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Larsen, Rasmus Kløcker, 2006. Operationalising the SARD-Initiative in Viet Nam. SLU, Dept. of Urban and Rural Development, Uppsala. Uppsala: SLU, Dept. of Urban and Rural Development



The SARD (Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development) Initiative is a partnership programme which emerged at the World Summit on Sustainable Development in 2002 to support the implementation of Agenda 21, Chapter 14. Described as a multi-stakeholder umbrella framework designed to support the transition to people-centred sustainable agriculture and rural development it is intended as a civil society led, government supported, FAO facilitated undertaking. The SEI/SLU Consortium is responsible for implementing the Upscaling component of the Initiative. This report describes the findings from a pilot study exploring the options for operationalising the Initiative in Viet Nam.

It was from the outset found that the SEI/SLU Consortium applies a specific understanding of the notions of Good Practices and Upscaling. Consequently, it is suggested to use the notion of Good Processes to avoid confusion with FAO Good Practices, also used in Sustainet, which are clearly more technical. This will reflect more rightly that the Consortium's contribution is aimed specifically at the stakeholder process of the Initiative.

A limited response has been observed from civil society actors to the Initiative, especially from grassroots level. The current interpretation of the Initiative may play a significant role in determining this situation as it uncritically perpetuates a highly politicised discourse of civil society in a contested context of multistakeholder dialogue. This depends on 'civil society' being a core concept in a political programme that aims at building good governance based on democratic principles, and four contingencies have been identified that can disqualify the Initiative to certain actors and render it vulnerable to appropriation. The Initiative is therefore re-interpreted from a process perspective to represent a manifestation of tension between hierarchical and self-organisation modes of system adaptation. To enable the focal selves to organise according to own intentions two prerequisites are used: Self-reference (R) and Interpretation (I). In this light, Good Processes are seen as dependent on the creation of a harmonious R/I-relation.

Based on 3 months field work in Viet Nam current civil society-like negotiation processes are identified, and indigenous selves with low- and high-R/I relations are explored. Space for engaging in relevant dialogues is present in Viet Nam for the implementation of the Initiative, and a causal feedback loop between sustainability of upland agriculture and self-organising capacity of indigenous selves provides a clear motivation for further planning. The village and the community are characterised as high-R/I selves. They have relatively high internal referencing but low interpretive ability and are experiencing a severe re-configurating imposition from hierarchical closure. This imposition derives mainly from reinvigoration of Oneness in the Viet Namese State. Recent closure changes, such as decentralisation, land reform, and grassroots democracy seem yet to exert little counter-balancing influence. Low-R/I selves consist of for example more recently formed interest groups and community-based organisations as well as the Mass Organisations. They are proximately predominantly shaped by a creative form of closure deriving from the growing world of especially Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) in Viet Nam. Despite advances in the level of organisation of both international and local NGOs, this has not led to self-organisation in the sense of the concept applied in this study. The existence of a perception of 'lacking response' from ethnic minorities should be seen as representing a huge discrepancy between closure and interpretable environment for indigenous selves. To enable a search for Good Processes that can contribute to a more constructive interplay between local self-organisation and hierarchy closure, the notion of Civil Indigeneity is put forward. It is defined as the ability of indigenous selves to strike a helpful balance between self-reference and interpretation of closure which enables them to self-organise and adapt. On a preliminary basis three starting points for assisting in developing this ability are presented: Spread of interpretation by practice, the importance of allowing self-reference, and the current lacking appreciation of a local level negotiation process for resource management. Some ideas are provided for further project design in Viet Nam.

Main title:Operationalising the SARD-Initiative in Viet Nam
Authors:Larsen, Rasmus Kløcker
Supervisor:Powell, Neil
Volume/Sequential designation:UNSPECIFIED
Year of Publication:2006
Level and depth descriptor:Other
Student's programme affiliation:Other
Supervising department:(NL, NJ) > Dept. of Urban and Rural Development
(LTJ, LTV) > Dept. of Urban and Rural Development
Keywords:sustainable agriculture and rural development, Agenda 21, partnership, dialogue, stakeholder, learning, self-organisation, civil society, indigenous, ethnic minority
Permanent URL:
Subject. Use of subject categories until 2023-04-30.:?? 4086 ??
Rural sociology and social security
Deposited On:15 Nov 2017 12:16
Metadata Last Modified:15 Nov 2017 12:16

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