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Biosphere reserve management project promotes biodiversity conservation in Vietnam

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HCMC – The Vietnam Environment Administration and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) jointly launched a project on mainstreaming natural resource management and biodiversity conservation objectives into socio-economic development planning and the management of biosphere reserves in Vietnam on October 27.

With US$6.66 million in funding from the Global Environment Fund, the project will be implemented over five years in Hanoi and the Dong Nai Biosphere, the Cu Lao Cham-Hoi An Biosphere and the Western Nghe An Biosphere.

Vietnam has achieved drastic economic development in recent years. However, new infrastructure developments, transport network expansion and tourism and socioeconomic growth have rapidly changed the landscape with consequential threats to biodiversity and ecosystem services.

The country currently has nine biosphere reserves recognized by the UNESCO, of which six are coastal and island areas, while three others are land forests and wetlands. Most of the protected areas and biosphere reserves are in areas with high poverty rates, so it is a challenge to achieve the often-conflicting objectives of conservation and development.

Other barriers include the lack of a common framework to implement integrated solutions in sustainable development and ineffective capacity in planning based on the landscape approach. Besides this, the organization and coordination of stakeholder participation in biosphere reserves are ineffective.

The major goal of the project is to address these multiple threats by harmonizing socioeconomic development and the sustainable management of natural resources and biodiversity conservation through an integrated landscape approach in the planning and management of biosphere reserves in Vietnam.

Addressing the inception workshop of the project, general director of the Vietnam Environment Administration Nguyen Van Tai said, “To contribute to promoting the development of biosphere reserves, in recent years, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment has cooperated with the UNDP and other stakeholders to develop this project. I hope that through its implementation, the biodiversity management and conservation in the biosphere reserve will be enhanced and bring about better results.”

According to UNDP resident representative in Vietnam Caitlin Wiesen, Vietnam is one of the most biodiverse countries in the world, and protecting this rich natural endowment is critical.

“This new project will reduce pressure on the rich natural resources in three biosphere reserves by implementing integrated natural resource management and sustainable forest management approaches while fostering community livelihood models. The project will also build awareness and promote stakeholder participation in the management of the biosphere reserve,” she noted.

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