Combining a green economy with human capabilities: a socioeconomic assessment of biofuel policy in Vietnam

Dao Thi Hoang, Mai, and Quyen Vu Ngoc (2012). "Combining a green economy with human capabilities: a socioeconomic assessment of biofuel policy in Vietnam" Paper presented at the 9th annual conference of the HDCA, 5-7 September 2012, Jakarta, Indonesia.

In recent years, rising concerns about energy insecurity, climate change, and the instability that arises from oil dependence have encouraged many countries to evaluate their production and use of biofuels and other renewable energy sources. In this context, the Vietnamese Government is giving increasing attention to the green energy industry. In November 2007, the Government approved a Strategy for Biofuel Development up to 2015 and Vision 2025, which creates legal pathways, institutions, and policies, and an investment plan for biofuel development. Since then, there have been a number of studies of the production of biofuels (biogas, biodiesel, and bioethanol). Some biofuel projects have actually been implemented. However, challenging issues remain concerning biofuel production. In rural Vietnam, there are still hundreds of thousands of households struggling to get out of poverty, and which even have to face food shortages. As a result, food security takes priority over biofuel production. Added to this, the expansion of the cultivation of some crops, such as cassava, also causes environmental damage, including soil degradation and deforestation. All these problems could prevent people from developing their capabilities. Thus, the current national policy on bioenergy requires the establishment of an effective resilience process in order to adapt to this new direction chosen by the government. This is the topic of this paper. Since the development of biofuels in Vietnam is only in its early stages, this paper is intended to measure the resilience of communities who are facing this situation. It will address the strategies implemented by farmers and investors, concerning some particular crops, and looks at the quantities concerned. This is an important issue, because farmers are less likely to invest if they are not guaranteed a market, and businesses will not invest if they do not see a reliable supply. On the basis of the analysis of some of the projects that have already been implemented, an assessment of people’s resilience could be carried out using indicators to monitor upcoming projects.
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