CONSTRAINTS AND ENABLING FACTORS FOR EFFECTIVE CONSERVATION IN VIETNAM: CAT BA ISLAND CASE STUDY

Ashley Brooks (2010). CONSTRAINTS AND ENABLING FACTORS FOR EFFECTIVE CONSERVATION IN VIETNAM: CAT BA ISLAND CASE STUDY PhD Thesis, School of Geography, Planning & Env Management, The University of Queensland.

       
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Author Ashley Brooks
Thesis Title CONSTRAINTS AND ENABLING FACTORS FOR EFFECTIVE CONSERVATION IN VIETNAM: CAT BA ISLAND CASE STUDY
School, Centre or Institute School of Geography, Planning & Env Management
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 2010-10
Thesis type PhD Thesis
Supervisor Marc Hockings
Total pages 346
Total colour pages 11
Total black and white pages 335
Subjects 05 Environmental Sciences
Abstract/Summary The integration of conservation and development (ICD) in the early 1980s heralded a new era in conservation practice. If the dual objectives could be served simultaneously, then ICD represented a panacea for global conservation. Conjecture and uncertainty of the merits of the approach prevail, however there is clear convergence toward a common acceptance that for conservation outcomes to be achieved, linkages with society and culture must be fostered. This represents a vast leap from classical conservation approaches that preceded ICD. The performance of ICD since its inception has fallen below expectation. The diversity of projects has meant comparative evaluations and collation of lessons are few, and there is an overall focus in the literature on the experiences of failed projects. Many commentators have questioned the concept of ICD overall, while others suggest that due to its infancy, lessons have yet to be integrated into practice, and the key constraint to effectiveness is at implementation – a notion that forms the basis of this thesis. ICD is an appropriate approach, the concept is not flawed, but the dual objectives of ICD are not being served effectively during implementation. This research is an exploration of those factors that impact ICD effectiveness in practice. The principal factors impacting ICD effectiveness globally were identified to be external and internal to all projects: the institutional, social and environmental context of the target site; the design process; and weak implementation. Based on these broad themes, a list of indicators for best practice ICD were compiled from the literature. The indicators were grouped into nine Criteria for Success: 1) Adequacy of design process; 2) Appropriateness of final design; 3) Adequacy of environmental considerations; 4) Appropriateness of objectives; 5) Overall project function; 6) Standard of project management; 7) Effectiveness of monitoring and evaluating; 8) Bases for sustainability; and 9) Sustainability of benefits. An in-depth exploration of the context of Vietnam highlighted the external forces acting on ICD throughout the country. Rapid economic progress, historical shifts in the conceptualisation of conservation, the socio-political structure, and the mismatch between conservation methodology and socio-political context, were all identified as constraints to ICD effectiveness at the national level. The project specific or internal factors that constrain or enable projects were identified through an evaluation of 14 ICDPs implemented on Cat Ba Island (Hai Phong City). Through desk review of project grey literature, and interviews, focus groups and workshops with project stakeholders (donor representatives, project staff, government counterparts, and beneficiaries), each project was evaluated and scored against the Criteria for Success from the literature. Project performance overall was judged to be ‘adequate’, and the majority of activities were not sustained beyond project completion. The critical factors for ICD effectiveness, and relationships between them were also analysed. Lessons from the evaluation mirror those of global studies. ICD was found to be a relevant approach, but projects were implemented poorly. This was largely due to weak design phases, a lack of monitoring and evaluation (or a culture of learning and adaptation), and poor focus on developing organisational relationships. As a result of these failings, projects had negligible conservation impact, often had no mechanisms to measure progress or respond to shocks, and were unsustainable. A key finding however, was that good design phase had two distinct impacts. First, if design phase was able to collect detailed baseline information, then project objectives and design were clear, and M&E structures formulated. Such projects were able to show achievement of objectives on schedule – but were not sustainable. Second, if projects had used the design phase as a collaborative effort to develop joint activities and build organisational partnerships, then those projects enjoyed official support beyond project completion – and were sustainable. An analysis of project stakeholder perceptions also contributed significantly to the lessons from the evaluation and the assessment of project impact. Local stakeholders equated project success with the timely completion of activities, and how projects had contributed to livelihoods and income. The perceptions revealed that the efficacy of ICD in contributing to conservation outcomes was weak. All projects were considered to be community development interventions, and the alternate livelihood activities were, at best, a distraction from forest-based incomes. Distilling the lessons from the national context, the project evaluation and local perceptions, the thesis found that ICDPs as discrete projects can achieve little in the way of long term conservation outcomes. Discrete projects do however act as catalysts and innovators for change, but such gains would are meaningless without learning, analysis, and adaptation. The context of multiple projects across a single landscape also constrained ICD effectiveness when knowledge capture and adaptive management at the landscape level had not taken place. In order to achieve conservation outcomes, and temper the historical and contemporary tensions over resource use in Vietnam, this research recommends: the enhancement of nested learning institutions at the landscape level to serve as facilitators, coordinators and planners for more coordinated implementation, knowledge exchange, and overall as a mechanism for civil society processes and participatory planning.
Keyword conservation
development
ICDP
Vietnam
Evaluation
Effectiveness
Success
Sustainability Assessment
Impact analysis
Learning Institutions
Additional Notes Colour: 1,20,59,82,95,112,114,118,165,218,248. Landscape: 294-299, 321-322

 
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Created: Thu, 07 Apr 2011, 14:42:13 EST by Mr Ashley Brooks on behalf of Library - Information Access Service