CIFAL Findhorn Welcomes Vietnamese Delegation

Forres, United Kingdom, March 20, 2007 --( A delegation of 21 senior ministers and government officials from Vietnam had the opportunity last week (March 14th 2007) to witness best practice at Findhorn Ecovillage.

The visit, hosted by CIFAL Findhorn, was part of a 2 week fact finding mission by a delegation from the Vietnamese Ministry of Planning and Investment.

The purpose of the trip to the UK was to exchange experiences on policies and strategies to ensure sustainable growth and socio-economic development of less advantaged rural areas; including the management of opportunities and impacts of increasing globalisation for rural communities.

At Findhorn, the delegation was interested to observe the best examples of integrated sustainable planning of ecovillages with a view to examining the potential for replicating the model in Vietnam.

They were particularly interested in the Wind Park - regarded as a showcase of community ownership of electricity generation from renewables.

May East, CEO, CIFAL Findhorn, said: "The exchange was very enriching. The party was interested to hear that Findhorn Wind Park is a net exporter of electricity. Based in a brown field site adjacent to a disused runway and aircraft storage area at RAF Kinloss, the Wind Park has a total capacity of 750kW and is a significant contributor to the low ecological footprint at the ecovillage".

Delegation head and Director at the Department of Agricultural Economy, Dao Quang Thu, explained that environmental protection and the sustainable use of natural resources are the cornerstones of development in Vietnam.

After a comprehensive tour of the ecovillage, Mr Dao Quang Thu, formally invited May East to visit Vietnam to explore how the integrated ecovillages model could be implemented in his country.

May East continued: "Mr Dao Quang Thu and the other Vietnamese delegates explained that Vietnam's current Socio-Economic Development Plan takes environmental protection and the strengthening of communities fully into account while investigating ways to create sustainable tourism. I accepted the invitation because I believe the integrated model of development of ecovillages can make a valuable contribution to their plan".

Notable features of this model are that it:
*combines a supportive social-cultural environment with a low-impact lifestyle
*promotes eradication of poverty by supporting bio-regional social economic systems
*supports the new green industries such as renewable energy which creates jobs
*strengthens the social self reliance of local communities
*mimimises the use of natural resources and land
*minimises and recycles waste; so reducing emission of pollutants
*enhances bio-diversity and ecosystems

CIFAL Findhorn is part of a global network of 12 NITAR International Training Centres that operate as a hub for training and capacity building through the exchange of practices between UN agencies, local authorities, public and private sectors, civil society and academic institutions.

For further information, please contact Administrator, CIFAL Findhorn
Telephone: + 44 1309 692011

CIFAL Findhorn
May East
+44 1309692011