Living with Environmental Change: Social Vulnerability, Adaptation and Resilience in Vietnam

Living with Environmental Change: Social Vulnerability, Adaptation and Resilience in Vietnam

Living with Environmental Change: Social Vulnerability, Adaptation and Resilience in Vietnam

Living with Environmental Change: Social Vulnerability, Adaptation and Resilience in Vietnam

Synopsis

Vietnam and its neighbours face diverse challenges created by the rapid evolution of their social, economic and environmental systems and resources. This book provides a comprehensive, multidisciplinary assessment of the Vietnamese situation.

Excerpt

This book is about change, the one constant of our post-modern civilisation. in particular, it is about how the people of Vietnam are responding to change, to the many and varied social, economic and environmental trends affecting their lives as their nation proceeds down its distinctive new road of economic renovation, doi moi, against a backdrop of rapid globalisation.

Globalisation, in this context, refers first and foremost to the increasing mobility of capital and information and the ever-tighter linkages between both economies and societies around the world. But environmental problems are also being globalised. National frontiers have never presented a barrier to environmental change. But impacts that were once largely confined in spatial scale, a local manifestation of resource abuse, have become a threat of global proportions as the seas are contaminated, biodiversity is lost and the atmosphere is polluted on an unprecedented scale.

Many of the nations of Southeast Asia have developed their economies significantly over the past half century, with increasing wealth based on financial openness and the rich human resource. in the drive for modernisation, though, degradation of the physical environment, that other great resource of the region, has been overlooked. But such neglect is no longer viable as we enter the twenty-first century.

The authors of this book present an overwhelming case that no country can isolate itself from the impacts of the development process on its environmental resource base. To achieve sustainable development, effective management of the physical environment, integrated with the needs and aspirations of the people, must be a high priority. At the World Summit for Social Development in Copenhagen in March 1995, the Government of Vietnam defined its development strategy as 'for the people and by the people' aiming to 'place human beings at the centre of development and to promote the potential of individuals and communities as well as of the whole nation'.

Close to 80 per cent of Vietnam's population live in rural areas and most of these people are heavily dependent on the country's natural resources. Given this dependence, the vulnerability, resilience and adaptability of Vietnamese society - its ability to respond effectively to stress and to change - must also play a critical role in shaping prospects for the future. Understanding what determines the

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