Environmental disputes, social changes, and distributive justice in Viet Nam: Case studies, comparative analysis, and policy implications

19 Apr 2018
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The study ‘Environmental disputes, social changes, and distributive justice in Viet Nam: Case studies, comparative analysis, and policy implications’ examines the causes and possible solutions to environmental disputes in Viet Nam. Industrialization and the associated reduction in poverty have come at a high cost to the natural environment in Viet Nam. The imbalance between economic development and environmental protection generates disputes. Press and government reports suggest that environmental disputes concerning natural resources, and air and water pollution are now among the most common areas of social disputes.

International experience shows that environmental disputes are caused by two main factors: (i) the harm caused by high levels of pollution; and/or (ii) environmental injustice, (i.e. unequal distribution of benefits and harm caused by businesses). Most policy and research initiatives in Viet Nam have focused on the first set of factors (i.e. levels of pollution), leaving environmental injustice under-studied. A one-sided focus on the harm caused by pollution can underestimate the sense of injustice that animates and amplifies environmental disputes. This study therefore aims to redress the shortcoming, and advance the understanding of environmental disputes in Viet Nam by examining environmental justice. Given the rapid increase in environmental disputes in Viet Nam, this study aims to provide evidence for policy that ensures better environmental justice.

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