Environmental Assessment of the Chia se Poverty Alleviation Program Phase II
Chia se can be described as a pre-reform program aiming at showing a way to implement the decentralization policies of the Government of Vietnam Nation-wide, analyze the results obtained and communicate lessons learned to the public administration nation-wide. The Chia sẻ approach to poverty alleviation can be briefly described as a way of empowering villagers to jointly manage a Local Development Fund (LDF), large enough to support investments that can improve the living conditions of the poor in a sustainable manner. Identification of poor households as well as setting development priorities were tasks decided by the village meeting convened by officials elected by the village. To maintain a democratic and transparent process for managing the LDF, investment decisions were taken by the village meeting.
The second phase:
- Consolidated the results achieved in the local areas
- Developed and analyzed less expensive ways of successfully applying the same approach, making it replicable nation-wide
- Made the results and the procedures behind these results well-known and communicated, for obtaining impact on Socio Economic Development planning, policy-making and application of already existing policies within the fields of poverty reduction, rural development, decentralization and grassroots democracy
ORGUT provided technical assistance and advice to the Ministry of Planning and Investments and the Provincial Peoples Committees in Ha Giang and Quang Tri in particular in developing and promoting the decentralized, rights-based approach to local governance.
It was decided to test the development of Strategic Environmental Impact assessments on District level in order to enhance the capabilities of local administrations to consider environmental and climate change issues when implementing decentralized and participatory planning.
The purpose of the assignment was to make a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) of Chia Se Phase II and beyond. The SEA should focus on the mutual relations between environment and poverty reduction activities and include institutional as well as impact issues. In doing so, the SEA should (i) identify how environmental issues in the field work of Chia Se II are influenced by the major policies guiding the program, and (ii) identify key environmental priorities to consider when including Chia Se methodologies into the SEDP planning processes.
For the continued development of replicable and implementable large scale participatory approaches and methods for poverty reduction in rural areas, it was in the Chia Se Poverty Alleviation Program Phase II important to have an understanding of how environmental issues may be addressed in Chia Se-like situations and in participatory socio-economic development planning (SEDP) on the lowest administrative levels. The Strategic Environmental Assessment of Chia Se was seen in this context.
The Environmental Advisor provided technical assistance to a consultant team contracted by the Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI) that should do the actual SEA work and reporting. The work included the design and start-up phase in two districts and quality control of draft reports.