Andrew Wyatt is an Australian national with over fifteen years of research and project management experience in the Mekong Region. He has a BSc from Macquarie University and completed his PhD in Geography from the University of Sydney in 2004. Since then, Andrew has been living and working in Vietnam.
For much of that time, he has been based in the Mekong Delta at Can Tho University and at the Institute of Tropical Biology in Ho Chi Minh City since 2007. He has held a number of advisory positions with government and non-government agencies in Vietnam and Cambodia; including IUCN, Oxfam and the Rivers Coalition of Cambodia. Andrew’s academic and professional experience has been in diverse fields; such as the political ecology of the Mekong, integrated water resources management, trans-boundary impact assessments and community-based natural resource management. Andrew has published in leading international journals and was also a contributing author to the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change Fourth Assessment Report 2007.
Presently, he is the Mekong Delta Programme Manager at IUCN Viet Nam. As he manages programmes in relation to the Delta, he is also a focal point for the Building Coastal Resilience (BCR) project in Viet Nam.
Could you provide us with the key updates on BCR activities in Viet Nam?
Following the completion of the Vulnerability and Capacity Assessments (VCAs) and Promoting Local Innovations in our four provinces by late 2012, the Building Coastal Resilience (BCR) project in Viet Nam moved into its pilot project implementation stage. A total of nine pilot projects are in various stages of preparation, with approximately US$ 300,000 being allocated for their implementation. Six projects have gone through a cost-benefit analysis, and are just completing their contractual phase. Implementation will begin in August. The other three projects will follow soon after. Our local implementing partners for these projects include a Women’s Union, two Commune Peoples Committees, a Fisheries Sub-department, and a Forest Management Board.
The six projects involve the following:
- Community-based adaptation to climate change impacts through mangrove reforestation and strengthening a compacted earth sea dyke to protect crop land in Soc Trang.
- Conservation of coastal aquatic species in the near-shore fishery by conversion to more sustainable fishing practice and gear in Soc Trang.
- Supporting the Soc Trang Women’s Union with new climate proofed livelihoods and climate change awareness-raising.
- Awareness-raising, and livelihood diversification in Kien Giang
- Clean water, sanitation and waste collection in Kien Giang
- Mangrove sediment traps and wave barriers built out Melaleuca lanceolata trees, in Kien Giang
The highlight of the year for the BCR project in Viet Nam will be the opportunity to host, along with our partners, the Second Annual Forum on Building Coastal Resilience in Viet Nam, Cambodia and Thailand, between 15 and 18 October in Soc Trang Province. Planning for this exciting event is already underway.
What are the main results and highlights of the first BCR Coastal Forum organised in Thailand last year, and how the Coastal Forum in Viet Nam this year build upon it?
The highlight of the first Coastal Forum that was organised in Thailand included the opportunity for us and our provincial partners to engage with, and to learn from participants who shared the same ambitions in building coastal resilience. The first Coastal Forum had a focus on the conceptual issues of vulnerability and resilience and some of the tools that are used in their assessment. This was the first opportunity that our provincial partners had to engage with these concepts. The training workshop held by the Partnership for Environment and Disaster Reduction during the Coastal Forum kicked off the process of training our provincial partners on the method of doing vulnerability and capacity assessments which then allowed us to carry out this assessment in the months following the Coastal Forum.
This year, we plan to reconvene for the second Coastal Forum in Soc Trang Province, to focus on the implementation stage of BCR, by sharing experiences and learning from BCR’s and its partners’ resilience-building pilot projects and initiatives. As they did during the first Coastal Forum, we expect the media to play an important role and to communicate key resilience building issues and messages to the general public.
Together with our partners, we look forward to welcoming participants to this year’s Coastal Forum.
Andrew Wyatt is based in Ho Chi Minh City and can be reached though Andrew.WYATT@iucn.org