18 June 2020
By Dr Quyen Van Nguyen, Hanoi National University of Education 

2020 is the year with a great challenge for international projects, COVID-19 pandemic. This affects the whole world and Vietnam has been no exception. 

The Blue Communities programme has been affected in several aspects, such as conducting field visit, working with local stakeholders and community engagement. However, the team managed to implement activities as much as possible.

In good news, a new member, Dr. Nguyen Phuong Thao, recently joined the BC Vietnam (BCVN) team. She now works mainly with Project 1 and supports other projects.
 
Team members working on Projects 3/8 and Project 12 were preparing for field trips, which were delayed due to COVID-19. However, the COVID-19 regulations have eased in Vietnam and field trips are planned to be conducted this summer. The team working on Project 6 showed great progress after the COVID-19 regulations eased and the project lead, with support of the BCVN team and local assistants, managed to complete a hundred interviews to collect sufficient raw data for analysis.

Figure 1
A very active online communication environment has been developed during this COVID-19 time, where in many projects, such as Project 2, Project 3/8 and Project 6, BCVN members, UK members and other partners meet more frequently. These effectively put forward the progress of BC projects.
 
Many projects are actively working on new ideas and manuscripts for publication. The Project 10 team is working on the second manuscript based on data extracting from local sources and the model developed within Project 10.

During the early times of COVID-19, instead of conducting a capacity building workshop in Indonesia, the Project leaders and cross-country participants of Project 12 adapted to the outbreak by changing to a virtual workshop. It was an interesting event for the team that also inspired them to develop a commentary manuscript to report how to adapt and conduct this event. This lesson learnt could be very helpful for other international researcher facing the same challenge. Other projects are also working on ideas and manuscripts for publication.
 
Previously, the Project 2 BCVN case partner and an Indonesian Biosphere Reserve expert organised a seminar to exchange knowledge and application of Biosphere Reserve management, marine governance, ecosystem-based tourism development. Project 2 and Project 6 members also presented and shared BC's research approach and collaboration in a joint workshop of young scientists of the Hanoi National University of Education, which may inspire future interdisciplinary research and collaboration between young scientists of diverse fields of science going on in the institution. 

Young scientist conference
New research ideas emerged from BC programme collaboration and the Project 11 approach on ecology-based management policy in a climate change context was first introduced in Cu Lao Cham Hoi An Biosphere Reserve. During BC project implementation, a new project on climate migration was built by the working scientist community of the present project. Other members are also developing new ideas and proposals on capacity building, sustainable development and transdiscipline research.
Project 6 interviews

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