22 November 2019
By Dr Duong Minh Lam, Hanoi National University of Education (Vietnam)

Blue Communities Vietnam (BCVN) has been achieving some good progress in terms of organisation and implementation of the research projects in the Blue Communities (BC) research programme.
After the annual meeting in November 2018 in the Philippines, members of BC at Hanoi National University of Education (Vietnam) were changed. Now there are 12 people working for BCVN from different fields for better correspondence to the nature of the projects and with UK partners, including: two ecologists; two plant biologists; a microbiologist; a social worker; three geologists specializing in GIS, climate change and economy-geography, and an environmentalist.
The ambition of the new team was to apply all 12 projects to Cu Lao Cham-Hoi An Biosphere Reserve. However, following the visit of the Programme Director and Manager in February 2019 and discussions with the UK project leaders made it into 9 projects that suited the needs of Cu Lao Cham.

Team Vietnam with Blue Communities Programme Director and Manager
There have been weekly meetings among the BCVN members. The agendas for the first 2-3 months were to clarify the objectives, contents, rules, nature of BC in general and of the projects. The new implementing schedule for the next three years and details of each project were established. The following meetings were to report results and progress of each project to other members among BC and outside BC such as meetings on evidence synthesis, innovation history and netmap methods, sharing workshop results of project 6 as well as new methods and experiences. Through the activities, the research capacities of each member have been developed. Evidence synthesis is a good method that can be applied to any BC project and it helps to map the concerning issues of the project and to make the project plan more complete. Using this method we found that the research on communities along the coast of Vietnam are scattered and more basic research needs to be undertaken for better support to policy makers.

Project 2 meeting with UK partners
The most marked achievement was the field trip to Cu Lao Cham at the end of February 2019 of all BCVN members. The trip was the first survey for the new team members of the study site and was an opportunity to help authorities here understand the overall objectives of the BC programme and its projects, as well as expected outcomes to help the area of Cu Lao Cham to improve the current marine planning and policies.

Project 2 has also made great progress with two field trips organized, applying innovation history to gather data for the milestones relating to Cu Lao Cham planning and development. The collected information showed that local community engagement has been a key factor of Cu Lao Cham protected area development. This is the first marine protected area where plastic products (bags, bottles, straws etc.) have been limited since 2009.

Investigating a new scoring matrix for ecosystem services

Project 3 and 3b, studying small fishery management, have shown good progress together with the UK project leaders where a new scoring matrix of ecosystem services that is suitable for CLC-Hoi An has been developed.
Project 6 recently became involved and caught up well with other partners, with the support of Dr. Mat White and colleagues in Malaysia. The first trip in May 2019 was great success and gave many ideas for further study at the site on health, well-being and behavior of people at Cu Lao Cham.

The other projects (7, 8, 10, 11, and 12) have been collecting data for analysis using common software/tools among the Blue Communities program. Aditionally, Hanoi National University of Education hosted BC's Project Manager and representatives from our partners in Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines who joined the workshop on Financial Reporting and Administration in June 2019.

Overall the BC programme implementation and the capacity of Hanoi National University of Education researchers and staff have been improving in different aspects such as administration, financial and marine planning to contribute to sustainable development. This has included a great development in early November at the Hanoi National University of Education where an Ethics Committee has been established and have begun procedures for reviewing ethics applications. BCVN members were the key personnel for this movement as the committee was proposed based on the knowledge gained from BC activities, together with national and international information on this issue. There are 9 members of the new Ethics Committee at the university and the first of the ethics applications is now under review.
  • Team Vietnam at the annual meeting in the UK
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