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Biodiversity and Development of the Hydropower Sector: Lessons from the Vietnamese Experience

Climate change prompts policymakers to pursue a low carbon energy pathway in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. However, this can lead to trade-offs with other sustainability objectives. This policy brief outlines key issues relating to biodiversity and the development of the hydropower sector in Vietnam. It is aimed at informing policymakers, civil society and donors. It argues that the large-scale development of the country’s hydropower sector is being undertaken without due consideration of the impacts that this is having on the nation’s biodiversity. Environmental services from terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems are crucial to the livelihoods of many of the country’s poorer communities; sustainable development requires that environmental assets are properly valued and accounted for. The brief concludes by asserting that policymakers must undertake proper environmental assessments in order to arrive at a strategically planned energy mix that is sustainable in the long-term.