VESDEC's scientific & technological business in 2021

In 2021, as many companies in Vietnam, the Institute of Environmental Science and Development (VESDEC) has faced great difficulties in its business, due to the Covid pandemic. Because to ensure the health of its experts and staffs, VESDEC had to refuse many projects consisted field survey or public consultation, so only some important projects below have been implemented.
1. Conduction of Initial Environmental and Social Assessment for Selection of LNG Port Location in the Project of USTDA Southern Vietnam LNG-Power Feasibility Study
Implementing the agreement with LLC (EEA, USA) from November 2020 to January 2021, environmentalists of VESDEC conducted an Initial Environmental and Social Assessment for the 3 alternative locations in order to choose the most suitable site to build a deep-water LNG port. Three locations are evaluated: Tanphuoc at the Soairap river mouth (Tiengiang province), Binhthanh at Dungquat bay (Quangngai province) and Mygiang at Vanphong bay (Khanhhoa province).
In order to identify the best site for this project basing on the environmental and social criteria the VESDEC environmentalists have conducted initially evaluate the present natural environmental and socio-economic conditions at 3 alternative sites basing on the following methods:
a. Collection of available data and information on the natural environment and socio-economy of the communes from various research papers and administrative reports published in journals, newspapers and websites;
b. Conduction of field visits to the communes where are locations of 3 alternative sites. During the field visits, the natural and social conditions at 3 sites were identified by observation on the landscape, terrains, vegetation, housing, economic activities and by interviewing local residents.
c.  Initial assessment of the suitability of port construction and operation locations based on a ranking system according to groups of criteria on natural conditions (land topography, seabed topography, hydrology, climate, impacts due to climate change); biological resources, biodiversity; historical and religious works; population, economy, poverty; distance to the LNG major consumers.
From the initial assessment the following conclusions were made:
a. Considering the natural and social conditions at 3 alternative sites for the LNG port project it can be concluded that all of them have high advantages but also various disadvantages for construction and operation of the port and its technical facilities.
b. The above assessment is only preliminary and the site score differences are not large in two of the three categories. This Phase 1 alternative sites comparison will serve as the basis for the alternative sites analysis section of the Phase 2 full ESIA which will provide additional information and analysis to confirm the findings of the present analysis.

2. Continuing to Implement Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) for the Mekong Delta Integrated Regional Plan for the Period 2021 - 2030, With a Vision to 2050
Under the guidance of the VESDEC Director –Team Leader of the International SEA Team of GIZ (Germany), VESDEC’ environmental and social experts in collaboration with international experts have continued the SEA study, started from March 2020. The SEA report has been prepared and submitted to Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI) and presented at the Appraisal Council of the Minister of Natural Resources and Environment (MONRE). After the final revision, it was approved and submitted by MONRE to the Prime Minister (Letter No. 2084/BTNMT-TCMT dated May 5, 2021). In December 2021 the SEA Report was finally revised to match the new data of the Planning Report approved by the Prime Minister in November 2021.
Left: Some planned transport projects may encroach on sensitive ecological zones; Right: Forecast of Cumulative Impact of the thermal power plants, if there is no change in the planning of power centers according to PDP VII – Adjustment (the worst case: dispersion of dust and SO2 pollution to the Southeast region and Ho Chi Minh City).

3. Research and Suggestion of Environmental Protection Plans; Conservation of Nature and Biodiversity in Package 07: Consulting for Baria-Vungtau Province Planning in the Period of 2021 - 2030, With a Vision to 2050
Environmental experts of VESDEC have performed the following tasks according to the contract with the Institute of Strategy and Policy of Natural Resources and Environment (MONRE): Collecting and processing documents on environmental quality, biological resources, biodiversity, socio-economic aspects of Baria-Vungtau province; conducting survey of hot spots of environmental pollution and ecologically sensitive areas in the whole province. From the research results, the following thematic reports have been compiled:
1. Making environmental zoning according to the strict protection zones, emission-limited zones and other zones oriented in the national environmental protection plan.
Environmental zoning options proposed by VESDEC for Baria-Vungtau province according to the Law on Environmental Protection 2020.
2. Proposing the provincial biodiversity conservation goals and targets; objectives, organization and management measures for areas of high biodiversity, important wetlands, important ecological landscape areas, biodiversity corridors, nature reserves.
 Left: Survey of Binh Chau – Phuoc Buu Nature Reserve (May 2021); Right: Condao National Park, occupied most of the island area and 14,000ha of sea surface. These nature reserves are needed in strict protection.
3. Formulate an environmental monitoring system for Baria – Vungtau, included soil, water and air quality monitoring matching with the national environmental monitoring master plan.
4. Proposing a system for management of natural resources and environment in Baria - Vungtau province, a coordination mechanism between agencies, departments and localities in natural resources and environment management.
5. Synthesizing the thematic reports on environment, nature conservation, biodiversity and environmental monitoring and proposing directions and solutions for environmental protection, nature conservation, biodiversity and projects for the period 2021 - 2030, vision to 2050 for Baria - Vungtau province.
The aquaculture industry concentrated on Longson island may be affected by the Southern Petrochemical Complex (left); The operation of industrial zones and deep-water ports along the Thivai - Caimep rivers: are and will adversely affect the mangrove ecosystems of the estuary - along the coast of Baria - Vungtau due to encroachment on forest land and emissions.

4. Continuation of the Implementation of the Independent Environmental Monitoring for ADB - JICA Project of Construction of Benluc - Longthanh Expressway
The independent environmental monitoring task for this project carried out by VESDEC from 2015 to 2019 has ended in 2019. However, at the request of Vietnam Expressway Corporation (VEC) and in the spirit of cooperation VESDEC agrees to continue to extend the contract for the implementation of the Mission for the Period 2020 to 2023 (the project is expected to be completed by the end of 2023, after so many years of delay).
Up to now, the additional contract negotiations have been completed and the relevant parties have accepted them. However, due to the Covid pandemic, the independent environmental monitoring for this project may start only after February 2022.
5. In addition to the above projects, VESDEC experts continue to perform their personal tasks such as research, consulting, and teaching under contracts with the institutes and universities.
Source: VESDEC Office, December 2021

Author: VESDEC