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The Complexity of Addressing Water Quality in Vietnam's Craft Villages

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Dang, Trung Dinh; Mahanty, Sango
Conference: Capturing the Complexity of the Commons, North American Regional Meeting of the International Association for the Study of the Commons
Location: Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ
Conf. Date: Sep. 30-Oct. 2
Date: 2010
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10535/6531
Sector: Water Resource & Irrigation
Region: East Asia
Subject(s): water pollution
complex systems
Abstract: "Does seeing water quality as a ‘complex commons’ create new windows for environmental management? Vietnam’s craft villages are rural villages with many small family-based workshops, specializing in the production of ‘traditional’ handicrafts as well as newer activities such as solid waste recycling. Recent growth in the number and size of craft villages has created economic benefits, but also water pollution and risks for health, agriculture, and other livelihood activities. The Government treats water pollution as an externality to be managed through strict regulations, market-based instruments or public education. In contrast, this research considers what can be learned from viewing water pollution as a complex commons issue. Since water quality is impacted by numerous small and dispersed point sources of pollution, the study aims to understand the scope for coordinated action among individual craft village residents, across villages and between tiers of government. Initial findings suggest that state regulation and local self-regulation are in themselves insufficient; attention needs to be given to coordination between actors at multiple sites, different sectors (e.g. state, resource users and civil society) and at different scales (e.g. local, regional, and national) as a critical factor in addressing pollution from craft villages."

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