2016


Impact 4: A more difficult economic stage Although having been resettled and compensated, the people have no production land or no money to invest in production, leading to an increase in the rate of poor households and a rise of unemployment rate. "The people here have a low level of education and lack essential skills to manage their expenditures, therefore they have not utilized the compensation money effectively. The poverty rate increases compared to that of before the hydropower. Only the Kinh village that has made a quick economic recovery. Other villages that have limited access to science and technology are recovering slowly and then suffering from poverty�. In Tan Phu village, people have to start everything from the beginning: On average, each household hold VND 100 million of debt. The compensation amount is too low (while people in Dak Nong receive a compensation rate of VND 9,000/m2, people in Ea Nuol only get VND 3,000 - 4,000/m2), plus the fact that compensation had been done for several years (2006-2009) before land was allocated to households, therefore most of the villagers would have spent all compensation before getting the land. After that, they have to spend one more year on reclaiming the land and three more years on planting crops before they can do any harvest (i.e. coffee). All the three studied sites have a common impact that household income is reduced due to reduced land area, pollution of rivers, difficulties in cultivation and husbandry while expenditures are increased since the people have to invest more in well digging, purchase of drinking water and food instead of self-supply as before. For example, there is no cultivated vegetables or reduced quantity of fish catch, medicinal plants, vegetables (such as shrimps, sesame buds) collected on the side of the rivers and streams (even in the current resettlement area, the exchange of goods is more convenient due to more convenient transportation conditions). The households in Tan Phu village have calculated that their family expenditures are 2-3 times higher than those in their previous living area (VND 5 million/month compared to VND 2 million/month). The landscapes have changed, making a downfall in the number of tourists and incomes of companies, local people in general and households doing tourism services. Beyond the household level, the economy of the commune has also been affected, reversing the development trend: "The soil of the resettled land is very poor. Working as hired laborers may even bring more income than planting crops on this land. 80% of the land is of poor quality. In the Program 725, roughly 95

the commune has 286 households listed to be in lack of land for production (excluding Kinh households). If there had been no hydropower, the pace of development would be faster. Previously, the area of sugarcane was over 1,000 hectares which helped provide employment for a large number of workers but now sugarcane is no longer able to be planted�. Impact 5: Low and long-lasting compensation causes instability, failing to trigger development The poor implementation of compensation has caused long-lasting difficulties for communities affected by hydropower, especially Tan Phu resettlement village. Relevant problems include low compensations, varied compensations over time and regions, slow disbursement and newly arisen compensations. While compensation installments have helped bring about concentrated resources for investment in the economy rebuild of the resettled households, it has also resulted in conflicts and disputes in the communities. Low compensation: In terms of compensation price, people did not have a stake on the decision but it was set by the province basing on the regulations of state legal documents. The villagers only attended a meeting to be informed of the compensation price. Initially it was 2,000 dong/m2 in Buon Don, then the district council ratified an additional VND 1,000 for each m2. While Dak Nong province provided a compensation of VND 9,000/m2, Ea Nuol people only received VND 3,000-4,000/m2. The frequent changes of policies within the same hydropower project have generated injustices. For example, households that strictly abide by regulations to complete their compensation profile and procedures before the deadline (July 1) did not receive the compensation rate as high as those who ran late, causing conflicts. Another example is that some households enjoyed a support rate with VND 9 million per capita within the applicable time of the previous policies, but some failed to when there were new policies came into effect. Because of such variation of the compensation prices over time, the people also requested that supplemented compensation should be given to the households who bear the lower rate in the previous periods. Slow implementation of compensation: Compensation went too slow. While evaluations had been completed in the mid-year time but until the end of the year were compensation disbursed. As a result, as analyzed above, the compensation received was not sufficient for the households to invest in new production since it had been spent before. 96

In addition, the handling of petitions were slow, including both old and newly arisen issues. For example, there have been a conflicts between the present residents and the new comers in the resettled area. Some areas of land, which had not been compensated to the current households, has been used to grant for the new ones. Impact 6: Difficulties for the conservation and promotion of traditions and culture Changes on water sources cause difficulties in organizing traditional festivals and promoting local cultural and spiritual activities. According to the animism, each falls and forest are associated with legends about gods who dominate all production and spiritual activities of the communities. From then, rituals and festivals8 have been developed and nourished. Religious culture shapes spiritual, emotional, conscious and religious values of culture and create identity and permanent vitality of ethic cultures (see further Nguyen Tri Nguyen 2004). Water wharf served for local religious activities has been affected and no longer used in many places. The water wharf is associated with cultural and spiritual life of Ede and Gia Rai people in the Central Highlands. Each ethnic minority village has a cultural water wharf. Apart from supplying water for domestic use and production, the water wharf is also a place for cultural and spiritual activities of the community. Annually, ethnic minority villages hold water wharf worshiping ceremonies. During such ceremonies, local people pray for good weather, good heath, and good luck in work. They also pray that all people do good things and are united for building a beautiful and rich homeland (Ba Thang 20169).


Nguyen Ngoc Hoa et al. (2014) explained: "Gods dwell everywhere. People’s lives depend entirely on the will of the gods. Production, sickness, death, actions, and deeds must be invoked and permitted by the gods. With the beliefs and polytheism, people practice complex abstinences, various rituals, and worship festivals to pray for the good life of people and community.” 9 See also: "Water wharf in the life of the Central Highlands people", Population Newspaper, 15/05/2016, http://baodansinh.vn/ben-nuoc-trong-doi-song-nguoitay-nguyen-d33406. html: “For thousands of years, in the mind of the Central Highlands people, the water wharf image is both close and sacred. Water wharf is a gift of the nature (their nature is the God). Thanks to the God, they can wash out the dust after their field time so that all their pains disappear upon returning to their house on stilts. This probably explains why the water wharf is always crowded in the afternoon. According to some researchers, in some aspects, the water wharf means the village. The Central Highlands people define the village consisting of those who drink the same water source. Leaving the village means leaving the


Figure 4.3: Elephant racing festival in Buon Don District

Source: http://khamphadalat.com/tin-tuc/le-hoi-dua-voi-buon-don-2016

Buon Don Elephant Racing Festival: The festival aims to honor the spirit of martial arts and elephant taming skills of the Central Highlands people, and pray for a good new crop and a well-being village10 (see Figure 5.3). Due to the hydropower, it is hardly to be organized as the river does not provide enough water during the festival time. The district authorities request the support from the hydropower company; however the company hesitates in support due to benefit related issues and complex and time-consuming permission process. Impact 7: Health and life safety issues In Tan Phu village, dengue fever and viral fever often occur and local hospital is thus always in the overloaded situation. Incidence rates of diseases related to kidney, stomach and gynecology increase. People argue water wharf, remembering the village means remembering the water wharf, return to the village is return to the water wharf, and people organize a Po-thi ceremony to goodbye the water wharf. The water wharf is the place where couples in love date and give the copper rings for engagement. It is also the place where local people can wash away dirt of the nature, purify their souls, and embrace the purity of the village-hood." 10 “March is the season for bees to collect honey, elephants to go down to the river to drink water and people to cultivate in fields." March is the happy season of the Central Highlands, the time for Buon Don people to celebrate the elephant racing festival and others such as buffalo thrusting festival and gong dance festival ...expressing the wishes for a new fruitful season.


that such diseases are associated with using limestone water-supply wells and contaminated water sources. In Krong Na, local people observe that children often suffer from skin diseases (fungus and itches) and infectious diseases. They frequently get cough and itches. The incidence rate of gynecologic disease increases as, according to local people, they still use water from rivers and streams with decreased water quality. Human loss occurs due to water discharge by the hydropower plant. Till now, the district has nine persons including four pupils, four soldiers and one local villager died due to water discharge by the hydropower reservoirs. Impact 8: Social evils and family management Upon moving to the resettlement area, men felt bored and became alcohol addicted as they did not have land for production during the first time. In addition, conflicts about finances in families occur more frequently. Domestic violence tends to increase. Women become more vulnerable. Local people, especially young people, lose their jobs when being reallocated in a new area. They struggle with their lives as their agricultural activities are limited and they hardly find jobs due to their low educational level. Consequently, social evils and theft increase: "When the hydropower plant comes into operation, local people lose their production land. Many young people become unemployed and comfort themselves by going fishing and drinking wine. Local security and theft incidences increase due to unemployment.� Impact 9: Social management issues In terms of management, it is worth noting that complaints related to compensation and land issues increase. More time and efforts need to be spent on solving the complaints. Some households in Ea Mar village out of the area affected by blasting (200m) are not compensated. They complaint the hydropower company and request for compensation. There is only one road leading to the hydropower plant. Nearly 10km of this road is seriously degraded. The road to the resettlement area remains muddy. Re-investment in communal infrastructure has been not fully implemented yet. In other cases, land clearance for the hydropower works in some "sensitive" areas such as the ethnic minority cemetery, may lead to conflicts and 99

become a “hot” issue of the locality if it is not properly tackled. The cemetery area is very significant in the spiritual life of local people. Box 4.1 below shows issues related to the Srépok 4A hydropower plant in Krong Na commune have not been addressed. Box 4.1: Issues related to the Srépok 4A hydropower plant have not been resolved in Krong Na commune. - Have paid 20 households affected by the phrase 3 blasting on 10 August 2015. One household have disagreed with the blasting plan. - Landslides cause production loss. Three households could not carry out their two crops and lose four sao (each sao is equivalent to 500m2) of wet rice fields with two crops. Four households are permanently flooded and have not received any support plan. - Blocking irrigation canal to 14.5 hectares of rice field in the WinterSpring crop 2012-2013. 7 out of 21 households in Ma Phuong rice field have been paid in the round 1 and the 14 remaining households paid in the round 2. - It is recommended to build a cement bridge through the dam and a hydropower reservoir to reach 15 hectares of Ma Phuong field that is currently isolated. - Construction providers dump waste soil along the canal and in the production areas of 42 households. (The hydropower plant made agreement with 18 households while the 24 remaining households have not reached the agreement with the hydropower plant) - Have compensated 7 out of 8 households inundated with floods in 2014 while one household has not still received compensation. - Rural transportation is in poor situation: 1.8 km of the inter-village road are asphalted. - Have not opened the flow that the hydropower dam interrupted at the 19 Ea Amar bridge dewatering gutter. Small plastic pipes installed fail to supply water. - Environmental impacts: Partial flooding in some places and uncontrolled soil discharge. More than 20km along the river from the national park station to the forest protection unit is under the dry season and without water causing landslides and altering the flow that make local people discontent with.


ANALYSIS OF WOMEN’S NEEDS AND EMPOWERMENT Needs analysis Table 4.8 presents in details short-term and long-term needs in different aspects identified by studied communities. In particular, communities share common needs of resolving remaining issues related to compensation, resettlement and new areas permeable to water; issues on water source for domestic use and production; capital for livelihood development; and health care. Gender-specific differences are clearly indicated in all needs mentioned above. Table 4.8: Analysis of practical and strategic gender needs Aspects Pending issues

Capital source

From practical to strategic needs - Addressing issues related to red books and shortcomings (in the phrases and tasks) in the compensation process. - Addressing issues related to land allocation. Some households lack land or are not allocated with resettlement land. Five households have not still been supported as poor households. - Local people need legal assistance from carders or volunteers in filing petitions or complaints. Legal assistance aims to ensure local people’s benefits and facilitate state agencies in processing petitions. - Local people do not access capital sources (75, capital for coffee replanting). People who do not have red books and production plans (due to 101

From gender perspective - Reissuing red books with the names of male and female. - Compensation prices are set by the State regulations. The State regulations change from time to time, resulting in changes on land prices. Therefore, price support schemes are needed for people receiving low compensation.

- Women are the direct borrowers. The borrowing process is still difficult, with limited funding. Loans for production are only up to 30 million that is not

their low level of education) cannot get loans. - Preferential loans for production activities must be given. At present, 4 households in the resettlement area are entitled to get loans from the social policy bank and get poor or near poor household books. The remaining get loans from the agricultural bank or use red books for external loans. Land and Clean water water production source - Allocating land production


enough for households to carry out production activities. - Banks must assign specialized staff to guide local people in making loan applications and promulgate clear procedures. The state deploys preferential funds without the first two year interest. Unreasonable loan requirements (requirement about not using land within 2 years).

for - Financial assistance for well drilling and water filter for tanks to each household or the whole community (covering 50% - 100% of expenses) - More attention is given to poor and near poor households - Regular training courses - Improving the equal on cultivation and participation of males and husbandry appropriate to females in meetings. local conditions - Training on gender - Vocational training on equality and domestic animal husbandry, farming violence for both men and techniques, handicrafts, women sewing, carpentry, and - Women are given construction. opportunities to attend - Organizing vocational training courses on laws. training courses and Some current training supporting young people courses are in a small scale who complete vocational and without the training courses but do not participation of experts or have employment or specialists. capital for business 102

development. - Support schemes for pupils and students. Health Organizing regular Communication on medical examinations. reproductive health care for women (80% of women suffer from gynecological diseases due to polluted water). Agricultural - Promoting agricultural - Building local markets. business business. and Developing local employment businesses and companies. - Labor export. From a more strategic perspective, community needs are related to legal support, training support, agribusiness promotion, and career shift towards company employment or labor export. These demands need support from multi stakeholders for step-by-step implementation. Analysis on women’s empowerment The research team notes a significant gap in welfare services for women in the hydropower project activities. "There are no separate consultation for women and men, so gender specific impacts are not identified. No specific solution to pollution and water scarcity is made that increases the incidence rates of kidney disease and gynecological disease in men and women respectively�. It is not difficult to understand when the project activities are less focused on community participation and local government involvement. For example, in Ea Nuol: "Three house samples are pre-specified for local people to select. Upon receiving houses, local people have to re-build and re-design their houses. The communal house is too low with the hot corrugated iron roof that is impossible to organize any meeting in daytime." "Only the Commune People's Committee contacted the vocational training center to organize training courses for the local while the hydropower company has not organized any program yet."


"The hydropower company usually assigns staff without decision making power to participate in discussions, meetings, and dialogues with relevant parties." Or in Krong Na: "Prior to the project implementation, the project management unit held consultation sessions with household representatives. Some local people’s opinions have been heard, for example, problems related to repairing the bridge on the main road of Krong Na commune for local convenient transportation." However, with the cooperation and promotion among the parties, new problems arisen have been still solved, though prolonged: "The issuance process of red books has been slow but still ongoing". "The new areas permeate to water in Ea Nuol have still being surveyed for compensation plans". And the hydropower plant continues providing financial support to communities when required, such as construction of public electricity systems and water pumps

DISCUSSION The “dead river”: water is both a resource and a living entity People in the researched communities in particular and people in Buon Don and Dak Lak in general have had a material and spiritual life closely associated with natural resources such as forest, land and water resources for ages. Local communities, thanks to their indigenous knowledge and traditional experience, have always chosen open, riverine areas to settle their lives over generations. Water resource is not only the source of sustainable livelihood in the self-sufficiency system, ensuring a peaceful and prosperous life, but also a living entity that contains the life values of the local, the development of traditional culture of the communities in this “Srépok river island” among the great Central Highlands’ culture. Projects, under the name of “development”, either energy development or industry zone development, which have separated the people’s life from their traditional ecological system and debilitated resources while given no assistance for livelihood shift and the insurance of the smooth flowing of cultural “currents” are considered as the biggest challenge of the locality. The image of “the dead river” - as it appears sadly in the reflection of the local people on the Srépok river, not only emphasizes that water is a living resource and entity encompassing the life’s values of the people, not only 104

shows the difficult “today” but a challenging “tomorrow” of the communities, not only manifests the existing pain but a bearable spiritual loss of the local people. Matrilineality, patrilineality, matriarchy: common denominator of women development The development history of Buon Don and Dak Lak is an interweaving buildup of the indigenous and ethnic minority communities and the Kinh immigrants from the North. The interesting point of this research is that it compares the 03 different regions with different development characteristics and different impacts of different hydropower plants. While Tan Phu village is characterized by patrilineality with the dominant role of men in the decision making on family and production issues, although there is an increasing tendency of discussing household issues among women and men; the people in Tri A village, with the typical matrilineal system in which women make all the decisions in terms of family, education, and clan affairs; while Ea Mar village is a combined and harmonized version of those two types of decision making and resource utilization as they live more and interact more with the Kinh. However, the interviewed groups share common issues about women's development. In terms of division of labor, females still have to take care of housework and family care as "heavenly duties" of the mothers and the wives. Their role and contribution are rarely recognized, while they have to pay full participation in production activities of the family to develop household economy. Because of these duties and concerns, women's access to information and training is fundamentally unequal to men’s. For example, while women may attend more meetings, important ones would require men to show up. In addition, the unpredictable negative diversions caused by hydropower development have made them more inferior and vulnerable. From “soft” economy to “hard” economy: an un-prepared transition The researched communities are heavily dependent on shifting cultivation (including food crops, and recently industrial crops), animal husbandry and the use of natural resources, such as medicinal plants, vegetables and nontimber forest products. The production is gambled on natural conditions such as land, water and climate. The economy is mainly self-sufficient and


at household level, in which women play a vital role. These are the characteristics featuring a soft economy11. Rapid hydropower development is the direct agent causing the traditional economy to transform to a “hard” economy which requires participation to the market economy and new technology in the context of changed environment, narrowed land and stronger competition. The most striking thing about this is that the economic restructuring and production shift have taken place abruptly, while people are not prepared in terms of mentality, knowledge and adaptive skills while there has been no or ineffective support. Furthermore, it’s noticeable that the shift to the “hard” economy, on one hand, decreases the role and status of women which have already been built in the “soft” economy, and on the other hand, generates new pressures on them such as domestic violence, children education and caring, debt (often the wife is the one who in charge); and in the long term women would become more dependent. Culture and spirituality: the blocked flow Loss of forests, living habitat changed in the trend of being more separate from nature, ways of cultivation changed toward technology and market orientations, more concentrated and “modern” lifestyle, have narrowed the space and practical conditions of the spiritual life that have been long tied to the culture of local communities. It is the fracture in the relationship amongst nature – human – community in the hardening the local economy that has made the connection of indigenous knowledge, community festivals’ value and the culture of ethnic communities, which feature the leading role of women in matrilineal communities, face the threat of being vanished in the current development process. Unveiling the gender issue: balancing for development In spite of recognized gender differences or even gender inequality in economic, spiritual and community life as analyzed, hydropower projects as well as development interventions presently almost paid no attention to the gender based issues (gender blindness). Here is one of those examples: "Voices of the people were not heard in the houses’ design and construction. Some houses’ foundation is built lower than the roadbed, and people were willing to contribute more money to add more land but the project does not want to spend more money to elevate the foundation. This led to waterlogging. Women, therefore,


See Ellis, 1993


face more difficulties in caring for their children when flooding occurs.� Good development cannot be based on gender imbalance, but first of all gender norms should be holistically recognized and properly applied in hydropower development. Gender development and justice can be promoted from the smallest steps, from housing design, increased access to building institutions for economic development, building self-governing groups, and promotion of women's participation in community life and society.

CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS This study reaffirms that the different division of labor, roles, impact sand demands between men and women in the development history of the studied communities, and the influence of hydropower development on the SrĂŠpok River now make it increasingly difficult for women in terms of economic situation and health and spiritual life, even in matriarchal communities. The main cause is that these energy development projects merely favor technology, building "hardwires" while deliver less focus on solving social problems, mobilizing the participation of impacted communities, and demonstrate inadequate awareness on gender issues (despite some effective interventions from these projects can promote strongly the development of women). Gender is an important factor in evaluating the social outcomes of development projects, including hydropower development. A better residence place than the old one would be hard to come into reality if in this new place gender inequalities are not tackled, or they reach to the point that makes women more vulnerable. Women's progress should be a criterion for assessing the effectiveness of development projects affecting men, women and communities such as hydropower projects. Gender impact assessments should be carried out in conjunction with environmental impact assessments, social impact assessments of projects affecting the environment and humans such as hydropower projects, which would create the basis for the voice of both women, men and communities to be reflected and for the relevant measures to be developed towards the sustainable development of communities and the energy sector. Gender impact assessment should be considered as a process in which, besides the analysis and evaluation of gender assessment reports of hydropower projects, the promotion of gender equality should be widely practiced in every activities, approaches or daily communication during the project implementation. 107

Gender impact assessments should integrate local initiatives in economic, social and cultural development to minimize the impacts of hydropower, in order to meet the needs of the community’s development in the short run and strategically; therefore, it is necessary to determine from the first stages of hydropower projects development the related parties (possibly these groups: investors, project owners, authorities at all levels, organizations, mass organizations, enterprises and communities) and their functions, responsibilities, participation, coordination mechanism to resolve arising problems; also, a gender action plan should be made and informed to the community for their promotion or supervision. Gender impact assessment remains a new approach in Vietnam and needs to be piloted and drawn out lessons for improvement of future practices. It should be encouraged to be applied as good practices of enterprises with innovative and responsible business approaches and integrated in their corporate social responsibility. Importantly, this assessment practice should be institutionalized in the sector or locality before it can be applied at a popular scale.

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năm Viện quy hoạch thủy lợi. Hà Nội: Nhà xuất bản Khoa học và Kỹ thuật. Ngan Sau. 2013. Khu tái định cư thủy điện Sêrêpốk 3: Lãng phí kinh phí xây dựng vì dân không đến ở. Đăk Nông Online ngày 15/05/2013. Available at: http://www.baodaknong.org.vn/tin-tuc/khu-tai-dinh-cuthuy-dien-serepok-3-lang-phi-kinh-phi-xay-dung-vi-dan-khong-den-o23527.html Nguyen Ngoc Hoa, Le Quy Duc and Nguyen Duy Bac. 2014. Sự biến đổi những giá trị xã hội truyền thống của đồng bào các dân tộc thiểu số ở Tây Nguyên hiện nay. Hà Nội: Nhà xuất bản Chính trị Quốc gia. Nguyen Tri Nguyen. 2004. Bản chất và đặc trưng tín ngưỡng dân gian trong lễ hội cổ truyền Việt Nam. Tạp chí Di sản 7(năm 2004): 27-32. Simon, Micheal. 2013. Balancing the scales: Using gender impact assessment in hydropower development. Oxfam Australia. Trung Duong. 2016. Cơn khát dưới chân hồ đập thủy điện. Vietnamnet ngày 17/4/2016. Available at: http://vietnamnet.vn/vn/thoi-su/conkhat-duoi-chan-ho-dap-thuy-dien-299066.html





INTRODUCTION Similar to other fields, the energy exploitation from rivers is attached with social issues, influences negatively and lasts tens of years. While sustainable development principles require that the sustainable growth has to meet all three dimensions including economic growth, social equity, and environmental sustainability, hydropower projects, in many cases, meet only the economic criterion. In recent years, the Centre for Social Research and Development (CSRD) has conducted research in hydropower impacts on socio-economics and environment of communities affected by hydropower development in the Central and Highland region. This report is a product from this research program. This qualitative research aims at finding out and describing institutional factors that create injustice to hydropower-impacted communities in a long duration of more than 5 years (if any), people’s responses and results, and offering recommendations for a community development program to support local people to overcome consequences. This research was conducted from March to October 2016 at both upstream and downstream riverside communities at hydropower dams in provinces of Thua Thien Hue, Quang Nam, Dak Lak, and Dak Nong. The research group has met representatives of hydropower-impacted farmers in a workshop on research methodology and contents in March 2016. Field trips with individual and group interviews and observation (voicerecorded and video-taped) were conducted in the following months until August 2016. 111

With an action research approach, this research was conducted with the participation of core farmers developed by CSRD from more than three years ago. Groups of farmers participated in collecting and analyzing information as well as recommending action methods mainly for dialogues with investors and local authorities to overcome consequences of hydropower projects and improve community’s life.

HYDROPOWER IMPACTS AND COMMUNITY’S RESPONSES: CASE STUDIES Resettlement at Ea Tung village Hydropower impacts The Buon Kuop hydropower plant is a part of the hydropower cascade planning on Srépok river, Dak Lak province. The plant is located in Hoa Phu commune (Cu Jut district), Nam Da (Krong No district), and Dray Sap (Krong Ana district), and 10 km downstream from the junction of the Krong No and Krong Ana rivers. This 280MW plant (ranked second after the Yaly hydropower plant in the Highland region) was started building on December 21, 2003. It was connected to the national power grid and would be entirely handed over in March 2010. According to the design, the plant would supply about 1.4 billion KWh/year to the national power grid and has a function of regulating water source, providing irrigating water for downstream areas, creating tourism landscape, and developing transportation and aquaculture. According to a group leader of 11 farmers who suffer impacts of the Buon Kuop hydropower plant, they were compensated for losses made by the hydropower plant on the river flowing through Krong Ana. They are Kinh people from different provinces (mainly north central region) who resettled in the 1990s due to the attraction of primary forests and spacious basalt soil. “Up to 2003, people’s life is peaceful when there is no hydropower plant. Thousands of hectares of land were used for planting and cattle raising. Our lives are improved day by day”, said the leader. He also shared that “Since the hydropower was built, the water is rising; our household economy – the Kinh people at Ea-tung and ethnic minorities at D’ray village, is remarkably decreased. From owning one to three hectares, many families now have a few hundred square metres. Many of them have no land to cultivate. Compensation for one hectare is just enough for purchasing one quarter of a hectare. One hectare of coffee produces five to six tons of beans but we received only VND one hundred million. The plant divided the money transfer into many times with long intervals, and the amount of money we received each time was not enough for land 112

purchasing. There was one payment in 2003, and the next one was in 2006. The small amount of compensation money is not enough for us to buy a piece of land. A number of families had to change their livelihood to labour hire since they have no land for cultivating”. A female farmer from Ea Tung village added: “Since 2011, I have sent petitions to commune and district authorities. At that time, my family had more than 1,000 m2 and was compensated VND 170 million. At present, we have 128 m2 of living house. And they refused to compensate for 13 coffee plants left which are not worth being taken care of”. Families do not also please with compensation calculation. As for infrastructure like houses or courtyards, they received compensation for the flooded parts. The rests of the houses, courtyards, or gardens were not compensated. The principles of “compensation for flooded areas only” or “compensation for cleared areas only” appear inappropriate for communities where flooded parts just occupy a small portion of their total land for living, farming, or gardening. In some communities, damages have been reported after the hydropower plant was built and after the provision of compensation. Damages included loss of farming and gardening areas caused by landslides as the water level raises. Community’s responses Communities have displayed different behaviour models during the compensation and resettlement processes. Since 2011, the communities have expressed their opinions by different ways. Basically, local people showed their trust and adherence, without any appraisal, to opinions of such partners as the government and investors. The presence of the government ensured a legitimacy of investors and their commitments, even though it is not necessary. “Local people are wellbehaved and follow what people from the hydropower plant ensured a good life to be equal to or better than the one before” – said a male leader of a residential group. At the Ea-tung village, farmers keep and archive papers related to checking and counting, contracts for compensation, and property hand-over as well as compensation payment. When requested, they can easily give out a copy or an original of documents on compensation as proofs for their opinions. Affected farmers raised their ideas about losses, negative impacts of compensation and resettlement to governments and people’s councils at commune and district levels. Their opinions were acknowledged on spot, 113

but without any reply or further follow-up activities except for repeating those opinions in the following meetings. CSRD’s support Since 2015, Buon Kuop community who are suffering from hydropower impacts has participated in community-based research conducted by the CSRD. Through trainings, workshops, study tours, and direct support, key members of the community developed their understanding about their rights as well as responsibilities that are guaranteed and stipulated by laws in terms of compensation and resettlement. The PRA approach was introduced to the community via on-field trainings and practice activities. With support from the CSRD, the Ea Tung farmer group took part in internal discussions and sharings to clarify its members’ perspectives and form common opinions. Ideas from these discussions were not only complaints, but these were also a process of forming perspectives of the group and community in losses and investors’ unfair methods under the “support” of local authorities. Interacting with communities that suffered similar impacts from hydropower plants and learning from other farmer groups, farmers at EaTung village became confident and possessed persuasive presentation skills in dialogues with concerned bodies, local authorities, and investors. They knew how to give out accurate proofs of the losses and negative impacts that their community had to suffer. A number of profound analytical opinions about causes and consequences of the compensation and resettlement program were given to their partners in dialogues. They also introduced witnesses and victims of hydropower projects to persuasively raise their voices in the dialogues. With the technical support from CSRD, a group of farmer-researcher was formed. After being trained with community-engaged research skills, they conducted research on hydropower impacts on people’s lives. Research results were presented in a number of regional and national workshops. In 2016, capacity building activities on research and advocacy for the farmer group suffering from hydropower development in Ea-tung village were undertaken. In the same year, CSRD supported the community to access lawyers to help them understand their rights of complaining and denouncing as well as processes and procedures to gain these rights. In community discussions, strengths and weakness of verbal complaining in meetings with elective officials and denouncing procedures at judicial bodies were also analyzed. Lawyers analyzed specific situations and instructed members of the affected farmer group to prepare documents 114

and complete forms as necessary. “We formed and enhanced capacity for farmer groups in the affected areas in such hydropower-affected provinces as Quang Binh, Quang Nam, Daklak, and Daknong for better understanding about their rights. They could be confident to dialog with local authorities and investors on hydropower benefit sharing issues and request enough land compensation for their community” - reported CSRD Director, Rivers Network Coordinator at the Vietnam Rivers Network’s 2015 Annual Meeting. Capacity enhancement activities that were perseveringly organized in a long period remarkably improved capacities of farmer group members at Ea-tung village. One expression of this support in 2016 was that the farmer group was ready to collect all contracts for land withdrawal, checking and counting, compensation, and related bills to exercise their complaining rights. “We here will collect all information and papers as ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’. I affirm to represent local people at the court”, confirmed the leader of a farmer group. Village 7, Quang Hoa commune Hydropower impacts There are about 100 households in Village 7, Quang Hoa commune, Dak Glong district, Dak Nong province, including emigrants of Kinh, Tay, and Nung people who resettled in early 2000s. The Kinh people group has the origins from coastal provinces such as Binh Dinh while the group of Tay and Nung ethnic people came from Bac Can and Cao Bang provinces. At the end of the 1990s, those families started exploring and cultivating on the land that later was handed over to a plantation. Each family reclaimed, cultivated, and sold the land to each other in the last 15 years. Families have different cultivation areas, with a fluctuation of 3 to 5 hectares. A typical example is a woman who is originated from Xuan Loc commune, Bao Lac district, Cao Bang province. She followed her parents to Bao Son commune, Dak Nong district, Dak Nong province since 2000. They moved there one year prior to her arrival. She got married at the age of 15. In 2000, she had her first child, and a second one in 2003. She and her husband are main labour in a household of five members, including the couple, two children, and her father-in-law. She said that her family has one hectare of land they reclaimed themselves to cultivate, but they did not have a red book yet. In 2004, the government had a meeting with local people and told them that the compensation would be paid in 2006. Her family received 1,500m square and 1.5 hectares of wet rice fields, but the state would have to provide them with 3,000m square of wet rice fields as 115

promised. She shared that “lacking water, they can cultivate only one rice crop, the second crop is for corn farming by using rain water. Each year, they harvest 5 to 6 quintals of rice and about one ton of corn. They cannot plant perennial trees” and “we wish the state will re-divide land enough for our production.” Her family was compensated with VND 22 million. Most of this amount of money was spent for purchasing a new motorbike. At present, the family has one hectare of land. Before receiving compensation from the hydropower project, they were starveling. After being compensated, they were still starveling. To get food, they collected bamboo shuts to sell or provided hired labour with a daily wage of VND 50,000 to VND 60,000. Provided with 3,000m square to 3,500m square/crop for cultivating wet rice (this kind of land was provided with red book), the family used 1,000m square to dig a fish pond. They got 20 bags of rice (equivalent to 1 ton) each crop that were used for food and sold for cash. Each year, they lacked food for three months: July, August, and September. Currently, they provide a hired labour with a daily wage of VND 140,000. To make up for the time they lack food, her family usually go into the forest to collect rattans, tiger grass, and bamboo to sell at market. The state committed to compensate 1.5 hectare, but it did not. Before being compensated, local people were involved in meetings and received information without any confirmed documents. She said that her own family received cultivation land and rice farming land with red books, while the rest people in the village did not. Another example is a Tay ethnic man, originated from Quang Hoa district, Cao Bang, said that his family moved to Lam Dong province since 1990 because they had no cultivated land in their hometowns; they lived mostly on their provision of hired labour. His family, at that time, included two spouses and two children. After 10 years, they moved to the district of Gia Nghia with his brothers and sisters. The husband bought 4.8 hectares of land in Lam Dong from a brother of a man in his village by oral contract with the price of two million. For a year or two, the state compensated VND 12 million/a hectare for their land reclaiming effort. The family used most of the compensation money for building house. In 2005, the family had a household registration book in the village; before that, they registered for long-term temporary residence under KT-3 type. The compensation is divided equally for every family, including 3,000m2 of land and 600m2 of rice farming land. Rice farming land is so poor that they could grow only one crop. This area only produces 11-12 bags, about 500 kg of fresh rice. They use 3,000m2 of land for growing coffee with a productivity of a ton of coffee bean/crop if they had enough fertilizer in a year. In order to better cover the family’s expense, the couple often 116

undertakes more jobs, such as loading/unloading goods. All members of the discussion group confirmed that the staff of the hydropower project had confirmed to provide 1,500m2 of rice fields for cultivation to households whose lands were recovered, but in fact they only allotted 600m2 of land. The allocated rice field was short of water, so only one rice crop was planted. Another promise they made was to provide 1,5ha per household to plant perennial trees, but 3,000m2 were handed over. According to Mr. Quan, authorities have no land to fulfill their pledge of land allocation. He only expects the government to solve water problems so that they can grow two crops. Community’s responses The immigrant community in this village is in a particularly vulnerable position as they are free migrants. They have deforested or reclaimed their land for cultivation and used without registering for land use rights even when the 2003 Land Law came into effect. Their land is also sold by oral agreement, sometimes without a contract. For a long time, the legal status of the people in this village has been recognized. They are newly registered. Their village was recognized as an administrative unit. Understanding their position, villagers accepted unconditionally the compensation methods of the hydropower company and the local government. They also accepted that the government and the hydropower company failed to fulfill the promise of providing 1.5 ha of cultivated land as well as 3,000m2 of farmland. When attending meetings on land compensation, the villagers only listened to and recalled the commitment of the stakeholders. Up to present, they have no paper for regulations or promises/commitments from the government and hydropower plants. At present, the villagers reflect their concerns in meetings with government officials and democratic institutions at the meetings. They have not made any written complaint, but according to the CSRD, farmers here have been organized into groups and the centre has carried out capacity building activities for these groups. Resettlement at Drai village Hydropower impacts The Drai, a village of E-De ethnic people, was heavily influenced by the Buon Kuop hydropower plant. Like many villages in Krong Anna district, people here live mainly on coffee, and partly on pepper planting. According to the communist party secretary of the village, the hydropower project 117

also has good things for the community. They have built a school for local people. They have also dug wells for every household, because local people dug wells without water before. In the village, there are 14 resettlement households and they were moved to live in a row of side-by-side street houses. Many families complained about the quality of construction, and the inconvenient kitchen design that made them not able to cook. Bathrooms and wells are too close together, and they found it unhygienic. In addition, many wells of resettlement households had no water. One household in the resettlement group does not have a red book and cannot use the house as a collateral for bank loans. According to the village communist party secretary, there are still 50 households still questioning about the compensation and resettlement. "If people have more than 2,500m2, they just eliminated 2,500m2. According to the company, people are compensated for their property and allotted land. However, the company later said it was "land for land" and subtracted VND 17 million into the allocated 2,500m2 land. Meanwhile, many households without land still received 2,500m2 of production land. There are 30 households with not-enough land allocation. The remaining 14 households lack water for production. At present, the company is constructing a water irrigation system. There are also 7 households questioned about the number of household members missed for compensation", said the secretary. For a specific case, Ms. HJK from the Drai village, is 40 years old and has 4 children, including one girl and three sons. One of them is studying the preschool education. The family is a near-poor household. She had to ask for a monthly loan to buy food for the family. Currently, the family has a loan of VND 40 million. The husband has a chronic rheumatoid arthritis. He can just go to work if he has medicine for his pain; without medicine, he has to stay at home. Before the hydropower plant appears, prior to 2003, the river water was clear and fish was still abundant. The husband went fishing at 4am and brought back fish for his wife to sell. After the hydropower operated, there was no more fish and the water was turbid. There is only hemibagrus. Each night, he can get 10 strings of fish, about VND 10-15 thousand/day, that is equivalent to 2 kilograms of rice. Before the hydropower plant has been operated, she had 2,150m2 of land to plant coffee and beans as a catch crop. In addition, the family also looked after 2,500m2 of coffee for a company. All together was 4,650m2 but they received only 2,500m2 and still lacked 2,150 m2. HJK's family had to move and they were compensated with a 40m2 house. When they received the 118

house, they had a pleasure of living in a building house. The toilet was built on a septic tank, but cannot be used because it is higher than the house and adjacent to the kitchen. There is no water in the well. There are cracks in the new house after a short time. The compensation of VND 10.3 million for crops was used to repair the house and the floor. Among the 14 resettlement households, Ms. HJK’s household did not received the red book since the house was handed over in 2006. Ten years ago, due to lack of the red book, the family could not take the mortgage to apply for a bank loan. Community’s responses In 2009, the village leader reported to the commune authorities. Recently, the villagers have made complaint letters to the village self-governing board, which recapitulated and sent them to the commune People’s Committee. So far, the commune authorities have not responded to the people, but have verbally answered at meetings with voters. With problems, families have sent complaining letters since 2009 to village authorities, but received no reply. Dai Hong commune community Hydropower impacts Dong Phuoc and Duc Tinh villages, Dai Hong Commune, Dai Loc District, Quang Nam Province, are located in the middle stream of Vu Gia river. The people in the two village live mainly on agriculture with the main crops including rice and cash crops such as cassava, corn, beans, and watermelon that are grown on the fat alluvial soil with a main water source from Vu Gia River. From 2009 up to now, people's lives have changed due to changes in the flow regime of the Vu Gia River, especially from early 2013 to now. Another important source of income for many families is fishing in the river. A survey conducted by the villagers found that 48 aquatic species appeared before the hydropower was built; 43 of which were fish (including two rare species recorded in the Red Book of Vietnam) and 5 other species such as shrimp, crabs, and snails. This is the main source of income for 50 fishing households in Dong Phuoc and Duc Tinh villages. With hundreds of families who have irregular fishing, fish and shrimp are important sources of nutrients for daily meals. Waterway transportation on the Vu Gia River used to be very popular in Dai Hong commune. The commune fishing fleet goes all the way upstream and downstream, including 40 cargo ships, and 120 boats to carry passengers. 119

Cascade hydropower projects in the upstream of Vu Gia River have seriously altered the river flow regime and have had a devastating effect on the community in recent years in a more serious manner. Water level surveys conducted by Dai Hong commune in 2015 noted that low flow occurred earlier than before (January instead of March), sometimes even in the rainy season. River water level at low season is much lower than before. Floods on the river are abnormal and are able to appear in the sunny season. During floods, water flow speeds up and water rises rapidly. In terms of land, production land area covered by sand reduces the overall area of production. For example, in 2010-2012, the production area in the commune was 445 hectares. After two years to 2014, this number is reduced to 437 hectares. The bad thing is that crop fields, such as cornfields, are often covered by sand that reduces yields, even failure of crops. As for fisheries, river biodiversity has been almost lost. At present, fishermen only find 3 types of less valuable fish, such as whitebaits, dory, and tilapia. Many types of valuable fish are reduced, even less than one tenth of what they were before. The number of fishermen in Dong Phuoc and Duc Tinh is now only about 25 households. Many of them left the Vu Gia River to other waters to fish. From 2010 onwards, since the river was divided by the dam and water at downstreams is low, the numbers of boat carrying agricultural products have fallen to 12 from 2010 to 2014. The number of passenger vessels has dropped from 120 (2004-2010) to 10 in 2014. These changes have had negative impacts on people's livelihood activities, such as sedimentation of sand and stone in fields, resulting in high investment costs and low economic efficiency; on declining fishing productivity due to the disappearance of some fish species so many households abandoned their traditional fishing jobs; and interrupted transportation on the river so people cannot transport goods or passengers. Ta Trach resettlement communities Hydropower impacts Impacts of the Ta Trach hydropower project is reflected in the story of two villages of Khe Song (Duong Hoa commune, Huong Thuy district) and Ben Van, Loc Bon commune (Phu Loc district) of Thua Thien Hue province. Duong Hoa commune has 450 households with 1783 people who are all Kinh people (up to 2014), located 12 km to the west of Huong Thuy town 120

(Thua Thien Hue province). The commune has five villages: Buong Tam Village, Ho, Ha, Thanh Van, and Khe Song. All villages are located downstream of the Ta Trach dam. Khe Song is a resettlement village and the villagers moved from the Ta Trach reservoir to the resettlement site in 2004. After resettling, the life of Khe Song people has had a lot of bad changes in their livelihoods. Most notably, production land is not sufficiently compensated and fishery resources are exhausted. Since 2004, there are 53 households in the village; 23 of which have been affected by the hydropower project with a total area of 236 hectares of forestry land. Until 2011, the state has compensated a half of the land, and so far 140 hectares have not been compensated yet. Villagers said that the number of alive fish decreased sharply in number and type. As participating in fish inventory, village fishermen recorded a number of aquatic species up to 40 before the dam was built, including many valuable high-value and rare species such as Chinh Hoa (eel), and many valuable fish such as Lau, Xanh, Hanh fish. The inventory in September 2014 shows that 14 species of fish are almost completely disappeared, and 8 species are reduced by more than 90%, all of which are of high economic value. There are also 7 types of low value fish such as tilapia, dory with increased yields as compared to before. Duong Hoa commune, Huong Thuy town, Thua Thien Hue province is affected by the Ta Trach hydropower project. In this commune, 224 households from 4 villages of Luong Mieu 1, Vinh Ha, Thanh Van 2, and Hai Nhanh who resided in the bed of the reservoir resettled in Ben Van village, Loc Bon commune, Phu Loc district, Thua Thien Hue province in July 2004. As in Khe Song, the authorities did not fully commit to exchange people’s forest land in Ben Van village. Up to April 20, 2011, only a half of the land area was allocated to the people. Residents in Ben Van said that the allocation of forest land was delayed for eight years, and in the meantime they would have lost their income of VND 12-15 million/year/ha (excluding the cost), and they proposed to compensate for this loss. In this village, before resettlement, most of the families in the village are fishers on the Huong River. Since moving to the resettlement site, they lost their fishing career, while there was very little agricultural land and no forest land allocated to them. Many of them are living in difficult conditions. In Ben Van village, there are families of lonely elderly people, especially the female elderly, who are over 70 years of age without any labor and significant assets. While waiting for compensation that they do not know 121

until when, they collect firewood or glean branches for sale from acacia plantation. People in the village often repeat the case of Mrs. B, who died in poverty but has not been compensated. Without farming land and forest land, many young people have to work away from home. Those who do not work far away are employed by owners of acacia forests. Villagers are very upset when they themselves do not have forest land to plant acacia, while around which there are owners of tens of hectares of forest. Community’s responses The Ben Van community has a high degree of consistency in the management of land acquisition records, inventory and “land for land” compensation. All records of the community and of the people are carefully archived. Later on, each family had strong grounds for a written complaint and the evidences were the cause of the villagers' success in asking the hydropower company and the government to compensate the 50% area of cultivation in the first phase. The people in Ben Van are continuing to carry out judicial actions to ask the government to deal with their legitimate interests. In Ben Van village, people still preserve and keep their documents on resettlement migration since the hydropower project’s community consultation in July 2004. That is the document of the workshop on community participatory discussion about the Ta Trach lagoon project in Thua Thien Hue province, May 2003, the second community workshop document in Thua Thien Hue Province in August 2003, and the participatory workshop document on Ta Trach Water Reservoir Project, Thua Thien Hue Province, from 07 to 10 November 2003. These papers documented compensation options, resettlement plans, livelihood restoration plans, and this is the basis for communities to request the government to fulfil their commitments. People always remind of the written commitments that authorities did not accomplished is "to ensure the resettlement households have more land than where they were without extra payment. In addition, forest land will be allocated without restrictions depending on the cultivation ability of local people”.

IMPACT AND INSTITUTIONAL ANALYSIS Types of hydropower impacts In the studied communities, it can be seen that over the decade, local people have mentioned positive impacts of hydropower projects such as access to electricity and clean water, strongly-built houses, improved health clinics and schools. However, issues caused by hydropower projects have prominently remained and seriously affected the lives of 122

communities. Damages caused by hydropower schemes have not been overcome over many decades, including: 1. Compensation for land losses is incomplete: In many communities, commitments on land compensation have been not made by the investors and the government as, in some cases, (Thua Thien Hue, Dak Lak, and Dak Nong), the project management boards have not fully taken into account land fund needed for community compensation. Some communities have just been allocated with half of total area as committed by the local authorities after many decades. 2. Compensation rates are inadequate to enable landowners to get another land area that has the same value to their land losses: With the compensation payment in multiple installments, local people do not have enough cash to buy new land (Dak Lak). In some communities, fragmentation compensation is applied. This means that local people just receive compensation for a part of land inundated, not the whole. This devaluates their property (gardens and houses in Dak Lak) 3. Losses of natural assets are not included that decrease local people’s livelihoods: These losses include freshwater aquaculture production resources, which is the nutrition source and the local people’s income source (Quang Nam, Dak Lak, and Thua Thien Hue). Many villages lose their grazing land and then lose livestock. Many communities suffer from loss of income from non-timber forest products. Other losses include the loss of water resources for transportation activities and the loss of transport livelihood (Quang Nam). Groundwater level in the downstream area (Quang Nam, Dak Lak) is decreased. Many communities reported the poor quality of compensated land and lack of water for irrigation. For those reasons, they cannot effectively carry out production activities or grow two crops that strongly affect their food security (Dak Nong, Dak Lak). Finally, due to land losses, many people have to seek jobs in faraway places, increasing their transportation expenses. 4. In the resettlement communities, there are errors with long-term and serious impacts on local people's lives: Commonly, infrastructure construction errors of resettlement areas do not ensure the lives of communities, such as quality of clean water supply system, village road system, and drainage system. Housing quality, especially errors in wall and floor design and construction can be easily observed. Subordinate works are not well designed to ensure hygienic conditions in the rural areas. For example, kitchen and well are constructed near to a toilet (Dak Lak).


There are other errors occurred during the compensation implementation such as missing the application of some households for land use right certificates or wrongly counting the number of family members for food support or land allocation. These errors make many families get hurt and fall into poverty when they get illnesses. The most obvious manifestation of such hurt is that households fail to get loans because of no mortgage. When they need to sell their property, their assets are underestimated and even may not be sold. Lack of production land, insufficient compensation, food shortage, and lack of savings make local people become vulnerable to loans with high interest rates. 5. Many resettlement sites are designed and built as urban style areas that do not fit the culture of ethnic minority communities: Residential areas are inappropriately planned in the mountain rural sites. Houses in the resettlement sites do not have enough gardening space for planting vegetables, and sometimes for raising livestock. In some communities, local people even cannot grow vegetables due to poor land (Quang Nam, Dak Lak). Planners seem to ignore population matters in the planning process of resettlement areas. Planning and constructing resettlement areas as urban areas leading to consequences being revealed after a couple of years is that there is no land for new-established households. Institutional factors of the compensation and resettlement processes Discussion with leaders of farmer groups 12 affected by hydropower projects reveals institutional causes of errors with consequences existing until now and many years later. However, these institutional causes have not been dealt with. Firstly, leaders and farmers confirmed that they were invited to participate in many meetings on the resettlement programs and informed about activities carried out by the hydropower project. They were also requested to cooperate in handing over land for the project as well as informed about the process of calculating land, and compensation policies for land and assets on land. Affected people were also informed about land tariffs and calculation of asset compensation. To some extent, local participation in the compensation process includes getting information and discussion - two lowest levels of participation in the 5-level participation ladder13.


The discussion minutes with farmer groups in Dak Lak, Dak Nong, Quang Nam, and Thua Thien Hue 13 Following steps include planning, monitoring, and problem solving.


In the hydropower project, local people are not invited to participate in the process of planning, monitoring, and supervising, especially in the construction process of resettlement areas. Both males and females do not satisfy with their house design as kitchens and wells are built near to toilets with septic tanks. They disagree with house arrangement in the urban style as these houses do not have either vegetable gardens or breeding farms (Dak Lak). Degrading houses, damaged water supply systems, and ruptured drainage systems results from the lack of local people’s participation in the monitoring process of construction quality. Local farmers indicated factors implied in messages that were sent to them. One example is the lack of land for compensation. In Ta Trach, for example, the government did not have any land fund to compensate the flooded land areas. Similarly in Dak Nong, people were promised to be allocated land areas for production activities but they knew later that there was no land fund to implement the commitment. Another example is that local people were not fully informed about hydropower consequences on water that severely affected their livelihoods so that they could have timely response plans. Farmers living in the downstream area, for example, were not informed about the potential loss of flows and that people might not receive any compensation or support for livelihood shift when livelihood of dozens of families living on river transportation did not exit. In the both upstream and downstream areas, severe impacts of hydropower on fish sources that are the main food and income of local people were not included in the compensation planning and informed to local people (Dak Lak, Quang Nam). Hydropower dam also reduce groundwater sources, severely reducing water supply for daily activities and production activities that contributes to increase local people’s production expenditure. Similarly, hydropower impacts on grazing land loss were not well discussed with the community for response strategies. The above mentioned examples demonstrate that local people’s rights to access to information are not ensured. The information was not properly and completely provided and many critical issues were not informed and thoroughly discussed with affected actors. According to standards applied to hydropower projects funded by international financial organizations, such as World Bank and Asian Development Bank, investors are responsible for providing local people with relevant information, for example, social and environmental impact assessment reports, resettlement programs, and livelihood restoration plans in the appropriate manner. This have not been done by domestic investors or done perfunctorily. 125

Another institutional factor that hinders resolution of conflicts between communities, the local authorities, and investors is access to justice. In most cases when benefit conflicts between investors and communities occur, these communities only use a tool of “making complaints” in the meetings of voters of the People's Councils’ delegates at all levels. In this way, community opinions are recognized but never resolved. Among communities involving in the network of farmer groups affected by hydropower projects, local people from a community in Thua Thien Hue have successfully filed a complaint. They have been partially compensated for their land losses. In some cases, conflicts between local communities and the authorities, and investors are handled by lawsuit. Another community in Dak Lak made a written complaint, but disadvantaged people, under the guidance of the People's Committee, filed their complaints to the village self-management board rather than exercised their right to appeal at the district court under Law on Complaints and Denunciations. Up to now, complaints made at the village level have been transferred to relevant agencies at the commune level but no response has been made.

ANALYSIS OF BARRIERS TO COMMUNITY PARTICIPATION Characteristics of communities affected by hydropower projects Listening to communities enables to get multiple dimensions of communities influenced by hydropower projects. Firstly, there are differences among ethnicity groups. Kinh people resides in Thua Thien Hue and Quang Nam and ethnic minority groups mostly live in Dak Lak and Quang Nam. These communities are prominently different in culture, especially language, lifestyle, and housing architecture. Indigenous ethnic minority communities suffer from huge impacts on culture, apart from impacts on land. Communities include indigenous people and emigrants. Some communities consist of habitants living there for a long time while some communities are emigrants, including Kinh people and ethnic minority groups in Dak Nong, Dak Lak. Among emigrants, some people are self-relocated and they freely reclaim forests and own land without official recognition as well as land use right certification. In terms of dam location, some affected communities are located in the reservoir area, or in the downstream area. Impacts of the dam on livelihoods of the communities in the upstream and downstream areas are very different, due to impact of changes in the dam’s water storage and discharge to the hydrological regime and the river ecosystem.


Communities are different in terms of resettlement level. Some communities have all villagers to be relocated (Quang Nam). In some communities, a group of villagers is subject to resettlement (Dak Lak, Thua Thien Hue) while local people in other communities are not displaced (Dak Lak, Dak Nong). Relocated communities need to adapt new housing and new livelihoods but they do not often receive full supports. Barriers of communities One factor that hinders community participation, especially ethnic minority’s participation, is shame about vulnerability. This shame may result from their ability to express their opinions in ethnic languages to the government cadres and investors. These cadres claim that they have a right to use the common language, but these cadres and ethnic minority villagers do not know that right to express opinions in ethnic languages is defined in the constitution14. To understand local people’s opinions, local authorities need to provide interpretation. Discussions with communities affected by the hydropower project show the lack of understanding of substantive laws. This is a crucial barrier to the successful implementation of compensation and resettlement programs without any conflicts arisen with local people. People’s right to participation is stipulated in the Ordinance on Grassroots Democracy. Regulations on complaints and denunciations are important foundations for people to protect their rights. Local people can apply Law on Inspection with regulations on people's inspection to exercise the right of supervision to the construction of resettlement areas. In addition, these communities can refer to Law on Land, Law on Forest Protection and Development, and Law on Water Resources to supervise investors in order to ensure community benefits in the process of compensation and resettlement. An intrinsic barrier among communities is lack of storage system of documents related to commitments made by investors and the local authorities (who are usually the contractor of investors to conduct site clearance and land compensation). Many households do not keep resettlement compensation contracts and asset accounting minutes. They said that during the accounting process, implementers made a copy of the accounting minutes with signatures of family’s representatives and they kept it later. 14

Regulations on using ethnic languages and common language in ethnic minority areas: http://thuvienphapluat.vn/van-ban/Giao-duc/Quyet-dinh-53-CP-chutruong-chu-viet-cac-dan-toc-thieu- so/44140/noi-dung.aspx


Lack of adequate communication skills is also a hindrance that was revealed through discussions with resettlement groups and affected communities. Gaps in communication skills are in arguments or views made by local people that are not well and strongly supported with true evidences (as they lack understanding of general laws and written agreements made between investors and families/communities, meeting minutes with voters, or meeting minutes with local people). Community groups are not enough capable to develop and implement a detailed action plan with clear objectives. Systems of supporting and connecting communities resettled or affected by the hydropower project is a prominent issue emerged during discussions. Local people live far away from centers and areas with supporting services, such as judicial services. They have no access to financial support so that they can implement their right to complaints. Community groups located far from centers cannot participate in the network of organizations so that they can support or learn from each other. Access to the media for public support is also a challenge to communities.

RECOMMENDATIONS FOR COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT Based on the institutional analysis, community strengths and barriers and to achieve equal development among communities affected by hydropower projects; governmental agencies, investors, and community supporting organizations should consider to adjust compensation and resettlement programs that focus on the two main tasks: removing obstacles and building capacity to empower communities to resolve their own problems. Suggested activities for obstacle removal includes: - Ensuring real participation of local people who are affected by the hydropower project. Real participation may include the right to participation in the compensation process, the right to getting information from social and environmental impact assessment reports in an appropriate and readable form, the right to supervising public works in the resettlement villages. - Linking affected communities to justice services, technical specialists, and journalists to remove barriers or gaps of the communities to supporting sources. Suggested activities for capacity building consist of: - Improving local people’s communication skills to work with stakeholders at the district and provincial levels. 128

- Improving information collecting, analyzing, and storing skills in dialogues or negotiations with stakeholders, or complaints. - Raising awareness of local people, their representatives, and their delegates about substantive regulations so that they can use this source in discussions or litigations on compensation and resettlement. - Strengthening and networking farmer groups for capacity building. Linking groups far apart for knowledge and information sharing is challenging but this can be implemented with a young coordinator who can work through the social network. However, almost no farmer group has a young representative.



INTRODUCTION Sekong, Sesan, and Srépok (3S) are the three major and important rivers of the Mekong river. The flow of the 3S impacts over 17,000 inhabitants residing along them. The modernization and urbanization processes of Vietnam have accelerated the national energy demand. In the Central Highlands, in the recent years, a massive number of hydropower projects have been planned and ratified with a hope to generate sufficient energy for the region’s development. This region is amongst the ones that has the highest number of hydropower projects at the moment. As statistics show, only on the 3S, there have been nearly 80 small and medium sized hydropower projects recognized, while 50 of them are operating. In A Luoi (Thua Thien Hue), Cu Jut (Dak Nong), and Buon Don (Dak Lak) districts, the hydropower plants of all sizes have divided the rivers into pieces, which have been impacting negatively in many ways and long-term manners to the sustainable and stable development of hundreds of households living along them. Amongst these households, the most vulnerable and impacted are those who were resettled by the hydropower projects. The journey to voice and gain their rights and benefits, in parallel with the struggles to survive and rise up in the new places have shown significant challenges, growing unrest, and serious consequences. From September 2015 to June 2017, CSRD under the sponsorship by Oxfam implemented the project “Piloting Gender Impact Assessment with A Luoi and Srépok 3 dam along the 3S river area in the Central and Central Highland Vietnam” (GIA1) with an overall goal of supporting the dam 130

companies and related government agencies to be able to take stronger consideration of gender in hydropower development along the 3S river area in the Central and Central Highlands of Vietnam. Shortly after GIA1 ended, since the need to maintain and promote the initiated changes by the project, especially with a focus of impact on women groups was mutually agreed amongst stakeholders, a follow-up project titled “Enhancing Gender Equality and Women Empowerment in dam affected communities along the 3S river area in the Central and Central Highland Vietnam� (GIA2) were implemented. This chapter is based on the evaluation of changes generated by GIA1 project and GIA2 projects in the target communities at various levels, as well as explores what have not been changed and what are the barriers to changes and possible recommendations to make changes serving the planning of future interventions. The evaluation is employed in the 04 communities affected by hydropower on the 3S of Dak Lak province. They are the target communities of GIA2 project, including communities of Tri A village (Krong Na commune, Buon Don district), Tan Phu village (Ea Nuol commune, Buon Don district), Drai village and Ea Tung village (Ea Na commune, Krong Ana district). The focus of the evaluation is women of these groups, where the changes of their life quality, status, and position would be explored. Also, changes of the other players at various levels would be assessed. The evaluation is employing these two sources of data: primary and secondary. Inspired by the Theory of Change proposed by Oxfam, the evaluation would take a close look into stories of change in individual, group and higher level and untimately generalise a model of change that isshaped by the project. The secondary data was collected and analysed from project’s materials: proposals, approval documents, activity reports, as well as research reports, reports of field trips, study tours, workshops or policy advocaty materials and other relevant documents. The primary data was collected, analysed, and synthetised on the basis of using triangulation method: observations, in-depth interviews, and focus group discussions. The field trips in communities of Ea Tung, Tri A, Drai, and Tan Phu were carried out. In-depth interviews were done with a focus on representatives from local communities, local leaders, and project staff. Meanwhile, focus group discussions were deployed comprehensively with adequate participation of members of community groups of Ea Tung, Tri A, Drai, and Tan Phu.


INTERVENTIONS BY GIA1 AND GIA2 PROJECTS Project design The projects were designed based on the inheritance and follow-up activities of the GIA1 project, assessment results, and research results of projects on gender, hydropower development, and development intervention at the Central region in particular and areas influenced by impacts of hydro-power projects in general. The project objectives, outputs, and activities were developed and recommended based on a recognition of limited roles, voices, and proactive participations of women in the community and families; insufficient evaluations and practice of gender needs in development planning and interventions; or the lack of community institutions that are strong enough to demonstrate women's roles, voices as well as their actions; and finally, the absence of GIAs concerning impacts of hydropower on related communities that caused fragmented understandings, interests and practices in GIA. Activities of the GIA1 project The GIA1 consists of 12 activities and was implemented from September 2015 to June 2017. However, in the scope of this assessment, only one activity was analyzed, which was implemented from December 2016 to March 2017, including the GIA activity of A Luoi hydropower projects in Thua Thien Hue. The project completed a gender impact assessment of hydropower projects on the Srépok River (December 2016). This assessment focuses its research areas on communities affected by the Srépok hydropower 3, 4, and 4A projects which were built on the Srépok River, in Buon Don district, Dak Lak Province. It was a collaborative effort of the Social and Environment Impact Assessment Group (SEIA), the WARECODE - a member of VRN, and CSRD the project implementation agency. With the employment of standardized research methodologies, gathering interdisciplinary professionals, and consultations to a good number of different stakeholders, especially local communities, the report has pointed out many negative and multidimensional impacts on local people, the resettlement communities, and especially women had to suffer, as well as long-term impacts of hydropower on the biodiversity, soil, and water quality of the whole downstream area, and so on. The assessment report has also given significant findings on impacts of hydropower on communities in the research area, especially gender impacts, through which it proposes a


number of recommendations to enhance the interest and practice of gender impact assessment in hydropower development. Activities of GIA2 project Community network meetings: The project organized meetings among community groups affected by hydropower projects in Dak Lak to interact, discuss action plans, and recommend gender supports for women groups. The workshop included a training on knowledge and skills for business planning, and production models for the groups’ livelihood development. At the workshop, the GIA report of the SrÊpok River hydropower, which was conducted by the project in December 2016, has also been introduced to the related stakeholders to raise their awareness of the importance of GIA in hydropower projects. The workshop had 54 attendants (41 females, 13 males). Capacity building trainings for women: Throughout the project, various trainings were provided to the member of community groups, with an emphasis on women’s need. There were 5 training sections done, with essential topics such as leadership, meeting organization, negotiation, stakeholder analysis or business/production planning in order to help local people, especially women to work more effectively with related stakeholders, access to financial resources, and establish relationships to participate more effectively in local social-economic development activities and ensure their stable lives. The trainings, with interactive approaches and methods, were conducted either separately with each group or all together with all the 4 ones. Establishing women-led community groups to support their livelihood development: With a desire to improve positions, voices, and roles of women in their families and those of communities affected by hydropower, the project has supported the establishment of community groups consisting of mainly women and were led by women in the 4 target project communities. Up to March 2017, there were 4 community groups with a total of 53 members, including 45 women and 8 men. All these groups are currently active. Some of them also receive interests and appreciation from local government. Some groups have a good attraction to new members. The groups was formed with the participation of a number of community leaders or prestigious ones. Each one developed and approved their operation regulation as well as production plan on their own. In parallel at meetings for group establishment and group operation promoting, capacity-building and promoting activities for community group cohesion were also facilitated. These groups, with the facilitation of the 133

project consultant group, have actively discussed economic models, developed a business plan and gradually consolidated their operations. The Ea Tung group has contributed capitals to develop the wild boar raising model; the Tri A group decided to revive the renowned Ruou Can (pipe wine) product of the Don village with traditional forest leaf yeast, that was named Don Keng Ti; and the Tan Phu group has established the Tan Phat agriculture service cooperative group with a production plan for clean and safe coffee and pepper in the near future. As for the Buon Drai group, they could not promote their cooperation due to a failure in final mutual agreement in deciding what to do together. In addition to training activities for business planning and promoting group establishment, the project actively took advantage of resources and opportunities for groups developing, products promoting, and partners connecting. Particularly, the project has supported the Tri A group to develop and print the label of Don Keng Ti and advertising leaflets, establish a Facebook page and post contents, then transferred to group members for their management, as well as to take other connection opportunities such as the end-of-project workshop or the dialogue forum to introduce the Ruou Can product to customers in and outside Dak Lak province. For the Tan Phu group, the project has invited a clean coffee enterprise from Hue city, which also imported coffee from a supplier in Dak Lak province, to visit the group farm to promote business cooperation between the two sides. Developing communication and policy advocacy materials: The project has developed a number of communication materials about the GIA practice and lessons, informed and widely shared the GIA in order to enhance concerns about GIA in water governance and hydropower development. Based on the results of the hydropower GIA on the SrÊpok river, which was conducted in the GIA1 project, brief recommendations on GIA-related policies for hydropower projects were developed and delivered to various stakeholders. In parallel to that, trainings on environmental protection/waste classification... were provided to communities to equip them with more knowledge of monitoring environmental protection commitments and GIA. In addition, during the workshops or (non-)official meetings with related stakeholders, the importance and imperative of the GIA in hydropower projects have always been integrated to provide information to expand and enhance the understandings and awareness about GIA among different groups. Developing, designing, and printing the community photo-book: A photobook encompassing community’s voices through stories and images 134

produced by the people themselves, was developed. Earlier, the four community groups were trained with skills for photo shooting, communication knowledge, and storytelling to develop the photo-book. A total of 40 participants attended 4 training sessions. Each lasted one day. There were 44 photos and short stories, divided into 3 themes: "Hydropower and the thirst of the river", "Gender in community development", and "Women are change agents". The book is a tool for inhabitants of the four communities, especially women to reflect their angles, perspectives, and assessments of social and environmental impacts of hydropower projects on the community in which they are living. The photo-book has been utilized as a tool for communication and policy advocacy to enhance interests on gender issues and women development in hydropower development. Photo exhibition and networking workshop: In June 2017, the project held a photo exhibition and networking workshop for community female leaders, women affected by hydropower projects, and other relevant stakeholders. Participants were more than 90 people, including beneficiary community groups of the GIA1 and GIA2 projects, representatives of local governments of different levels of Dak Lak Province, local nongovernmental organizations, and press agencies... In the exhibition event, community group members introduced photos and stories of their lives under hydropower impacts, thereby to enhance understandings, awareness, and concerns about those impacts. The networking workshop included presentations by experts about the role/woman's life in the context of socio-economic and hydropower development; shares of the communities about their current difficulties, solutions, and hopes under impacts of the hydropower projects; and the focus was the interaction and dialogue with straightforward perspectives and experience to solve existing problems in communities affected by hydropower among provinces. These events were also opportunities to strengthen interactions and dialogues among related stakeholders to discuss cooperation modes and action plans to further promote the implementation of compensation commitments of hydropower companies to communities that still consisted of many inadequacies. The workshop was also an opportunity for the groups to introduce their production activities, display their products (such as the Ruou Can group) to create connections and future cooperation.


Traditional physical barriers broken, social relationships expanded, and self-confidence increased Individually, the positive change often highlighted by the project, especially for women in the project communities, is that they have had the opportunity to come out, expose and communicate to the open world, and boarden their horizons, then know a lot of about the society and expand their social relationships. For some ethnic minority women, the project gave them the opportunity to be the first time in their life to go to the city, stay in a hotel, know how to use hotel services, take the plane and/or travel to other provinces and cities. For these women, these "first" milestones help them start a change with "joy", "excitement" and "comfort", as if they have been out of the small daily circle and have boardened their knowledge from a long-lasting narrowed viewpoint. “I went to the city, to Dam San Hotel; this is the first time in my life I was there "(Female, 42 years old, Tri A Village).”I got on the plane for the first time (thanks to the Hanoi trip funded by the project" (Female, 23 years old, Tri A Village). “Since the project implementation, I am more fun than ever, thanks to meeting people in the group, all ages, I love my life more and feel myself younger. When there was no project, I am only at home, flutter in the walls, do not know what to do except for the household work. However, now I have exchanged, been less self-shy and been more confident "(Female, 42 years old, Tri A Village). “My life is better as I have met the other females in the group, shared and confided many things (Female, 27 years old, Tri A Village).”For myself, the most meaningful change is to be here and there, boarden the horizon, know more things - also thanks to part of the experience from the trips - taking the ferry in An Giang (Hoa Binh Hotel) opening the hotel by magnetic card - opening tap water. All makes people more confident. I was in Danang, Hue, and An Giang" (Female, 61 years old, Ea Tung village). More importantly, opportunities for communication with the new people are also the opportunities for learning, enhancing their understanding, expressing their difficulties, concerns and pressures. This is the basis for the community, especially for women to confidently raise their voices in various forms, from giving inputs for research, to presenting community stories in public, presenting their issues at conferences as well as participating in the interactive discussion sessions.


"More confident in communicating with people" (Female, 27 years old, Tri A Village). "Personally, I become more confident to speak up my voices and more confident in communication" (A female respondent, 31 years old, Ea Tung village). "Participating in activities makes me more optimistic, feeling less pressured. I am more confident to express my opinions and aspirations. I also realized that my voice becomes more important in my family and my society " (A female respondent, 17 years old, Tri A village). "More confident than before; previously, I worked for the Women’s Union (the village official), but I was really not confident. The more time, information, and knowledge I have gained from participating in the project activities, the more confidence in discussions and debates I have been" (A female respondent, 51 years old, Ea Tung village). Self-confidence in thinking, expressing, and presenting their opinions are also true for the men participating in the project. However, if women's confidence stems from opportunities to speak and express their thoughts, man’s thoughts, needs, and confidence are based on the growth of knowledge depending on their established social position. "I am more confident in communication, more knowledgeable in social issues. I am better aware of the rights; I am more aware in my work and in social issues" (A male respondent, 31 years old, Ea Tung village). “I feel more self-confident, have a better view of things, and a better sense of my social position" (A male respondent, 52 years old, Ea Tung). Improved knowledge, thinking, and vision related to life and production of themselves and their communities Trainings for communities were regularly deployed in integration with major activities of the project, including: trainings on leadership and group management, women leadership; business/production plan establishment; meeting organisation; storytelling skills and photography; negotiation skills; sakeholder analysis for action planning. By participating in research, training sessions and taking pictures for the photobook, local people, including women, are becoming increasingly aware of the use and management of natural resources, as well as stakeholders with different roles, benefits and capacities in the use of natural resources, including water resources, as well as the rights of the people there. "I am more aware of the environment - the impacts of the environment - make us more aware of environmental protection 137

know what to do to protect the environment" (A female respondent, 30 years old, Ea Tung village) "Many perceptions and changes cannot be told. Thanks to participation in many activities of the project: two trips to Hanoi, one aboard trip, and trips to Gia Lai, Hue, Da Nang and Buon Me Thuot. We have learnt a lot more about our positions, our interests, and who are taking advantages of state policies" (A male respondent, 63 years old, Ea Tung village). "I realized what I need to fight for. For example, the rights to claim the benefits from impacts of the hydropower projects; previously, I only thought that it was the state’s mission, I had no right to say" (A male respondent, 31 years old, Ea Tung village). "I have learnt a lot thanks to trips to Gia Lai, An Giang, Dong Thap, and Thailand. In their country, the forest is intact and the fishes are not exploited in the way they are in our country, so I am more knowledgeable in the protection of natural resources and environment" (A female respondent, 52 years old, Drai village). "Through the workshops I have understood more the environmental impacts of the hydropower projects, its impacts on genders, its impacts on the lands and people's lives. Joining the group, we are excited with the imaging tools, and know the environmental and water resource impacts through the community monitoring group" (A male respondent, 61 years old, Drai village). New knowledge about organization and group leadership, production and business organizations is also promoted in exchange and practice. "I am personally excited when being accessed to policies and laws that I have not known before (Female, 58 years old, Ea Tung village). "Learning teamwork skills – knowing how to assign tasks and missions - knowing how to run a business - applying to the family for better business work." (A female respondent, 31 years old, Ea Tung village). "Better leadership through learned skills; knowing how to call for a united group, making group more effective. Organizing the work better" (A male respondent, 52 years old, Ea Tung village).�Knowing how to manage more effectively the family in production and gardening" (A male respondent, 31 years old, Ea Tung village). "Thanks to the training sessions, I know more on how to organize production and business. From the day I entered the project, I have 138

learned to apply science and technology (such as internet, facebook), connected to the network to find information and ask questions. I have also known and seen the importance of researching and developing the market for my products" (A female respondent, 39 years old, Tri A Village). More importantly, through the exchange of knowledge, information, and practices in the development of production groups are initially effective (see also 3.1.4), thinking about group work and agribusiness is gradually being developed, which can serve as a foundation for developing clean agriculture, agribusiness and/or business development led by women. "With the initial funding and people with experience in the production group, I am confident about the success of the group. Particularly, my family has just invested a few more goats to raise and will add more wild boars in the future. We are very hopeful about the upcoming economic improvement of the family" (A female respondent, 30 years old, Ea Tung village). "From the moment I entered the project, I had the idea of doing something to produce and do business - to increase my income - for example selling pancakes, or raising chickens. In the past, I was like a frog sitting at the bottom of a well, I think that everything is fine but now, I feel I'm short and weak on my field, and even do not dare to do anything. For example, in the past, I did not dare to venture capital, previously I was only work online as middlemen - I later have imported goods for sale - risked a little more. (A female respondent, 23 years old, Tri A village). Groups formed, communities productivity promoted





The project provided technical and financial supports (although all groups used this small amount of money to invest in their production) to form women-led business groups. Groups, basing on theories of group, group leaders, and group activities, formulated their group operation regulations, including those approved and recognized by the Commune People's Committee, which is an important legal basis for decisions regarding the attraction of external resources. All groups have scheduled their activities and scheduled regular exchange activities. In terms of production orientation, drivers such as strengths, advantages of local women, and market demand are given priority by the groups. As a result, three groups in three communities have been established and operated, including wide boar feeding development group of Ea Tung village, the Tan Phat clean 139

coffee and pepper group of Tan Phu village (see Box 6.1) and Can Wine group of Tri A Village. Box 6.1: Tan Phat cooperative model of production and trading of clean pepper and coffee Tan Phu village was separated from EaMtha 2 village by the Srépok 3 hydropower project in 2009, the village is located along the roads leading to the hydropower plant and the Srépok 3 hydropower reservoir. The village has 148 households, 594 people, and 9 brotherhood ethnic groups living together. Since the Srépok 3 hydropower project implemented compensation, local lives of the households have turned upside down. They initially had to move to new places and despite of many difficulties, they have quickly integrated into the common life of the country. Households in the village have tried to propagandize and help each other search for and learn economic development models that tend to be really sustainable, in harmony with the market mechanism of the developing country. Since then, the attention of the Communist Party, the People's Committee of Ea Nuol Commune and the full and responsible support of the Center for Social Research and Development, have helped the households in Tan Phu village which were influenced by the Srépok 3 hydropower project, to jointly explore and unite to form a cooperative group producing and trading clean and sustainable peppers and coffees. The group was founded and held the conference for its launching on May 29. The total members are 17 households with 10 hectares of peppers and coffees. The co-operative group was established with the aim of linking the households sharing the coffee and pepper production area with the processing and trading business having the same-purpose of interconnecting private economic development to a group of shared interests for all. As a member of the cooperative group, you will be supported with preferential loans from the Fund for Support of Unions and Policy Banks; be trained in cultivation, care of pepper and coffee in a clean and sustainable way; be informed of the benefits of participation, the steps of establishment, the way to organize the sustainable development and management of operation process and techniques, ways towards the cooperative group development; members of the group are supported in business production as the indispensable trend in the production of the integration period. Production and business of the cooperative group are likely to reduce input costs by jointly buying staples, increasing access to scientific and technical applications, negotiating the same product sales 140

market and raising values of the goods and are more likely to receive and transfer new science and technology; collaborate on the management of the gardens; agree to be able to carry out large contracts in terms of quantity and price to get a better reception of clean agricultural products on the market. Our co-operative organization, although newly established, has initially achieved some developmental and stable results. 

  

Signed contracts with a number of organizations and individuals, such as technical guidelines meetings for growing and supplying clean pepper seeds with superior quality to the market. Contracted with and invested by Song Danh fertilizer company in Dak Lak branch and being invested by a construction company in a clean coffee model at the Group. The co-operative group has built up capital to support its members in difficult situations, to get support from the local authorities and assist the legal procedures in the group's activities. Cooperative group becomes a bridge to create conditions for members to easily approach scientists and entrepreneurs, thereby creating a more scientific and effective production method. Building a model for members which monthly visit the garden and exchange experience between members who do well and need to improve more.

Tan Phat cooperative group wishes to continuously receive the intentions and supports, incentives, information updates and promotional supports in the market, etc. Forming groups is an important driver in promoting community solidarity, especially for resettlement communities. "The other members in the group are very happy to participate in local activities, so that people are more united, especially through the village meetings - participating in the performance, gong dance Xoang dance - 30/4 festival - Lao New Year" (A female respondent, 28 years old, Tri A Village) "Uniting the people, cooperating economic development - bringing benefits to many parties - meeting the aspirations of the parties – they are all what the State wishes to be" (A male respondent, 63 years old, Ea Tung village). The group is also a place for members to share their knowledge and experience related to the collective production as well as individual 141

production activities. As a result, collective production and individual productivity gains are increased. “Accepted to be in the group, a product made by myself was praised by others, I am happier and more self-confident" (A female respondent, 42 years old, Tri A Village). "Have fun because the product has become a brand. Previously wine product was sold separately but now we do it in group" (A female respondent, 27 years old, Tri A village). "I am happier thanks to meeting the other members, sharing, and talking more" (A female respondent, 26 years old, Tri A Village). "Learning from the group to apply for family production - for example, how to grow a wide boar… - how to plant / care for tomatoes - how to make them bloomed - using red coppers to wash the garden and treat for the peppers ... type, dosage, duration of use ... I have known all more" (A female respondent, 31 years old, Ea Tung village). "Livestock is smoother than ever before (growing vegetables, raising livestock) - thanks to be more knowledgeable, sightful, wellconnected, I have sold better than before - so the family condition is better" (A female respondent, 28 years old, Tri A village). In addition to exchanges on production and business, group meetings are also the opportunities for women to share experiences in family care and family well-being. "Every time we go out to make some wine, we meet and talk about many things, especially the family, the feelings, the behavior of the woman and the brides... – I have not married so I asked for suggestions and eventually changed my mind. In the past, I thought that when I marry, then I should overwhelm the husband but now as other married member’s shares, there are many ways to deal in harmony, and the husband agrees so, too. Marrying life depends on how the couple deals with each other" (A female respondent, 23 years old, Tri A village). The status and role of women in the family and economic activities were enhanced One of the featured changes made by this project was the improved status and role of women in the family and economic activities. This was attributed to the improved awareness of gender issues of men and women. Furthermore, active involvement of women in their group activities was also proved more economically and socially efficient. 142

"The men, upon their participation in gender equity training sessions, have their mind changed significantly. They are more sympathetic in that they create favorable conditions for their women to join in the activities, especially to go out. (A female respondent, 51 years old, Ea Tung village). "I myself perceive more clearly the role of women in the family, i.e. how to behave, treat others, and communicate more effectively, what should and should not be said. I become a confident woman who could speak out when necessary. I should be a more sympathetic listener. I used to dominate my husband and others. Now, I have tried to be more harmonious" (A female respondent, 30 years old, Ea Tung village). "I do not speak out much in the meetings, but my conversations and idea exchanges within the group are much improved than before. My family supports my involvement in project and I can manage to attend any meeting. I have been happier when joining the group. Whenever I feel sad, I invite others member to gather and set fire to make wine. To be a group member and able to brew a product of wine appreciated by others, I feel so happy and confident." (A female respondent, 42 years old, Tri A village). Box 6.2 illustrates a story of change of a female beneficiary. The positive result was that the communication between the husband and wife in the family and production activities was made more efficiently and household chores were shared more equally. "In the family, we husband and wife often discuss the production techniques and spending. The discussions are more effective since the wife now has more information and experiences. We are more equal in information sharing� (A female respondent, 51 years old, Ea Tung village). "In the family, it seems to me that I have shared more work with my wife" (A male respondent, 52 years old, Ea Tung village). Regarding women leadership in the project groups, except for the "can" wine-making group in Tri A village, women often played the role of the vice leaders. The male leaders who had more experiences in leadership and management of cultivation would gradually transfer their knowledge and empower their female members in the group. One female vice leader told us: "I was very excited at the formation of the group. With the trust from other female members, I agreed to be the vice team leader. I 143

have various pressures from the family to make time for this position besides other work such as looking after the children, running our grocery store, and cultivating. However, with the guidance from the team leader and knowledge from the workshops and exchanges, I have gradually gained confidence to run the group." Box 6.2: The story of change of Mrs. TTH In the past, hydropower issues made me so frustrated. This deadlock and other economic pressure made me more stressed. At that time, I had just made the separation of household registration and been in economic hardship with limited land. As a Kinh person, it was suffering for me. I could not imagine how worse it was to other ethnic minorities. The frustration overwhelmed me that I could not restrain. Even when I traveled to Da Nang, the refusal and ignorance of related authorities (Central Hydro Power JSC) made me crazy. After many interactions with people in similar situation, I think that I should change my attitude and leave negative thinking behind. Now when I see people who are furious at the issues like me, I try to restrain my own feeling, talk to them and share my story to make them better...We need to calm down, refrain, and grow confident." Before, I also liked to help other people, but at the lower level. Now whenever I see someone who needs help, I will try my best and consider the way to make it work well; I would even talk to them and give them advice. For example, to stop a couple from fighting and relieve them, I would help them calm down and resolve the problem. In the past, I was too tempered to persuade anybody. Whenever I offer help to someone, I feel so relieved and happy. I always expect people around me to be happy and comfortable. Sometimes when my reconciliation failed, I felt sad but would try to find another way. The relationship with my husband was not good as we disagreed in many issues such as money, family relations and sharing chores; we had so different characteristics. I was too tempered and could not find the way to persuade him. Now, I have known the method to make it work. Thanks to the projects, I have learnt many skills, especially "self-reflection"- analyzing what is right and wrong, reflecting what I have done whenever I go back home. My decisions on expenditure are more rational thanks to the persuasion and monitoring skills of a wife... One benefit of joining in the group is that the traders could no longer force us to accept any price they offer. We could also have market access and share knowledge and techniques. Now we work in discipline rather than "working whenever we feel like to do". In the past, my husband would not 144

allow me to go out and attend meetings. My situation is better than others. By conversations, I would persuade men to be more open to their wives. Exchanges between communities promoted, voices between communities associated, and cultural identities enhanced The project has created the opportunities for community members, women included, to participate in many forums, conferences, and workshops from which a number of communication, knowledge and experience sharing channels between communities were formed. "We have connection with other community groups from which we could learn from them and develop our business ideas" (A male respondent, 63 years old, Ea Tung village). "Via many workshops, I have met and made active discussions with many other groups. We have shared knowledge on social issues and business model� (A female respondent, 42 years old, Tri A Village). The groups have initially been connected, with high appreciation, to local government at the communal level. The project should facilitate stronger efforts to connect local resources at different levels so that these groups could develop in a more sustainable manner in the future. "My group is acknowledged by the district and commune. It is so good. We women have made remarkable progress." (A female respondent, 39 years old, Tri A village). "The development of our group has been encouraged by local governments at the district and commune level� (A female respondent, 57 years old, Ea Tung village). “The solidarity and cooperation for economic development bring about benefits for all stakeholders and satisfy our desire. The State would highly appreciate this" (A male respondent, 63 years old, Ea Tung village). "The model of wild boar raising was reported to the commune and received good feedback. It would be a good model for other places" (A female respondent, 58 years old, Ea Tung village). Furthermore, the formation of other groups with view of developing traditional products would enable the restoration of traditional and indigenous values which have been vulnerable in resettlement communities (See Box 6.3). "Joining the group, I learn the techniques of brewing "can" wine. Before I did not know that we had our own forest yeast for winemaking. I can learn a lot from others, especially the experiences in 145

"can� wine making. Thanks to joining the group, my knowledge has been better than before. It is a great pleasure to restore a traditional product of our ethnic group. Our regret is that the products have not sold out. They have not well received by the market yet. We have used all our capital thus our wine-making is paused. We hope that the selling of products is improved to maintain our business. This will make us happiest� (A female respondent, 42 years old, Tri A village). Box 6.3: Don Keng Ti pipe-wine By the fire and pipe-wine (ruou can) jars, stories are told. If the Kinh people start their conversation by offering pieces of betel nuts, we the Highland people will begin our story by the Ruou Can jars. Each wine jar conveys the intimacy and attachment of local people. Ruou Can is also offered to our guests from other places to show our respect and hospitality. Besides, Ruou Can is considered as the symbol of our religion and respect to the forest gods. Thus, in every big festivals of the village such as the praying for health, praying for newly-wed couple and new rice festival, Ruou Can jars are indispensable. In the market, there are a number of Ruou Can brands such as Y Mien, Y Pao and etc. Each brand has its own characteristic recipe and taste. Our women group from Tri A village has studied and produced our own product to sell to the domestic market and later on the international markets. Don Keng Ti, originated from Lao language which means Ruou Can from Tri island village". The wine is brewed manually with our secret technique of the forest yeast. We always pay attention to the quality of the yeast which is carefully chosen and processed from the natural forest leaves and bulbs. We hope that each jar and drop of Ruou Can could convey our heart to every drinker and the support from our customers would encourage us to develop and fulfill our dream. *Pipe wine: wine drunk out of a jars through pipes/tubes Issues unchanged or have not yet been changed The voice of local people has not been listened, responded, and solved, especially in the issues of compensation and solutions for the coming and further impacts of the hydropower dams. Whereas the impacts of hydropower dam on local communities have been exerted in various aspects (economy, culture, gender, etc.), spaces (resettlement, downstream communities) and periods (construction of dams, operation of reservoir, water control, etc.), it is necessary that the 146

existing and new problems should be addressed properly through more effective communication channels. "Our land and garden have still been flooded; losses caused by the flood spillway and osmosis were estimated by the departments of planning and finance up to 13 billion dong. We suffered it all� (Mr. Hai, Ea Tung village). The voice of local people on the compensation issues has been heard. Yet, no solution has been made so far. Our complaining letters were not responded (A male respondent, Ea Tung village). "They did not answer many of our requests. They just postponed and forgot them (A male respondent, Ea Tung village). "Before we only dropped the net and expected a crowd. People at home just boiled water and waited for us to bring the fish/ shrimp home right away. Now, we would spend all day in vain unless we use electrofishing (A male respondent, Tri A Village). "We need clean water/water treatment system" (A female respondent, Tri A village). The following Box 6.4 presents the issues related to impacts of hydropower on the life and livelihood of Drai village people that have been not resolved. Box 6.4: Recommendations of the resettled households by hydropower dam project in Drai village Prior to the hydropower project, our life, soil, land, environment, and socioeconomic condition were rather stable. Each household had averagely around 1-4 hectares of land. Besides, we could cultivate 2 crops in our paddy fields and each household had around 0.2 to 0.5 hectare. After the establishment of the Buon Kuop hydropower project, our land in Drai Village was reclaimed to build the dam and the plan of land reclamation was made. The total area reclaimed was more than 300 hectares, including land for coffee trees and 2-crop paddy fields, etc. Upon the completion of the Buon Kuop hydropower dam project, we 129 households were resettled with each household allocated 400 m2 of land for production, a 40 m2 house and toilet and a 24 m2 area for toilet and kitchen. Recommendations and suggestions: 

It is proposed that the area of land allocated should be increased based on the number of household members since the average 0.5 147

     

hectare was not sufficient for local people to live on. Providing local people with boats and life jackets so that they could safely cross the river for farming or fishing. Reallocating the houses along the river and those facing landslide to a safe and high place. Allocating land for households and people whose land area was deducted in the compensation process Repairing the kitchens, toilets and fences in the resettlement area. Building a pumping station so that those who live far from the river could get water for their cultivation land. Providing electricity in cultivation area of local people.

Development interventions/supports have not paid real and due attention to gender issues Our finding is relevant to what was discussed in the study "Gender balance: assessing the impact of hydropower dams on the Srépok River". That is, despite the differences, even gender inequity in economic, spiritual, and community aspects, the hydropower projects as well as development interventions did not focus on gender issues. Therefore, besides the key role of community groups led by women, the project should continue to encourage the participation of all stakeholders, especially local policy makers, project developers, and hydroelectric companies in raising awareness and promoting practice of gender issues in development. The participation of other stakeholders, apart from the affected local community, have not been effectively mobilized As analyzed above, the project has effectively mobilized community participation, especially the participation of women, who were affected by the hydropower throughout the project activities. In addition, representatives from women’s unions at provincial, district, and communal levels, communal people’s committee, and other district agencies such as the departments of agriculture, department of labor, invalids, and social affairs also participated in several research and experience sharing activities, helping to solve some questions of the local in seminars and conferences. The involvement of the relevant hydropower plants ended right after the first phase when their representatives provided research data and participated in conference that informed the results. Although other smaller hydropower plants outside of EVN were more open to approach 148

and deploy new technology and models based on the principle to reduce impacts to the ecology and the local communities, their participation was also limited. “The research team also would like to thank the leaders of Buon Kop Hydropower Company and Srépok 3 Hydropower Plant for welcoming and providing us with information related to the process of construction, management, and operation of Srépok 3 Hydropower Plant. Although we regret that the company’s representatives could not be unable to be involved in the study as the initial design of the project, we hope that the relevant hydropower companies will use these research results in the future planning and developing of hydropower project in the direction of business responsibility: gender impact assessment of hydropower would be a great value for development interventions - such as hydropower – for all the different stakeholders with different development goals” (Extracted from the report “Gender balance: impact assessment of hydropower dams on the Srépok River”). Representatives of local policy makers and developers also did not participate in this project at any phase despite of the project invitations. At many conferences, local people strongly emphasized that the presence of local leaders would have helped to address and commit to solve many issues better. To increase the involvement of policy makers, hydropower investors, and hydropower companies is a challenge for the next phases of the project if there are issues related to policy advocacy and institutionalization (See also Figure 6.1). Outputs for the products of the cooperative groups have not been guaranteed Outputs for the products of the cooperative groups became of great interest to the production groups that were formed and developed under the support of the project. Although the project did not emphasize on the technical and financial support to the production development groups, it is very common for groups established at the community level - regardless community monitoring, environmental monitoring, or gender development groups - to have a desire for economic development. It is also more difficult to sustain them without developing a more autonomous economic model. Therefore, in the next phases, the project could support to develop proposal writing skills so that the community groups could develop their own proposals for funding or support for woman-led agribusiness and


economy. Box 6.5 presents a proposal of economic development of the Tan Phu village group. Box 6.5: An economic development proposal by Tan Phu village group To: Center for Social Research and Development We are members of Tan Phat cooperative group, Tan Phu village, Eu Nuol commune, Buon Don, Dak Lak. Now we prepare this proposal so that the center could support us in expanding the goat breeding model to our income, and provide us the amount of microbiological fertilizer annually for pepper and coffee planting to ensure their cleanness quality. Considering the chance for cost reduction and income increasing, we gathered and mobilized each member to contribute an investment of 3,000,000 (VND three million). And the contribution has reached: 51,000,000 (VND fifty one million). However, the amount is still too little compare to the estimated cost in order to raise goats that produce enough microbiological fertilizer for pepper planting. Below is the cost estimate for breeding and breeding facilities:





Wooden floor

Wooden walls

200 2 m





Quantity of goats Breeding




Price/ goat




The total cost of breed and cage is 175,000,000 (one hundred seventy million dong)

From the above estimated cost and the contributed fund from members, the group lacks capital to purchase breeding. Therefore, we are really in need of the support from the Center for Social Research and Development and sponsors. We kindly request your further consideration for supporting us. Sincerely thank. 21st July 2017 On behalf of Tan Phat group Vice chairwoman of the group Nong Thi Van Anh 150

LOOKING BACK: LESSONS LEARNT Learning circle The project was designed as a learning circle for project officers and managers as well as the target groups. Firstly, it is necessary to establish and maintain communications with hydropower companies. “The leaders of Buon Kuop hydropower company confirmed not to participate into the project as per their responding letter to CSRD as previously, as they were not able to arrange staff because of their huge loads of technical work. In addition, this is not a must assigned by EVN; however the project continues to maintain the communication channels with the company in terms of hydropower and development research”. The learning process of the research team also manifests in the fact that its members include many representatives from different organisations such as CSRD, social and environmental impact assessment (SEIA) group, VRN, and provincial women’s union, department of labor, war invalids, and social welfares and the office of the People’s Committee of Buon Don district. Via the process of working together, the team members were not only provided with chances to understand more about the tools employed by the research, but also directly chaired some discussions or discussed advancement/adjustment to contextualise the research method effectively. In tailoring the activities, the project was open to receive the ideas from stakeholders for proper adjustments. For instances, “after the first meeting with the leaders of Buon Don district in the morning of 24th August 2016, the research team had a discussion and then decided to expand the research location to Krong Na commune, which is the area where the M’Nong and Ede ethnic minority people have lived for generations under matrilineality, who are suffering the impacts of Srépok 4 and 4A hydropower. In addition, two villages including Ea Mar and Tri A, which were selected for the research location, should potentially give interesting comparisons, because Ea Mar villagers live more closely with the Kinh (who follow patrilineality), while Tri A village maintains almost their cultural structure and has a more separate lifestyle”. Or in training activities, the topics/ skills were planned based on the suggestions by the people in the previous meetings. Addressing the group power structure Amongst the project’s four target community groups, only three development models from three communities have been formed and operated well. The community group in Drai village had not come up with a mutual agreement on a cooperative model although the vice leader of the 151

group was very active and devoted. The project then found that the male group leader is a former local leader for years, who has knowledge and influential voice, and contribution for the community, but now since the family situation changed and he personally pursued a different goal, then the group could not reach a final decision. It would be difficult for changes to happen in the community as expected if the project does not fully understand and intervene properly to the power structure in the existing community group (see more at USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service 2005). This would take more time and efforts. Connecting/mobilizing resources The project was implemented in a short period of time and the scale of participating community is small but the project’s effectiveness and impacts have been achieved. It was because CSRD was successful in mobilizing different resources from various projects to support the communities of GIA1 and GIA2. Some specific examples can be listed out such as: The promotion of community to participate in monitoring environment and establishing local knowledge groups has helped the people to enhance their knowledge and better their management of local natural resources; the community lawyer assistance has helped the people to utilize legal tools to protect and struggle for their personal and community’s benefits; or financial support for some economic production models of the groups were deployed from the sources of the other projects. The 3-level change model The project has initiated important changes for the communities and their members who are under the negative impacts of SrÊpok hydropower development. Noticeably, the project has lodged their assistance timely to the communities who were already suffered from difficulties (ethnic minority groups, newly resettled in a new area...) and have just been added up with a shock caused by the changes in their life (livelihood, culture, health, education...), which doubled their hardship. In the common context of the communities, women who are already vulnerable take more damages from such impacts (see Oxfam 2017). Since the project focused on gender and empowerment of women in various levels, these results, if are continued to be consolidated and expanded could generate breakthroughs in gender equality and environmental justice that could have not been possible to be achieved without the disruption by hydropower projects.


THE ROAD AHEAD: ENHANCING GENDER EQUITY AND ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE Conclusions The project is a successful learning process when introducing the thinking and approaches of gender impact assessment into the hydropower sector of Vietnam as well as helping the women in impacted communities become more self-confident, build up capacity and create more space for them to voice up, and stand up to take the lead in the development at different levels of family, group, and community (while the important position and contribution of women in the ‘soft economy’ suddenly vanished). However, these changes are of initial phase and at small scale. In addition, apart from the impacted communities, the other stakeholders, especially local policy makers and the energy sector, sponsors, investors of hydropower development have little participation in the project, making many institutional issues have not been addressed and promoted. The project, going through various phases, has suggested a 3-level change model: social cognitive, economic and institutional (Figure 6.1). The social cognitive transformation is the foundation for changes, were implemented in many manners. Firstly, it was promoted by the introduction of advanced concepts, ways of thinking, and approaches to the stakeholders, especially the impacted communities. For examples, gender impact assessment, though has been recently piloted, if being fully practiced would help to address many interdisciplinary issues from environment and ecology, to society or gender equality. Furthermore, the project has broken social and geographical barriers, especially with women, to provide them with knowledge, skills, and communication and exchange space with problemshared communities as well as other relevant groups. The new learning space is not limited within the newly formed group of each community, but merged with that of the other communities and other stakeholders. In a longer vision, a number of community members would need further support to become change agents (see Bandura 2001) within this learning and change network. Economic development at household, group and community levels is a must to take into consideration in order to generate changes in communities who had to suffer from economic shocks during the transition of between a ‘soft’ economy to a ‘hard’ economy. However, the project has put more emphasis on the empowerment of women via economic development, promotion of women-led economic groups as well as new ways of thinking and approaches in economic development such as clean production, traditional craft, or value chain. 153

Figure 6.1: A three level conceptual model for change Develop new policies at the local, central, and sectoral level Policy advocacy: research, policy briefs, and forum announcements

Forming regional voice; regional community network

Institutional Develop womanled economy


Develop community groups, share experiences on leadership and production


Develop economic thinking, group and household economic activities Participate in national and international seminars, conferences, training

Aware of gender, rights, community monitoring, environmental and resource protection

Build of networks of regional interest -shared groups

The project, basing on gender impact assessment has transferred the policy recommendations to the leaders of energy sector, hydropower companies and local leaders and other stakeholders via meetings, workshops and/or policy briefs. While policy advocacy can be done from the central level down, or with impacting industries, or at local levels (provincial or district), the voice of impacted communities must not be ignored. Therefore, concreting the operation and capacity of groups within a well-coordinated network should still gain attention in the future intervention phases/projects.


On the road to gender equality and environmental justice, a wellcoordinated network of women-led groups needs to be implemented in all the three levels in order to make changes. Continued support for agentic capacities for women and community groups led by women need to be supported. To become agents of change, a number of knowledge and skills should be further provided and practiced by local communities, such as leadership (emotional intelligence, adversity quotient), law practice advice, and women-led economic development models. Extended project implementation and further support for project communities can create changes stronger and at higher levels. Besides that, Nourishment and coordination of regional community networks for environmental justice and gender equality should be promoted. Inter-provincial and trans-border networks of impacted communities need to be maintained to create information and knowledge exchange spaces and increased local voices. The network coordination organisation should also be developed, localised and reinforced in terms of capacity building. Moreover, gender impact assessment research and policy advocacy for environmental justice and gender equality with wider stakeholders, especially the energy sector should be continuedly implemented. GIA integrated EIA and SIA should be continuously piloted with the participation of hydropower companies and if possible should be implemented before the implementation of hydropower projects. Cooperation with other coalitions such as the Vietnam Rivers Network Alliance and Vietnam Sustainable Energy Alliance in policy advocacy should be focused.

REFERENCES Bandura, Albert. 2001. Social Cognitive Theory: An Agentic Perspective. Annu. Rev. Psychol. 2001(52): 1-26. Oxfam. 2017. Position Paper on Gender Justice and the Extractive Industries. Oxfam International. USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service. 2005. Understanding Community Power Structures. People, Partnerships, and Communities, Issue 21.



INTRODUCTION With all efforts together from CSRD and donors in the last five years, we have had some significant impacts on our target communities affected by dam hydropower development. However, we are fully aware that beside this contribution, there are still some hindrances limiting the impacts of our projects. Therefore, this chapter will focus on the outcomes and achievements of the implementation of our projects. This helps relevant stakeholders to have a better overview about hydropower dam development and our efforts to seek justice for affected people and have better improvement in policy making processes. In this chapter, the authors will focus on achievements and shortcomings of main hydropower-related projects CSRD has implemented in accordance with the strategies of the main donors. This will be the integration of all internal and independent evaluation of CSRD and consultants. In addition, we will also use other lenses to have further discussion on our results learn and improve project impacts for the future.

PROJECT MANAGEMENT APPROACHES BY CSRD There have been two main methods we have used to manage our impacts. In overall, the project management framework (PMF) has been used during the project cycle. This is the common approach for all project in general and for development projects in particular. Its main purpose is to increase 156

organisational value (Dalcher 2012). This approach helps us to increase the effectiveness of human and efficiency efforts of our organisation. The success of our projects is measured by its efficiency in the short term and its effectiveness in achieving the expected results in the medium and the long term (Jugdev et al. 2001; MĂźller and Jugdev 2012). Also, the PMF is a tool for keeping our project value that satisfies our beneficiaries, aligning the project output with the CSRD's strategy. To focus more on impact management, Social Impact Evaluation has been used for all evaluation activities in our project. We have monitored the changes during and after projects to ensure that we are on the right tracks of expected outcomes from CSRD and donors and avoid or at least minimise the hurtful impacts on people. Some of the main tools we have employed for our impact evaluation should be highlighted are: focus group discussion, in-depth interview, story of change and other tools of Participatory Rapid Appraisal (PRA). CSRD and donors have monitored the changes by recording them in the Mid-term Review Assessment report and other reports over the project cycles. Normally, different development projects have different target groups (Mathur, 2016). Therefore, evaluation helps us to identify the beneficiaries and the loser with different identities such as ethnicity, gender, occupation, age or other factors.

OUTCOMES AND ACHIEVEMENTS CSRD has measured project success from different perspectives, focusing on both the short term outcomes and long term social impacts. According to Mathur (2016), social impacts are the changes that occur in communities or to individuals as a result of an externally induced change. There are many types of impacts identified in development projects and they affect different groups differently. CSRD has evaluated the contribution of our projects to changes in hydropower-related communities and stakeholders; including outcomes for local communities, the private sector, and public sector and decision makers at all levels. The outcomes we have achieved vary from project to project and place to place in accordance with project scope, the goal of programme and the objectives of projects. Changes for communities To affected communities, we have obtained considerable achievements in raising awareness, building capacity, raising local voice and networking affected people in Central and Central Highland Vietnam. CSRD organised a photo exhibition of photos taken by local people from Quang Binh Province, Quang Nam Province and Thua Thien Hue Province. This activity highlighted for local people the important role rivers play in their lives, and the 157

negative impacts brought about by hydropower plant operation. Several training and focus group discussions were organised in project areas to provide communities with relevant knowledge such as environmental impacts, social impact, gender equity, policy, and human rights. Hence we facilitated them to raise their voice in dialogue and actively monitor the operations of the hydropower while emphasizing the importance of engaging in a constructive, cooperative manner. The affected communities were encouraged to consider different perspectives for understanding the problems and impacts they were facing, and find ways to identify their own solutions and raise concerns with the company, with support as needed from CSOs, media, and government agencies. RLS SEA and CSRD hoped, that through our actions and interventions, the vulnerable voices can be heard and reach to the higher level of decision-making. During the process of implementation, we had met many farmers, fishers, ethnic minorities, etc. who sacrificed their own biggest assess, which were their lands, and houses and suffered inadequate compensation and adverse impacts of the hydropower project and resettlement. In the Central Highlands area, this is the first project to be jointly implemented by the people affected by hydropower, and CSRD is the first NGO active in this area here. This was an advantage and a challenge also for researchers and consultants. Through the field trips and meetings with the affected communities, the research group realized that the hydropower development in the Central Highlands region has caused many problems to the environment, ecosystem and the social and economic development of people in affected areas. The research team identified that the communities currently facing the effects from the two hydropower plants of Buon Kuop and Buon Tua Sra are Ea Tung village and Drai indigenous village of Ea Na commune, Buon Kuop indigenous village of Dray Sap commune, Krong Ana district, DakLak province and Quang Hoa commune, DakGlong district, DakNong province. These communities are disadvantaged by the lack of production land and the environmental impacts. They need the support of local authorities and social organizations to overcome these difficulties. The project has made a connection between the communities and the state agencies and hydropower investors, helping people to raise their voices to the forums and seminars. Local people are supported to self-implement monitoring and evaluation of the hydropower impacts. More information has been collected, the provincial workshops were held, and many documents and reports have been published. CSRD held a Peoples’ Forum on “Hydropower - concerns of people and responsibilities of involved stakeholders� held in Hue on 27th October 2015. It was highly appreciated by the National Vietnam 158

Fatherland Front Committee and all the real stories shared by the local communities negatively impacted by the Hydropower dams were taken into consideration by the National Vietnam Fatherland Front Committee and relevant parties. A network of affected communities by hydropower development in Central and Central highland region of Vietnam is established to exchange information and advocate for adverse environmental impacts of hydropower development as well as to participate in hydropower development process and monitoring of environmental protection implementation (see Figure 7.1). Via meetings, workshops and training organized within the project framework, the network members have chances to build their capacities, exchange information and experiences, and learn more from each other. As a result, the network is firmly strengthened. Figure 7.1: Regional network of hydropower affected communities in Central and Central Highlands of Vietnam

With the activities implemented by the project, approximately 50% women of the network members had participated in our project activities. Many of them including residents and local authority staff who can clearly make presentations about the hydropower impacts on their livelihoods, environment and social life. They also actively participated in monitoring and evaluating the hydropower impacts such as measuring water level, taking photos, observing water flow and assessing the change of aquatic 159

fauna species. This shows that women in our project sites are more aware of their roles and their rights in monitoring the environmental protection implementation. Local communities in DakLak, DakNong, Quang Nam, Thua Thien Hue and Quang Binh Province have raised awareness significantly and provided with information about hydropower impacts, environmental protection and the role of rivers in their localities. Local communities from Quang Binh Province are well connected to and share information with other affected local communities in other Provinces. Now, local representatives can confidently raise their voice regarding the issues to related authorities (via visual communication, oral presentations). CSRD organized a multistakeholder forum organized in December 2016 so that local communities have the chance to express concerns and exchange ideas with other related stakeholders. Lawyers have joined the field trips in 2015 and 2016 to learn about the local existing problems made by the impacts from hydropower and advise them on policies related to compensation of resettlement, or judicial issues. There are 04 communities supported by lawyers with petitions (Ben Van, Duong Hoa, Drai and Ea Tung villages) and 08 communities directly advised on the compensation policy of resettlement as well as Law on Complaints. One report on the process of monitoring the environmental impact of hydropower made by the locals. Based on the information from the community research groups, consultants and lawyers have collected and classified issues remained in the locality, the resettlement area, reservoir and downstream area of hydropower plants to outline policy recommendations to submit to stakeholders. A checklist and guidelines for the on-going environmental protection monitoring process are drafted. The checklist and guidelines incorporate information from different sources and feedback from key stakeholders is sought before publication. Within the project framework of GIA funded by Oxfam, we have significantly raised the women’s leadership. Our project partners have gained notable successes in changing status, positions and capacities of women in the targeted project sites. There were 972 women engaged in the project activities, consisting of technical trainings, studies, regional and national policy dialogues, local planning workshops and research. One of the highlights is that Women’s Union (WU) of Buon Don district, Daklak province with the support of CSRD had set up two “economic women groups” as a result of the GIA. Each group comprises of 15 members. The 160

groups have developed their long-term business plans to boost their daily incomes and livelihoods after the resettlement. Producing and selling local traditional products such as wine and vegetables are the main businesses of the groups. In addition to this, the ethnic minority women groups actively participated in the local planning for economic development and water resources management. Also, they have frequently shared the results of groups’ business with local authorities and other villagers for further support and learning. The groups have been approved and recognized by the People's Committees, which is an important legal basis for decisions regarding the attraction of external resources. "My group is acknowledged by the district and commune. It is so good. We women have made remarkable progress" (A female respondent, 39 years old, Tri A Village). Another inspiring change is the ethnic minority women in Dak Lak province had strongly demonstrated leadership in policy influencing work. They carried out a sub-project to capture photos, and then shared it with others via local events and regional exhibitions. The main aims of this were to firstly introduce people about the beautiful landscapes of the Highlands, but the second is that they wanted to warn people about the risks and dangers that the region is apparently facing due to economic development, environmental degradation and hydropower development. Some other changes reported by local groups within the GIA projects are: -


Increased environmental awareness: "I am more aware of the environment - the impacts of the environment - make us more aware of environmental protection - know what to do to protect the environment" (Female, 30 years old, Ea Tung village) Increased knowledge and self-confidence The status and role of women in the family and economic activities were enhanced, and some men reported changes in household labour roles: "In the family, it seems to me that I have shared more work with my wife" (A male respondent, 52 years old, Ea Tung village).

Changes for hydropower companies Meanwhile, improvement of awareness from the private sector hydropower companies- is also clear but more limited than from communities. During the time of project implementation, CSRD involved investors from large hydropower developers companies to build their understanding in the social impacts of hydropower development. They provided relevant information for our research, took part in the trips to affected communes to observe the impacts of hydropower developments on environment and communities. They were often invited to participate in 161

the workshops, forums, dialogues at different scale. Many of the representatives from the companies attended those events and responded to the questions of affected people. One of the representatives from A Vuong company agreed that since he has been involved in our activities, he has opened his horizon by learning about SIA from our research and feedback from affected people in resettled and downstream communities. He confirmed, that before the company focused on technical aspects of the dam construction and how to maximise the benefit from power generation. After many years, some companies now have short term and long term supports to affected people such as: providing food and facilities to poor people in resettled communities and installing flood warning system in downstream areas. Changes in policy More importantly, we have triggered the concern on dam-related problems to local authorities and policy makers by raising the local voices in various forms. We also sent all reports, policy briefs and other publications to relevant agencies with the aim that our information will be taken into account by policy makers. A report highlighting gaps in environmental protection commitments outlined in the EIA and current situation for Dakmi4 hydropower plant was disseminated to related stakeholders. In cooperation with some local government agencies such as Quang Nam Union of Science and Technology Associations, Quang Ninh Rural Development and Poverty Reduction, Office of Environmental Protection Department of Natural resources and environment - Quang Nam Province, Department of Natural resources and environment - Thua Thien Hue Province to bring the effects of the activity to a bigger audience and to make the exhibition and its value well recognized by both local communities and local authorities. We have caught the attention of the authorities and media in DakLak province, as this is the first time there is an organization who do research on the impact of hydropower in this region. Gender mainstreaming has also been taken into account by stakeholders. CSRD’s GIA report shows that there had been significant issues related to gender aspect in hydropower resettlements in the highland region of Vietnam. Therefore, CSRD had worked with local authorities and hydropower companies to improve the situation. As a result, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been signed in the targeted area of Dak Lak amongst sub-EVN company and local authorities to support local affected people by hydropower. Also, local authorities have built capacities for local men and women on water management and sustainable livelihood to adapt well to water stresses occurring in the region. Local 162

women and men have built their skills in leadership, networking and advocacy. CSRD’s policy brief on gender impacts caused by hydropower dam was sent to the Vietnam Women Union for their input on the occasion of reviewing the Law on Gender Equity after 10 years of implementation. In conclusion, CSRD has mobilised all the resources effectively and contributed to positive changes for communities affected by communities by hydropower development in Central and Central Highlands in Vietnam. Also, we have influenced the investors and policy makers. CSRD has introduced the thinking and approaches of impact assessment and conducting local actions into the hydropower sector of Vietnam as well as helped women and local groups in impacted communities become more self-confident, build up capacity and create more space for them to voice their concerns and needs, and stand up to take the lead in the development at different levels of family, group and community. The awareness and concern on the social impacts of hydropower developers, investors and decision makers has been raised under the pressure from public. However, these changes are of initial phase and at limited scale compared to the expected outcomes. In addition, apart from the impacted communities, the other stakeholders, especially local policy makers and the hydropower sector, sponsors, investors of hydropower development have had little participation in the project, meaning many institutional issues have not been addressed and promoted. We just have the foundation for changes and there are still some shortcomings need to be improve for broader scale and long term influence.

LIMITATIONS AND CHALLENGES Fortune and White (2006) said project investment success is indeed more challenging than project management success, and the project investment success needs a system thinking mind-set to understand and to manage the internal and the external environment. It is correct for our cases. After evaluation, we identify that the main challenges or limitations have been in achieving sustainability and policy advocacy for social changes. The aim at policy advocacy from our projects has been inadequate to our expectation and efforts; to solve problems that affected communities are facing and prevent the same situation for future dam constructions. Regarding the sustainability of projects, due to limited time duration of projects, our efforts sometime are blocked. Normally, we have to close project in time and waiting for new phase or new project to continue supporting our communities. This discourages people and wastes resources. Local groups need time to start again with new ideas and interventions that are not strong enough for making changes for their own 163

capacity and communities. Although we have had good synergies of all relevant activities to expand the number of beneficiaries for better connection, it is still beyond our reach in some cases. For example, outputs for the products of the cooperative groups have not been guaranteed. Outputs for the products of the cooperative groups became of great interest to the production groups that were formed and developed under the support of the project. Although the project did not emphasize on the technical and financial support to the product development groups, it is very common for groups established at the community level - regardless of community monitoring, environmental monitoring, or gender development groups - to have a desire for economic development. It is also more difficult to sustain them without developing a more autonomous economic model. Therefore, in the next phases, the project could support to develop proposal writing skills so that the community groups could develop their own proposals for funding or support for woman-led agribusiness and economy. The space for development projects and to influence policy change including law enforcement is still limited. The roles of NGO is not fully recognised by public and authorities at all levels. Therefore, our inputs for policy making and implementation are not effectively used. This is also the reason why our influence is not strong enough to catch the attention of all stakeholders in the hydropower development context, and the participation of other stakeholders, apart from the affected local community, have not been effectively mobilized. The involvement of the relevant hydropower plants ended right after the first phase when their representatives provided research data and participated in conference that informed the results. Although other smaller hydropower plants outside of EVN were more open to approach and deploy new technology and models based on the principle to reduce impacts to the ecology and the local communities, their participation was also limited. Representatives of local policy makers and developers also did not participate in this project at any phase despite the project invitations. At many conferences, local people strongly emphasized that the presence of local leaders would have helped to address and commit to solve many issues better. To increase the involvement of policy makers, hydropower investors and hydropower companies is a challenge for the next phases of the project if there are issues related to policy advocacy and institutionalization. The promotion of community to participate in monitoring environment and establish local knowledge groups has helped the people to enhance their knowledge and better their management of local natural resources. The community lawyer assistance has helped the people to utilize legal tools to 164

protect and struggle for their personal and community’s benefits. Moreover, financial support for some economic production models of groups were deployed from the sources of the other projects. However the voice of local people has not been responded to, or the issues resolved, especially in the issues of compensation and solutions for the coming and further impacts of the hydropower dams: "Our land and garden have still been flooded; the loss caused by the flood spillway and osmosis were estimated by the departments of planning and finances up to 13 billion dong. We suffered it all (Mr. Hai, Ea Tung). “The voice of local people on the compensation issues has been heard. Yet, no solution has been made so far. Our complaining letters were not responded (A male respondent, Ea Tung). "They did not answer many of our requests. They just postponed and forgotten them” (A male respondent, Ea Tung village). "Before we only dropped the net and expected a crowd. People at home just boiled water and waited for us to bring the fish/ shrimp home right away. Now, we would spend all day in vain unless we use electrofishing” (A male respondent, Tri A village). "We need clean water/water treatment system" (A female respondent, Tri A village). Whereas the impacts of hydro-power dam to local communities have been exerted in various aspects (economics, culture, gender, etc.), spaces (resettlement, downstream communities) and periods (construction of dams, operation of reservoir, water control, etc.), it is necessary that the existing and new problems should be addressed properly through more effective communication channels.

CONCLUDING REMARDS AND OUTLOOKS The share of hydropower in Vietnam’s total energy mix has slightly reduced, compared to the deep cut of coal consumption and the rise of solar power, which is expected to be the most important non-hydropower renewable resource for electricity generation in Vietnam. But hydropower still makes up a large share of the power mix. According to the Renewable Energy Development Strategy, by 2050 the electricity mix will include just over 40% renewables and large hydropower. On the other hand, installed capacities of hydro-power would be double from 2015 to 2020. It is also predicted that hydropower cannot remain dominant in the future due to increasingly concerns over the environmental and social impacts, as according to Friedrich Ebert Stiftung Vietnam study in 2017 2017 (Koos và Dang 2017). 165

Recently, the Central Highlands provinces have scrapped plans for many hydropower plants and stopped the operations of others because of their adverse effects on forests and the environment. The region has seen serious loss of forest cover in recent years, according to the Ministry of Agricultural and Rural Development (MARD). Dak Lak Province stopped the operation of 13 of its 22 hydroelectric plants and scrapped 71 out of 79 planned hydropower projects, most of them are situated in natural forests. In 2016, the province called off the planned Drang Pok hydropower project in the Yok Don National Park, which would have destroyed dozens of hectares of forests, hamper forest protection and conservation of biodiversity. Gia Lai Province has pulled the plug on 17 of 74 planned small and medium-sized hydropower projects, and stopped the operation of two small-sized hydroelectric plants of Kanak and IaKha. According to the province People’s Committee, many investors ask to build hydroelectric plants but are refused permission because of their threat to forestry lands (Vietnam News 2017). Hydropower can only beneficial and sustainable only when its interests are shared equally to all stakeholders, especially to resettled people, whose lands have been acquired for its construction, but not letting them fall in the dilemmas of “energy growth�. For that reason, in close cooperation with donors, CSRD is aiming at strengthening the participation of local-affected people in the monitoring process of hydropower plants as well as promote policy makers at the project sites to take action to improve the living standards for resettled people and to fill the gaps regarding the environmental protection through law implementation and the existing Environment Impact Assessment (EIA). Specially, our project targeted to (1) enhancing the capacity of affected people involved in the project, enable them to describe the situation and to express their concerns to authorities at different levels; (2) local leaders at the project sites to incorporate the findings and recommendations from joint forums between all stakeholders in decisions or policies; (3) establish, facilitate self-sustain a network of groups of people in the affected communities, as well as raising awareness and attract more attention of the public to the issue. Hydropower was widely perceived only as effective and multi-dimensional benefits. The positive side of hydropower is to ensure electricity security, which, in turn, promotes national socio-economic development is mainstreaming and well-known. In recent years, rural electrification completely changed the face of rural Vietnam, improving quality of life and enhancing crop yields and livestock levels by providing sufficient water, as well as improving infrastructure, mechanization, irrigation, and agroprocessing products, while enabling new livelihoods, such as ice cream 166

making and sewing. Rural electrification has improved the quality of medical services, education, and drinking water supply, as well as increasing access to market information, allowing for a more effective means to disseminate agricultural knowledge and public policy, increasing incomes, and reducing costs of production. For example, 92% of rural households in Gia Lai and Thai Nguyen provinces confirmed that the introduction of electricity increased the incomes of those using tea processing machines. Income growth was based on an increase in processing efficiency and also renting the tea processing machines to others (Kooijman-van Dijk and Clancy 2010). Levels of education of adults and children in electrified households were higher, as compared to unelectrified households (Kohlin et al. 2011). Further, adequate electricity supplies enabled rural people to stop logging woods for cooking, which, in turn, could help forest and environmental protection (Kooijman-van Dijk and Clancy 2010).Beyond electricity generation, the majority of hydropower reservoirs contributed considerably to multiple purposes, such as flood and drought control, irrigation, and infrastructure and tourism development. For example, Son La hydropower plant not only generated over 10 billion kWh of electricity but also contributed to flood control for the entire northern plains with a storage capacity of 7 billion m3. This reservoir irrigated tens of thousands of hectares of rice. Further, Son La hydropower built more than 125 km of rural roads, many bridges, and telecommunication systems throughout the region (EVN 2009). Capital investment for resettlement and infrastructure accounted for 31% of total construction cost, about US$570 million—a large investment (Pham 2015). As it is the fact that not all hydropower dams are contribute effectively and positively to the socio-economic development, the general benefits are shading the other effects. For a long time, the social and environmental costs were not considered as relevant as the advantages of Vietnam’s development model. With an acute and prolonged crisis as a starting point (war and post-war), for a long time the immediate advantages that Vietnam’s development path generated in terms of reducing poverty and improving life quality outweighed disadvantages. One factor playing into this is the perception of the environment. Vietnamese perceive the country as beautiful, diverse, and extremely resource rich. However, the environment and natural resources once equaled with infinite abundance show serious strain. Not only have they proven to be finite, but also very vulnerable. As well, the habit to see things in mono-dimensional approach that only enable Vietnamese to take care of the well-being of people to certain extent but not cover all aspects of multi-dimensionally.


Most leaders and officials are in favour of development of economic, but skeptical about the cost of hydropower, as well as hesitate for the shift of changing. But overall, the authorities support poor people and vulnerable groups, and are open to improvement of mechanisms to limit the negative effects of the hydropower projects. So far, the topic on hydropower dams are still sensitive issues while the debate about “the good and the bad” are hot in national policy agenda. We worked to encourage all parties comply with government requirements and expectations, find the way of harmonization and create real sustainable development. For the affected people, we facilitated them to constructively raise their voice in dialogue and actively monitor the operations of the hydropower developments affecting their environment, economy and livelihoods, and communities. The affected communities were encouraged to consider different perspectives for understanding the problems and impacts they were facing, and find ways to identify their own solutions and raise concerns with the company, with support as needed from CSOs, media, and government agencies The cooperation mechanism between policy makers – investors is not effective, as the responsibilities of each stakeholders are limited and restricted. As well, the exchange and communications between them is not frequent and up-to-date. In some cases, the affected people raised and repeated their concerns towards many people but the real solution is not properly considered. There is a lack of space and forums for all relevant stake holders to exchange. The People’s forum in which we organised every year is one of the few occasions that gather participants from different sectors. The day-to-day living burdens limit the affected communities to seriously review and take action for their rights: as most of them situated in resettlement areas with lack of occupational materials, they face more challenges and struggle to maintain their living means – lack of time and resources to seriously consider and make efforts for their own rights. To claim for better lives for people require efforts, cooperation and times, but the lives of people continue being hard and the environment degradation is also not waiting. The Gender Impact Assessment pilot projects resulted in positive collaboration and dialogue between stakeholders (NGOs, government, companies and communities) to understand and seek to address the impacts of hydropower dams. The process of GIA and follow-up activities have “opened the space for women to engage and influence and set up structures for collaboration between stakeholders.” Despite the limitations in engaging the hydropower companies, the GIA projects also 168

contributed to some increased awareness of company representatives on “the differential impacts of hydropower dams on women and men, and the need to implement gender sensitive mitigation and management strategies.” (Besley and Dawkins 2016; Hill et al. 2017). It is essential that GIA be applied in infrastructure developments. This requires that government and communities demand this standard of practice in hydropower developments, supported by legislation. This could be achieved by amending the existing legal instruments that currently require hydropower developers to conduct an Environmental and Social Impact Assessment or Environmental Impact Assessment (Hill, et al., 2017).

REFERENCES Besley, M. & Z. Dawkins. 2016. Mekong Water Governance Program and Inclusion Project: Mid-Term Evaluation. Melbourne: Oxfam. Dalcher, D. 2012. The nature of project management: A reflection on The Anatomy of Major Projects by Morris and Hough. International Journal of Managing Projects in Business 5(4): 643-660. EVN. 2009. Thủy điện Sơn La- công trình thế kỷ: Kz 1- Công trình của trí tuệ và sức mạnh. Available at: http://icon.com.vn/vn-s83-89711631/Thuy-dien-Son-La-cong-trinh-the-ky-Ky-1-Cong-trinh-cua-tri-tueva-suc-manh.aspx Fortune, J. & D. White. 2006. Framing of project critical success factors by a systems model. International Journal of Project Management 24(1): 53-65. Hill, C., T. N. T. Phan, J. Storey & S. Vongphosy. 2017. Lessons learnt from gender impact assessments of hydropower projects in Laos and Vietnam. Gender and Development 25(3): 455-470. Jugdev, Kam, J. Thomas & C. Delisle. 2001. Rethinking Project Management: Old Truths and New Insights. International Project Management Journal 7(1): 36-43. Kohlin, Gunnar, Erin O. Sills, Subhrendu K. Pattanayak, Christopher Wilfong. 2011. Energy, Gender and Development: What are the Linkages? Where is the Evidence? Policy Research working paper; no. WPS 5800. World Bank. Kooijman-van Dijk, A.L. & Clancy, J. 2010. Impacts of electricity access to rural enterprises in Bolivia, Tanzania and Vietnam. Energy for Sustainable Development 14(1): 14-21. Koos, Neefjes & Dang Thi Thu Hoai. 2017. Towards a socially just energy transition in Viet Nam: Challenges and Opportunities. Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, Vietnam. 169

Mathur, Hari Mohan (Ed.). 2016. Assessing the Social Impact of Development Projects: Experience in India and other Asian Countries. Springer International Publishing. Müller, R. and Jugdev, K. 2012. Critical success factors in projects: Pinto, Slevin, and Prescott – the elucidation of project success. International Journal of Managing Projects in Business 5(4): 757-775. Pham Huu Ty. 2015. Bảng tóm tắt: Tình trạng tiến thoái lưỡng nan của phát triển thủy điện bền vững ở Việt Nam: từ di dời do đập thủy điện đến phát triển thủy điện bền vững? 1/12/ 2015. Vietnam News. 2017. Central Highlands shun hydropower plants (Tây Nguyên tránh xa các nhà máy thủy điện).Việt Nam News ngày 11/8/2017. Available at: http://vietnamnews.vn/environment/381785/central-highlandsshun-hydropower-plants.html#osJZqCAhMddm4R8S.97



PROBLEM STATEMENT AND RESEARCH METHODS Viet Nam is a country with high annual rainfall and many river systems, including 2,360 rivers with more than 10 km in length each. The total length of rivers in Vietnam is up to 41,900 km. The whole nation has the system of 9 major rivers with more than 10,000 km2 catchment area. Except the Mekong Delta region, most river basins in Vietnam have steep slopes and high flow in flood season, so it is quite favorable for the development of hydropower. In the last three decades, Vietnam has continuously developed many hydropower plants of different sizes. Within three years, from 2002 to 2004, Vietnam built 17 large and medium-sized hydropower plants with a total installed capacity of 2,952 MW, and around 20 smallsized hydropower plants with a total capacity of 500 MW. According to the data of the Vietnam’s Ministry of Trade (2011), to 2010, the total capacity of installed hydropower was over 20,600 MW, increasing 3.2 times in comparison with that 10 years ago, and 1.78 times higher than that in 2005. The amount of electricity production was estimated more than 100 billion kWh, which was 3.7 times greater than that in 2000, and 1.88 times greater than that in 2005. In the total amount of electricity currently produced in Vietnam, hydropower has contributed about 9,200 MW, making up 44.66% of the national electricity production. By 2020, according to the planning VII scheme (Prime Minister of Vietnam 2011), hydropower output of Vietnam will have reached 17,400 MW. Particularly, with the medium and smallsized hydropower of national hydropower development planning, there will have been nearly 1,000 projects with the total capacity of 7,500 MW. There have been 340 hydropower projects put into operation or in construction process. In 2012, the amount of electricity provided by medium and small171

sized hydropower plants occupied 19% of generated hydropower and 7% of total generated electricity of the whole system. However, within the last five years, there have gradually arisen various problems of the environment, economy and society resulted from the development and operation of hydropower. Actual proofs show that hydropower projects have not complied with their commitments or affirmation to minimize damage as written in their Environment Impact Assessments (EIA). Under the pressure of public opinion, especially ideas of scientists, local authorities, social civil organizations and the media system, various angles of hydropower projects were reflected, analyzed, and evaluated. This has led the authorities and the central government to reconsider hydropower development plans. To date, 400 hydropower projects across the country have been suspended, dismissed, adjusted the scale and/or forced to change the operation procedure accordingly. This chapter reviews the reform of hydropower policies in Vietnam within three recent years and analyzes the relationship between the government and relevant stakeholders with the evidences of hydropower adverse effects over environmental, economic, and societal aspects. The study also evaluates the role of social organizations in mobilizing policies to the reform of Vietnamese energy policy. Finally, this study mentions lessons learnt from Vietnam and the applicability for neighboring countries in using national strategy and energy development policy. This study is based on specific case studies to review, analyze and evaluate.

CASE STUDIES The cancellation of Dong Nai 6 and 6A hydropower projects The Dong Nai 6 hydropower project, one of the hydropower works on Dong Nai river basin, was approved by the Prime Minister of Vietnam15 in 2002 with the capacity of 180 MW and the average annual electricity output of 773.6 million kWh. The height of the largest dam is 98m. The total volume of the reservoir is 683 million m3. The area of the full reservoir is 1,954 hectares, of which 732 hectares belong to Cat Tien National Park and 1,222 hectares to the protection forest of Dak Nong and Binh Phuoc provinces. 33 households (with 165 people) needed to be resettled, and 03 construction works needed to be moved (01 school, 01 health center, and 01 forest management center). In 2002, the Dong Nai 6 hydropower project was divided into two sub-projects: Dong Nai 6 hydropower (DN6) with the capacity of 135 MW, and Dong Nai 6A (DN6A) with the capacity of 106 MW 15

Official Letter No. 1483 of / CP-CN dated 19/11/2002.


in order to minimize the inundated area and increase the capacity of generated electricity. In August 2009, as an investor, Duc Long Gia Lai corporation signed a contract with the Power Engineering Consulting Joint Stock Company 4 (PECC4) to set up an investment project; along with that it also signed with the South Irrigation Planning Institute and the Institute of Environment and Natural Resources, Ho Chi Minh National University to carry out the environment impact assessment (EIA) of this project. Experts of Vietnam River Network (VRN) have reviewed this report as well as organized various field trips to the estimated construction venue and the South Cat Tien National Park area to evaluate this project thoroughly (Le Anh Tuan 2012). VRN have found credibility problems of the report, and realized that the construction would threaten the South Cat Tien Natural Sanctuary. VRN quickly publicized those risks through seminars, meetings, and the media. A number of journalists, scientists, authorities, members of the National Assembly and other associations together with international organizations then participated to create open discussions. VRN issued press release and request letter to the Government as well as the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment to reject this project due to its negative effects to the environment, the society and its legal nature. The People’s Committee of Dong Nai province (2013) also seriously opposed this hydropower project to the National Assembly. On 30th August 2013, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MONRE) sent an official letter to the Prime Minister on evaluating the EIA of Dong Nai 6 and 6A hydropower projects (MONRE 2013). This letter based on the surveys of the experts from the MONRE and the Committee of Science, Energy, and Environment of the National Assembly at the planned hydropower project venue at Dong Nai river basin. This official letter mentioned the EIA report to Dong Nai 6 and 6A hydropower projects compiled by the project owner, Duc Long Gia Lai Company, and the Institute of Environment and Natural Resources from June 2012 and then submitted to the MONRE for appraisal. After that the project owner had to amend the report due to the number of its defects and deviations. They lastly withdrew the report for more amendments, but till now it has not been accomplished. Through many amendments, the EIA report still reflects a number of negative points of this hydropower project regarding to the social and environmental issues as follows: • This project will cause the permanent loss of 372.23 hectares of forest, particularly, 128.37 hectares of which belongs to the core area of Cat Tien National Park. The EIA report committed to replant the forest, but it did not mention the specific venue and the forest replacement planning. 173

• The project will result to the loss of biodiversity of Cat Tien National Park and the local ecosystem. The project has violated Point 2, Article 7 of the Biodiversity Law, which prohibits site construction in ecology restoration zone of conservation areas. • The project will influence the downstream flow according to the socio-economic development, and also influence the environment for the habitat of aquatic ecosystem, especially in the river area behind the dam 6A and Bau Sau wetland area, which is recognized as the Ramsar of Vietnam. The project also lacks of hydrological information and appropriate operation plan of the consecutive reservoirs. • The project will influence relevant heritages as per Point 1, Article 36 of the Law on Cultural Heritage, and it has not also been approved by the authorized organization. • The project potentially has other negative impacts related to supporting works, power transmission lines, and accessing roads. The construction of this project also creates invasion threats to Cat Tien National Park, impacts to the livelihood of people especially the ethnic peoples such as the Chau Ro - Ma, Stieng, M’nong, etc. Concurrently, the project adversely affects the consideration process to recognize Cat Tien Nation Park as the world natural heritage. As per the official letter No.142/BC-BTNMT of the MONRE, the Prime Minister (2013) directed to reconsider the projects DN6 and DN6A. Implementing the Prime Minister’s direction, the Ministry of Industry and Trade rejected the planning of those two hydropower projects. The rejection of those hydropower projects DN6 and DN6A was nominated by environment journalists as the third out of ten outstanding environmental events in Vietnam in 2013 (Environmental News 2013). The Song Tranh 2 hydropower project and the decision to suspend other 23 hydropower projects in Quang Nam The Song Tranh 2 hydropower plant is run by the Vietnam Electricity (EVN). This is the third among eight hydropower ladder plants that belongs to Thu Bon – Vu Gia river network. It started constructing from the year 2006 on a upstream branch of Thu Bon river in Bac Tra My district, Quang Nam province. The Song Tranh 2 hydropower plant has installed capacity of 190 MW, including two engine groups with the hope to produce the average annual electricity of 679.6 KWh. The reservoir capacity of Song Tranh 2 hydropower plant is of the largest in the Central with about 730 million m 3 of water. The project resulted in the replacement of more than 1,000 households with over 5,000 people in total. It also caused over 2.448 ha of 174

various kinds of lands to be submerged in the reservoir. The plant started to store water and generate electricity from December 2010. From the beginning of 2012, the dam has appeared many cracks that leaked a large amount of water to the dam’s surface through its body. Scientists stated that the water leak through Song Tranh 2 hydropower dam was very dangerous because it exceeded 5 times of the permitted level. From September 2012, a series of seismic phenomena have occurred in the area of Song Tranh 2 hydropower dam. Some hydropower experts explained that this was a stimulated seismism caused by the accumulation of reservoir water. Up to now (2014), there is no sign of the seismism ending in the hydropower area. In the period of 2012 - 2013, the issues of Song Tranh 2 hydropower dam became the most hydropower concern that caused unstable condition for local citizens. It was also one of the most controversial issues among scientists, authorities, social civil organizations, and the local community. The issue has continuously appeared on all types of media in Vietnam, and become a typical example in considering hydropower investment in Vietnam in the last three years. On 22nd December 2013, the Chairman of the People’s committee of Quang Nam province, Mr. Le Phuoc Thanh, requested to stop the investment and rejected 23 hydropower projects out of the planning, including Song Tranh 5, Hiep Duc, Ta Moih, Ma Cooih, Ha Ra, Bong Mieu, A Vuong 4, A Vuong 5, Nuoc Buou, Nuoc Xa, A Banh, Dak Pring, Cha Val, A Vuong 3, Song Bung 3A, Nuoc Bieu, Dak Di 1, Dak Di 2, Dak Di 4, Nuoc Che, Song Bung 3, Tra Linh 2, Dak Pring 2 and Tam Phuc (Tri Tin 2012). The Prime Minister’s office requested 6 hydropower plants on Vu Gia - Thu Bon river system to establish the operation procedure of consecutive reservoirs, comprising of A Vuong, Dak Mi 4, Song Tranh 2, Song Bung 2, Song Bung 4 and Dak Mi 1. Incidents involving the construction and operation of hydropower in the Central and Central Highlands of Vietnam in recent years The land area of the Central and Central Highlands of Vietnam is narrow with poor soil quality and steep and easily eroded terrain often dissected by numerous tributaries. The coastal areas of the Central face frequent storms, hot winds, drought, abnormal heavy rains, salt water intrusion, and coastal erosion. There is also a significant difference in the rainfalls in the rainy season and the dry season (from 2-4 times), which leads to more floods in the stormy season, especially the floodwater rises with high speed and strong erosion. In contrast, in the dry season, water is deficient; therefore, the annual threat in this region is drought. The Central and Central Highland regions have much potential to develop small and medium hydropower thanks to the significant difference in altitude, and the high flow of floods. 175

However, it is also a threat for people, and the challenge in the operation of investors. The river basin of this area is considered to be the place with the highest density of hydropower projects nationwide. The hydropower projects evolved over time have contributed to an increase in energy in nation and in the region, but it is also controversial. Local people also consider hydropower constructions as "water bombs" placed on their heads particularly in the past five years as hydropower projects have brought more and more negative consequences in terms of both environmental and social impacts on people’s living in the Central and Central Highlands (see Table 8.1). Table 8.1: Risk groups based on the hydropower operation No



Typical cases


Operation risks in stormy season: floodwater is discharged unreasonably; there is no reservoir, or the capacity of reservoirs is not enough to store floodwater, causing serious flooding in areas downstream

Cause abnormally serious floods in areas downstream and damage for people; sweep crops and animals away; cause landslide at riverbanks; damage transport works, interrupt people’s living

A Vuong hydropower (Quangnam) September 2009; Ba Ha river hydropower (Phu Yen) October 2013; An Khe – Kanat hydropower (Binh Dinh) May 2010


Operation risks in dry season: due to the shifting of water flow to other currents, less water flows to downstream areas, which is under the minimum current flow requirement

Cause serious drought in downstream areas, and lack of water for living in the city; increase saltwater intrusion; lack water for irrigation, resulting in fields with incapability of cultivation or poor yield; increase pollution

Dak My 4 hydropower (Quangnam) since 2012


Ba Ha river hydropower (Phu Yen) 2013 Vinh Son – Song Hinh hydropower Komtum upstream hydropower


Risks for hydropower works: dam bodies are cracked and leaked, even causing the dam broken, cause earthquakes and subsidence in surrounding areas

Panic residents, reduce the efficiency of power generation, and cause damage to surrounding works. Influence on people’s living and the security of the areas.

Song Tranh 2 hydropower (Quangnam) since 2012 DakMek 3 hydropower (Komtum): dam wall was broken in 2012 La Krel 2 hydropower (Gia Lai): the dam is broke twice DamBol hydropower (Lam Dong): pipelines were broken in June 2011


The reduction of riverine environment: water and alluvium stored in reservoirs, dam works preventing natural river currents, the construction of reservoirs causing the loss of forests

Reduce the amount of natural sand, reduce the alluvium to the areas downstream, extreme loss of forests, pollute water, affect the riverine habitats, and threaten wild animals‌

In most river systems that have hydropower works


Social affairs: compensation, resettlement, social injustice

People forced to move to new places, unreasonable compensation, livelihood loss, degradation of customs and community activities etc.

In most areas where hydropower works are built

Source: Le AnhTuan (2014)


Cancellation or suspension of more than 400 hydropower projects of the Government of Vietnam Implementing the Resolution 40/2012/QH13 of the National Assembly of Vietnam, in collaboration with other ministries, branches and localities, the Ministry of Trade and Industry continued reviewing the overall planning of hydropower to report to the National Assembly in session 6 (October November/ 2013) (National Assembly of Vietnam 2012). The report specified which projects to be cancelled, which ones to be adjusted, which ones to be implemented. It also proposed and verified measures to ensure the absolute safety for hydropower works along with overseeing the reforestation planting program. In 2013, the Government of Vietnam issued a specific policy for the residents living in the resettlement areas of hydropower works. That policy focused on solving the compensation problems and the resettlement of hydropower works including existent problems of the Hoa Binh and Son La hydropower projects. According to the report of the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources16 (2013), till September 2013, due to the poor quality of small and medium hydropower planning, low economic efficiency and potential adverse influence on the environment and society, the Government of Vietnam excluded from the planning nationwide six cascade hydropower projects with the total capacity of 395 MW (including Dong Nai 6 and 6A hydropower projects), and 418 small hydropower projects (with the total capacity of 1174.49 MW). At the same time, they did not take into consideration the planning of 172 potential hydropower locations (with the total capacity of 375.65 MW). The government also suspended other the four medium cascade hydropower projects with the total capacity of 208 MW, and 132 small hydropower projects with the total capacity of 915.7 MW. They will only take them into reconsideration after the year 2015 if those projects assure the investment efficiency in construction. After the removal of the hydropower projects, it remains 815 hydropower projects with the total installed capacity of 24,324.3 MW nationwide. Specifically, the number of hydropower plants operating generators is 268 projects with the total installed capacity of 14,240.5 MW. It is also expected that by the year 2017 there will have been 205 projects within 1,239 planned projects to be carried out (with the total installed capacity of 6,198.8 MW). The projects and potential hydropower locations are taken out of planning for two main reasons: (i) low investment efficiency, there


Document No. 175//BC-BTNMT, issued on 21st September 2013.


are no investors or very few investors interested in those projects; and (ii) their negative impacts on the environment and socio-economics. Reviewing the hydropower development projects in 2014 In the morning session of the National Assembly of Vietnam on 27th November 2013, 88.96% of representatives approved of the Government to implement the Resolution of "Strengthening the planning management, the construction investment, the operation and exploitation of hydropower works". The resolution stated as following: "The review shows that there are limitations in the planning management, the construction investment, the operation and exploitation of hydropower works. The planning quality and investment decisions on building hydropower works, especially small and medium works, have not fully met the objectives and requirements of safety, environmental protection, rational water resource use and socio-economic efficiency. The assessments of the strategic environment as well as the environmental impacts on planning, projects, small and medium hydropower works are not focused in a proper way. Therefore, the quality of those assessments is not high. At some hydropower works, the fact that the construction quality management, the operational safety assurance as well as the implementation of reservoir operational procedures and water regulation do not strictly follow the law results in negative impacts. The life of people living in the resettlement places still has many difficulties. Forests and forestland which function is converted to serve hydropower works are not wellmanaged. In some places, deforestation is done with larger scale than requirement; also, natural resources are exploited illegally. The reforestation area at hydropower works is very small. Besides that, the duty to pay for the forest environmental services has not been fully implemented in accordance with regulations." "The government directs ministries, People's Committees of provinces and relevant cities under the central authority to carry out a number of major tasks. These tasks are to continue checking and assessing hydropower planning including the projects suspended in a duration and the projects in operation; also, to ensure rational water resource use and biodiversity conservation. Besides improving the quality of formulating, appraising, approving and managing planning implementation, they also have to suspend and cancel inefficient and insecure hydropower projects which have negative impacts on the flow regulation, the environment and people's lives. 179

The implementation should be synchronous with the hydropower planning in the scope of overall energy sector planning". The National Assembly of Vietnam (2013) According to the resolution, in the year 2014 provinces had to have overall assessment on dams, irrigation and hydropower reservoirs in the country. Meanwhile, besides issuing operating procedures of reservoirs on river basins, they also had to allocate sufficient funds to repair and amend the dams and reservoirs that may cause insecurity. In 2014 those projects had to be reviewed, adjusted, and supplemented additional policies of compensation and resettlement support for hydropower projects and their promulgation. In 2015, local authorities must ensure to provide sufficient land and strictly conduct reforestation, particularly in the upstream river basins of hydropower works. They must complete the reforestation at hydropower works which are in operation. In the resolution, it is also required to improve river basin management, coordinate and monitor the implementation of reservoir operating procedures especially ladder reservoirs, ensure that the reservoir operation will not cause duplicate floods, and solve interdisciplinary problems relevant to different localities in using water resources. Based on this resolution, the Ministry of Construction has requested the Ministry of Trade, the People's Committees of provinces and cities under central authority to direct professional management agencies conducting inspections, checking construction investments as well as quality and safety management in the construction of small and medium hydropower works in their provinces. That must include examining, designing, constructing, checking and taking over the works. Those tasks must be performed and reported in a written form to the Ministry of Construction before 15 th February 2015. Concerns of the impacts of hydropower dams on the Mekong main stream across borders and the implementation of Mekong Delta Study (MDS) of the National Mekong Committee of Vietnam On the main stream of the Mekong River, the governments of Laos and Cambodia are planning to develop 11 hydropower dams (including 9 projects in Laos and 2 projects in Cambodia). Also, on the Upper Mekong basin a chain of 8 hydropower dams has been planned and built in Yunnan, China. Those hydropower dams will lead to potential negative impacts on the economy, the environment and society in the Mekong basin downstream, including a part of submerged areas of Cambodia and the entire Mekong Delta of Vietnam. According to the report on Strategic 180

Environmental Assessment study (ICEM 2010) commissioned by the MRC, it was asked to defer the decision on the hydropower dam construction in the Mekong River within 10 years in order to assess the overall impacts of the chain on the main stream in the lower basin, the Mekong delta of Vietnam and the delta of Cambodia. Since the government of Laos announced their plans to build Xayabury hydropower dam in the North of Vientiane capital, concurrently with the preparation period for Don Sahong hydropower project in 2014, many scientists, politicians and journalists have warned of adverse impacts to downstream areas (Fortin 2012; VRN 2012; RCC et al. 2014; Nguyen Tan Dung 2014). The government of Vietnam has proposed a research project to assess the overall impacts of the chain of 11 hydropower dams on the main stream to the natural system, economy and society of the lower Mekong basin, restricted to the low and flooded areas of Cambodia and the Mekong Delta of Vietnam. This project is called Mekong Delta Study (MDS) conducted by the Danish Hydraulic Institute (DHI) and HDR consulting company. The goal of MDS is to "examining the overall impacts of hydropower ladder on the main stream on the economy, nature and society in the flooded areas in Vietnam and Cambodia". The research would be conducted within 30 months, from June 2013, applying phase approach. The impact assessment will basically focus on the regions hydro-logically associated with the main stream of the Mekong River. It is expected that the final report of MDS will be released in December 2015.

FACTORS RELATED TO THE REFORM OF HYDROPOWER DEVELOPMENT POLICIES There are many reasons explaining the consequences of the hydropower development. Typically, massive hydropower construction were carried out for over 10 years while the examination, the design, the assessment on social and environmental impacts, as well as the approval were performed inefficiently, and even reluctantly sometimes. Some investors did not specialize in constructing and operating hydropower plants; or they did not give adequate investment, especially they overlooked social and environmental factors in which people were the most vulnerable. Many commitments in the assessment on the environmental impacts were executed improperly without any monitoring measures and sanctions. The reforestation was not fully implemented in most hydropower projects. The negative impacts of hydropower can be listed as followed: Causing the loss of many valuable rainforest areas: According to the statistics of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (2012), in the period of 2006-2012, there were 160 hydropower projects being 181

constructed and more than 19,792 hectares of the total forest area shifted (the actual figure might be even higher as it did not include the forest area loss due to the demand for resettlement land and production land) in 29 provinces and cities under the central authority. In reality, according to the report on the environmental impact assessment, the reforestation area for replacement in accordance with the commitments was just about 3.7% in comparison with the requirement. The area in which many hydropower projects causing the greatest loss of forestland was the Central Highlands with 50 hydropower projects, followed by the North Central region with 23 projects. The other five areas respectively were the Northwest, the South Central, the Northeast, the Southeast and the Southwest. Occupying natural land area, causing relocation and increasing poverty rate: Hydropower works often occupy a lot of natural land, including forestlands, wetlands and residential lands. According to the data of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (2013), counting 21 hydropower projects in 12 provinces there were about 75,000 households relocated. Another investigation of the Institute of development consultancy (CODE 2010) showed that the area occupied by hydropower and the number of residents relocated in some hydropower plants were significant (Table 8.2). Forced to move to resettlement areas, those people faced many difficulties in their living with instable livelihood resulting in their low income. Consequently, the average poverty rate in those resettlement areas was at a very high level, accounting for 36.6%, nearly four times higher than the average poverty rate of the whole country in 2012. Table 8.3 is the result of many poverty rate investigations of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (2013) in the hydropower resettlement areas of Hoa Binh, Son La, Dien Bien, Lai Chau, Tuyen Quang, Thanh Hoa, Nghe An, Quang Tri, Phu Yen, Kon Tum, Gia Lai and Dak Lak (Pan Nature 2013). Table 8.2: Occupied land area and resident relocation of some hydropower projects in Vietnam Hydropower Thac Ba Hoa Binh Son La Huoi Quang Ban Chat Lai Chau Tuyen Quang

Occupied land area Residents relocated (hectare) (person) 23,400 75,000 23,333 4,558 8,186 4,143 8,000 182

30,000 89,720 91,100 6,459 15,738 6,579 23,630

Ban Ve A Vuong Song Tranh2 Yaly Pleikrong

5,492 941 2,900 6,450 5,328

13,790 1,582 4,300 24,610 6,000

Source: CODE (2010)

Table 8.3: Proportion of resettled poor households by hydropower project Hoa Binh hydropower 43.00 % Ta Co hydropower (Son La) 100.00 % Son La hydropower (Dien Bien) 38.90 % Huoi Quang hydropower (Lai Chau) 34.80 % Ban Chat hydropower (Lai Chau) 34.80 % Tuyen Quang hydropower 21.30 % Ban Ve hydropower (Nghe An) 89.60 % Hua Na hydropower (Hua Na) 19.50 % Khe Bo hydropower (Nghe An) 60.00 % Dong Nai 3 hydropower 60.28% Song Tranh 2 hydropower (Quang Nam) 7.96% Buon Kuop hydropower (Dak Lak) 8.10 % Buon Tua Srah hydropower (Dak Lak) 8.10 % SrĂŠpok 3 hydropower (Dak Lak) 8.10 % Krong Hnang hydropower (Dak Lak) 8.10 % Source: Pan Nature (2013)

Declining biodiversity and regional environment: The impact of hydropower on the decline of biodiversity as well as the ecology and environment has been proved and warned by many scientific studies in the world and in region (Don E. McAllister et al. 2001; Carew-Reidet et al. 2010; Parineeta Dandekar 2012). In Vietnam, this issue made heated discussions for the last 2 years from 2012 to 2013 on the media, especially on the press and the scientific forums in Vietnam when Dong Nai 6 hydropower project was carried out in the area close to the protected area of South Cat Tien National Park, which was recognized by the UNESCO as the Biosphere reserve of Vietnam, and threatened Bau Sau area, which was recognized as Ramsar Wetlands of Vietnam. The scientists from Vietnam Rivers Network have documented that the hydropower projects DN6 & DN6A have violated the International Convention on Biodiversity in 1992 that Vietnam signed to the date 16 th November 1994, violated Point 2, Article 7 of the Biodiversity Law (the National Assembly, 2008), which prohibits any construction in ecological 183

restoration zones of the reserve. This work has also violated point 1, article 9 of the forest protection and development law (2004), which defines the principles of the forest protection and development. Based on Point 12, Article 7 of the Environmental Protection Act (2006), which prohibits the acts "invading natural heritage and nature reserves", those hydropower projects will cause damage to the ecological system, the environment, the biodiversity of Cat Tien National Park and native ecosystems. Besides, the works have also violated the decree of the government (2003) on the conservation and sustainable development of wetlands. Exposing many risks and threats to people’s living security through the operation of hydropower in many years: There are many real lessons (Nguyen Thi Thu Huyen 2013; Quach Thi Xuan 2014; Le Anh Tuan et al. 2014) related to site accidents, broken dams, earthquakes, deforestation, flooding, drought, erosion, and saltwater intrusion, etc. Those lessons show that the hydropower in Vietnam is unsafe. Residents and local authorities were complaining and submitting their request to the National Assembly, the government and other ministries and branches many times about those hydropower problems. This made practical elements enforcing the central government to find it necessary to have changes in vision and strategies for hydropower development. In the period 2013 - 2014, the government of Vietnam required the ministries, companies and local authorities to continue checking and evaluating the safety of dams and reservoirs; also, to determine to suspend the works which had had problems or potential risks. The hydropower ladder works on river basin systems had to develop regulations of reservoir operation in the condition of both flood season and dry season. However, those reservoir operation processes has not been complete, so they need to be adjusted.

REFERENCES Carew-Reid, Jeremy, Josh Kempinski, and Alison Clausen. 2010. Biodiversity and Development of the Hydropower Sector: Lessons from the Vietnamese Experience – Volume I: Review of the Effects of Hydropower Development on Biodiversity in Vietnam. ICEM – International Centre for Environmental Management, Prepared for the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund, Hanoi, Viet Nam. 63 pages. CODE. 2010. Relocation, resettlement, living establishment, protection of environment and natural resources in hydropower works in Vietnam. Hanoi


Don, E. McAllister, John F. Craid, Nick Davidson, Simon Delany, and Mary Seddon. 2001. Biodiversity Impacts of Large Dams. Background Paper No. 1. Prepared for IUCN / UNEP / WCD. 63 pages. Environmental News. 2013. Ten outstanding environmental events in Vietnam in 2013 (Muoi su kien moi truong noi bat trong nuoc nam 2013). Tin Moi truong 31/12/2013. Available on http://www.tinmoitruong.vn/home/print_detail/29807 Fortin, J. 2012. A Dam Conundrum: Xayaburi Project Could Help Laos and Thailand, Hurt Cambodia and Vietnam. International Business Times 5/12/2012. Available on http://www.ibtimes.com/dam-conundrumxayaburi-project-could-help-laos-thailand-hurt-cambodia-vietnam859904 Government of Vietnam. 2003. Decree on the conservation and sustainable development of wetlands, Decree no. 109/2003/ND-CP, signed 23rd September 2003. ICEM. 2010. MRC Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) of hydropower on the Mekong main stream, Hanoi - Viet Nam. Le Anh Tuan, Dao Trong Tu, Dang Ngoc Vinh, Pham Thi Dieu My, and Lam Thi Thu Suu. 2014. The operation of floodwater discharge and water storage of the hydropower reservoir to the downstream Vu Gia – Thu Bon river systems: from simulation data to the reflection of people’s reality, Technical report, cooperation program of ICCO and VRN, 20 pages. Le Anh Tuan. 2012. EIA report on Dong Nai 6 and 6A hydroelectric projects (2012): Ten concerns. Vietnam River Network, announced September 2012. Le Anh Tuan. 2014. Key note presentation at the Citizen forum ‘ Central – Central Highlands hydropower – Concerns of Citizens and Responsibilities of relevant parties’, held by VRN and CSRD in Hue city, November 2014. Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. 2012. Report on the shift of the forest use to hydropower construction from 2006 to 2012, Report No. 3716/BC-BNN-TCLN, signed 30th October 2012. Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. 2013. Report on the results, existences and problems in compensation, support and resettlement in hydropower construction, Report No. 1483/BC-BNN-KTHT, signed 6th May 2013. Ministry of Industry and Trade. 2011. Evaluation report on strategy environment for the national electricity development Project 20112020, considering to 2030 (QHD VII), Hanoi, p.262. Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MONRE). 2013. The EIA report on Dong Nai 6 and Dong Nai 6A hydropower projects. 185

Document no. 142/BC-BTNMT signed by deputy minister, Mr. Bui Cach Tuyen on 30-8-2013. National Assembly of Vietnam. 2012. Resolution of questions and answers in Session 4, the National Assembly XIII. Resolution 40/2012/QH13 approved by the National Assembly XIII in the 4th session, 23rd November 2012. National Assembly of Vietnam (NAV). 2013. Resolution on the improvement of planning management, construction investment and hydropower work operation, Resolution No. 62/2013/QH13, approved by the National Assembly on 27th November 2013, in Public Newspaper Vol. 1007, 1008, 30th December 2013. Nguyen Tan Dung. 2014. Prime Minister’s Speech at the 2nd Mekong River Commission Summit, Ho Chi Minh City, April 5th, 2014. Available on http://www.vietnamembassydenmark.vn/vi/vnemb.kr/nr070521165843/nr070521170351/news_ object_view?newsPath=/vnemb.vn/tin_hddn/ns140407155634 Nguyen Thi Huyen. 2013. Overall assessment on the impacts of the activities of hydropower plants in the Central – Central Highlands region on the environment - Proposal for environmental protection and management, Scientific report summarizing mission I -197 of the Ministry of Trade and Industry, 12 pages. Pan Nature. 2013. Results, existences and problems in compensation, support and hydropower resettlement. Bulletin of environment, natural resources and sustainable development policies, vol. 10, 2nd quarter 2013. Parineeta Dandekar. 2012. Impacts of Dams on Biodiversity: Need for Urgent Collaborative Action. Oral presentation on the Second Indian Biodiversity Congress, 9-12 December, 2012, IIS, Bengaluru, India. People’s Committee of Dong Nai Province. 2013. Petition to the National Assembly and the Government to stop the DN6 and DN6A hydropower projects. Document no. 5222/UBND-CNN issued on 03/7/2013. Prime Minister of Vietnam. 2011. Decision to Approve National electricity development planning for the period of 2011-2020, vision to 2030. Decision no. 1208/QD-TTg issued on 21/7/2011. Prime Minister of Vietnam. 2013. Document no. 7958/VPCP-KTN, issued on September 23, 2013. Quach Thi Xuan. 2014. Case study of DakMi4 hydropower plant - A lesson learned from a diversion dam, in program: Supporting the MRC in pro-poor sustainable hydropower development, published by GIZ and Network for Sustainable Hydropower Development in the Mekong countries (NSHD-Mekong). 65 pages. 186

Representatives of Rivers Coalition in Cambodia (RCC) and Tonlesap and Mekong communities. 2014. Open letter to four Prime Ministers for calling to halt construction of Don Sahong Dam and stop making any development on the Mekong Mainstream Dam. Available on http://www.mrcmekong.org/assets/Other-Documents/stakeholdersubmissions/Final-010414-Eng-Open-letter-to-the-4-govt-on-DSH.pdf Tri Tin. 2012. Quang Nam cancelled 23 hydropower project proposals (Quang Nam loai 23 du an thuy dien). VnExpress 23/10/2012. Available on https://vnexpress.net/tin-tuc/thoi-su/quang-nam-loai23-du-an-thuy-dien-2253680.html VRN. 2012. Vietnam Rivers Network’s viewpoint On “Mekong and Hydropower dams”. Available on http://vrn.org.vn/en/h/d/2012/08/427/Vietnam_Rivers_Network’s_v iewpoint_On_“Mekong_and_Hydropower_dams”_/index.html




Ms Pham Thi Dieu My is Executive Director of Center for Social Research and Development (CSRD). She is an experienced specialist in the areas of natural disaster mitigation and climate change response across many international and national projects. She has managed many projects and research activities at a local level and with disadvantaged people. Ms. Ms My was awarded an Australian Scholarship to complete a Master Degree in Natural Hazards and Disasters at the Australian National University in 2011-2013. Her expertise includes natural disaster research and practice at the local level, climate change impacts, adaptive capacity and vulnerability research, gender mainstreaming, social and environmental impact assessment, and community based research. Contact: 2/33 Nguyen Truong To, Hue City Vietnam, Phone: (84 234) 3837714 / 0948157110, Email: dieumy.csrd@gmail.com

Dr. Nguyen Quy Hanh is Vice President cum Secretary General of Vietnam Union of Friendship Organizations of Thua Thien Hue Province (HueFO), Vice Head of Social and Environmental Impact Assessment Working Group, Senior Researcher at Center for Knowledge Cocreation and Development Research, Member of the Advisory Board of Center for Social Research and Development (CSRD) and Vietnam Rivers Network (VRN). He obtained Doctor of Philosophy in Development Studies at Bonn University (Germany), Master of Development Practice at University of Queensland (Australia), and Bachelor of Arts in Education at Hue University of Education (Vietnam). He has 15 years working for sustainable development in Central Vietnam, Central Highlands and the Mekong Delta. His main areas of research and practice include social planning, impact assessment, alternative development, natural resource management, pro-poor tourism and knowledge governance for development. Contact: 24 Ly Thuong Kiet Street, Hue City, Phone: (84 234) 3846493/0913336223, Email: quyhanh@gmail.com


A/Prof. Dr. Le Anh Tuan has been working at Can Tho University since 1982 and currently holds the position of Senior Lecturer at the College of Environment and Natural Resources. He also is the Vice Director of the Research Institute for Climate Change – Can Tho University, Vietnam. Tuan completed his Bachelor of Engineering in Water Management and Land Improvement at Can tho University, Vietnam in 1982 and Master of Engineering in Water Resources Engineering at Asian Institute of Technology, Bangkok, Thailand in 1990. He finished PhD. in Applied BioSciences and Engineering, specialized in Environmental Hydrology at Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium. In 2012, Dr. Tuan was official recognized as an Associate Professor in Earth Sciences of Can Tho University. Dr. Tuan is currently a coordinator of the Mekong River Delta Network for Environmental Protection and Climate Change Adaptation (MekongNet) and also a member of the Executive Board of Vietnam Rivers Network (VRN). Mr Dang Ngoc Quang graduated from the University of the Future Generations (WV, USA) in 2007, obtained his master's degree in physics with a high distinction from Kharkiv State University (Ukraine) in 1975. He also finished his bachelor degree in social sciences from the National University of Social Sciences and Humanities (Hanoi) in 2002. Mr. Quang is the founder of the Rural Development Service Center (RDSC), a non-profit organization which promotes rural development and gender equality in Phu Tho, Quang Binh and Kon Tum provinces.

Ms Jacqueline Storey is the Inclusion Project Manager in Oxfam’s Mekong Regional Water Governance Program. In the Inclusion Project, Oxfam has worked with CSRD in CSRD’s project piloting the Oxfam Gender Impact Assessment manual for hydropower in the Vietnam context, and Jacqueline has published previously with CSRD colleagues on the lessons from this work in Oxfam's Gender and Development journal. Jacqueline has a Masters in Development Studies from the University of Melbourne and background in anthropology and program design and evaluation, and has worked for the last eleven years in community and natural resource management and environment programs with a strong focus on gender; in Australia and South East Asia.


Mr Hoang The Vinh is Head of People’s Aid Mobilisation Division of Vietnam Union of Friendship Organizations of Thua Thien Hue Province (HueFO). He obtained the Master of Development Practice, majored in Community Development from the University of Queensland, Australia (2012-2013). He has been calling, coordinating, implementing and managing many nongovernmental aid projects/programs in a wide range of fields, including rural integrated development, climate change resilience, landmine clearance, healthcare. He also conducted a number of joint research and evaluation studies on community development projects supporting women and ethnic minority groups deloyed by local and international NGOs in the central region. Ms Hoang Thi Hoai Tam is Project officer cum Accountant at Centre for Social Research and Development (CSRD). She got Bachelor’s Degree of Development Economy – Planning and Investment Branch. She has more than 3 years of experience in working with community-impacted by hydropower in VietNam.

Ms Lam Thi Thu Suu was the founder of CSRD and is a passionate campaigner for social justice and environmental protection. She was a Fulbright Visiting Scholar and won awards including the Bellagio Centre Residency Award (Rockefeller Foundation) and the Endeavour Executive Award (Australian Government).

Mr Le Quang Tien has been working for Centre for Social Research and Development (CSRD) as a Project Officer since 2012. He has over 5 years of experience working with communities in the areas of sustainable livelihoods and poverty reduction, renewable energies, coastal mangrove development and disaster and climate change response.


Ms. Le Thi Nguyen is a seasoned lecturer in geography and geology at Hue University of Science. Specialization in Natural Resources and Environment Management. SEIA member. Areas of In-depth Study: Climate Change; Assessment of the impact on the natural, economic and social aspects of hydropower projects and other constructions; Relationships between Population and Development.

Mr Nguyen Bac Giang is currently a lecturer at the Faculty of Environment, Hue University of Sciences. He has over 19 years of research experience in the field of Natural Resources and Environment in the Central and Central Highlands. The key areas of research that he have been conducting include environmental assessment, natural resources and environmental management, water quality management and hygiene and urban environment.

Mr Nguyen Thanh Toan is presently managing the projects on environment, natural resources and disaster response, and climate change at Oxfam Vietnam. Mr Nguyen Thanh Toan posses over 15 years working in Vietnam in the field of sustainable development, environmental protection, climate change adaptation and humanitarian relief. He is experienced in working with disadvantaged communities, governmental agencies, international organizations and donors in Vietnam. He completed his Master Degree from the Australian National University, majoring in Climate Change and Sustainable Natural Resource Management. Contact: toan.nguyenthanh@oxfam.org, Skype: nguyen.thanhtoan. Dr. Nguyen Thi My Van is working at the Faculty of Climate Change and Sustainable Development of Hanoi University of Natural Resource and Environment. She received Doctoral Degree in Environment Science, majoring in Environment in Sustainable Development at Hanoi National University and Master Degree in Sustainable Development at Chiang Mai University in


Thailand. Dr. Van has nearly 20 years of experience in working with rural communities and ethnic groups in the Central and Central Highlands, training and studying in the fields of hunger eradication and poverty alleviation, sustainable livelihood, climate change and natural resource management. Ms Nguyen Thi Nhu Trang graduated from the Diplomatic Academy of Vietnam with solid academic background in development politics and social issues. Recently, she serves as Project Manager at RosaLuxemburg-Stiftung Southeast Asia (RLS SEA). Ms Trang experienced in technical and management works as well as possesses extensive knowledge and experience in the field of social rights and environmental justice, gender issues, climate change, migration with women rights based approach,. Ms Trang also involves in providing technical assist and consultation on publication on research related to these issues, including planning activities, strategy developing, outcomes designing for a broad range of partners in Vietnam, Cambodia, Myanmar. Ms Nguyen Thi Xuan Quynh is currently a communication - community development officer at Center for Water Resources Conservation and Development (WARECOD). Ms Quynh is a Bachelor in Economic Development, majoring in Public Policy and has 5 years of experience in promoting the establishment and operation of environmental protection community networks in the Northern Uplands, Mekong Delta and Central Highlands.

Mr Phan Thang Long obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Hue University of Science in 2014. Mr Long has many years of experience in carrying out sociological surveys in the Central and Central Highlands, conducting SPSS-based data analysis and participating in community development projects.


Ms Phan Thi Ngoc Thuy is currently the program coordinator in Vietnam of the Global Engagement Institute (GEI), Germany. She was a sociology student of Hue College of Sciences before obtaining the Master Degree in Gender and Development Studies at the Asian Institute of Technology (AIT).

Ms Tran Mai Huong is a Program Manager at Centre for Social Research and Development (CSRD). She has a Bachelor of Sociology from Hue University of Sciences. She participated in 6 months course about Human Right in Thailand and in 2016, received YSEALI Scholarship of Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Huong specifically helps these local communities advocate for their rights in the face of hydroelectric dam development and holds developers accountable for environmental and social impacts.

Ms Tran Thi Thanh Tam is a Media and Communication officer at Centre for Social Research and Development (CSRD). She graduated from Hue University, College of Sciences with a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism. She has more than 4 years of experience in community development, field research, and community networking support and has involved in many different research projects in the Central and Central Highlands.




Y Gai Knul, an old man from Drai Village, Ea Na Commune Krong Ana District, Dak Lak Province sitting beside the pumper getting water from the Srépok river for production and construction. The thirst for energy and resources of humans has made it a “thirsty” river too.


A boat on a dried-up downstream river in Dai Hong Commune, Dai Loc District, Quang Nam Province, which has been under the negative impacts of A Vuong, Dak Mi and Song Bung hydropower plants.

An old women in Tri A Village, Buon Don District, Dak Lak Province fishing on the SrĂŠpok river which has been running out of aquatic resources and even water.


The water of the SrĂŠpok river running through Tri A Village, Krong Na Commune, Buon Don District, Dak Lak Province has been dried out to its bed, posing significant negative impacts on the life, livelihood and culture of the local people.

The women in A Sap Village, Hong Thuong Commune, A Luoi District have to boat over the reservoir of A Luoi hydropower plant everyday to reach their crop fields.


A woman cultivating on the new yet infertile land in the resettlement area set up by the Ta Trach hydropower plant in Duong Hoa Commune, Huong Thuy Township, Thua Thien Hue Province.

Y Nhang, a man from Tri A Village, Buon Don District, Dak Lak Pprovince casting his net on the Tha Luong river, but “there is no big hope for the fishes to be caught since the river is a dead one now�.


A 3-generation family in the resettlement area of Drai village, Krong Ana district, Dak Lak province , where many people get no job and face insecurity in life.

H’Jan, a female leader in Drai Village, Ea Na Commune, Krong Ana District, Dak Lak Province leading a group discussion to select potential livelihood models that they can work together within a women empowerment project carried out by CSRD and funded by Oxfam for communities under hydropower impacts.


The people of Tri A Village, Krong Na Commune, Buon Don district, Dak Lak Province have to go quite a distance to buy and get bottled water since the SrĂŠpok river has dried out and its water is no longer drinkable.


THUAN HOA PUBLISHING HOUSE 33 Chu Van An, Hue City, Vietnam Phone: 84 234 3 823847 – 821228 Fax: 84 234 3 848345 Email: nxbthuanhoa@vnn.vn





Printed: copies: 200, size 16 x 24 cm, at the An Hieu Media Company, Ltd. 10 Ha Huy Tap, Xuan Phu Ward, Hue City. Permit for publication No: 14982018/CXBIPH/4-39/ThuH. Decision for publication No: 57/QĐ-XBTH dated 21 May 2018 . Completed and registered May 2018. 202

ISBN: 978-604-959-104-4