Social-Ecological Transformation, Socialism, Vietnam | 2024-06-09

Grassroots Democracy and Environmental Protection

Ho Chi Minh National Academy of Politics – Institute of Leadership and Public Policy (2024 to 2026)

Impressions of a meeting between HCMA Vileap, RLS and local stakeholders on grassroots democracy and environmental protection in the southern coastal province of Ninh Thuan in April 2024.

The Vietnamese Government acknowledges the urgency of responding to climate change and environmental pollution. However, the implementation of the state’s environmental protection guidelines and policies is facing challenges, especially in rural areas. The local community’s participation is a decisive factor in a policies success. Reports suggest that citizens contribution to local decision-making has the effect that policies are more likely to be fully implemented as they then reflect the people’s needs and can be efficiently adapted to local circumstances. Promoting grassroots democracy - or Dân Chủ Cơ Sở - has long been a goal of the Communist Party of Vietnam. Recent reforms have also further strengthened grassroots democracy across the country as they provide an excellent opportunity for people to participate actively in shaping and achieving environmental protection measures.

Hence, the Institute of Leadership and Public Policy of the Ho Chi Minh National Academy of Politics (HCMA Vileap) and the Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung launched the project “The Involvement of Grassroots Authorities and People in Environmental Policy Development and Implementation in Vietnam.” It is a comprehensive effort to research and empower grassroots democratic institutions in mitigating and building resilience to environmental challenges. The project spans from 2024 to 2026. In its initial phase, academic research takes center stage. HCMA Vileap conducts qualitative surveys in rural areas, theoretical studies, research abroad and international conferences. In this way, the Institute examines and evaluates the factors influencing people’s participation in grassroots democratic environmental policy implementation. Special attention is being given to conditions that enable a greater inclusion of groups vulnerable to climate change, like informal workers, women and ethnic minorities.

In April and May 2024 for instance, HCMA Vileap organized a series of meetings in the southern coastal province of Ninh Thuan as well as in the Soc Trang province in the Mekong Delta. The aim was to exchange at the community level and with other stakeholders about the implementation of party resolutions on environmental protection and enhancing the capacity of climate change adaptation. This also included discussions on awareness building activities by the District and Provincial Committees in order to sensitize the public for these important issues. The program in Ninh Thuan was also covered in the local media.

During the latter phase of the project, HCMA Vileap aims to transform their findings into practice. Based on the research, the Institute’s experts intend to publish policy recommendations, scientific articles and accessible handbooks. Additionally, they are developing training programs and a pilot model. The trainings target citizens and officials in order to raise awareness and teach skills enabling more fruitful participation. The pilot model entails an online public service platform designed to attract citizen’s interest through jointly addressing environmental, economic and communal concerns. Overall, the project promises to significantly strengthen the involvement and efficiency of grassroot democratic institutions in shaping and implementing environmental policies.

Ho Chi Minh National Academy of Politics (HCMA)

HCMA was founded in 1949 by the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Vietnam as its most important academic institution. Today, HCMA is under direct leadership of the party’s Politburo and constitutes the country’s foremost center for the training and fostering of leaders, civil servants and academic staff of the party and state. Further, HCMA advances research on Marxism-Leninism and Ho Chi Minh’s thought as well as provides the scientific basis of party and state guidelines. The Institute of Leadership and Public Policy was established in 2011 at the HCMA.

Go back