Policy Brief: Building Viet Nam's Protected Area System

02 May 2006

Viet Nam is at a critical stage in the establishment of its protected areas system. Much has been achieved over the past two decades and there is greater understanding about the fundamental role national parks, nature reserves and other protected areas play in national and local development. There are now 128 forested protected areas throughout the country. Also, 68 wetlands of national importance and 15 marine protected areas have been identifi ed. In fulfi lling their conservation functions, protected areas yield essential goods and services which provide support to Viet Nam’s growing hydropower energy sector, to fi sheries and agriculture, to expanding tourism and to industry and urban development. They also have irreplaceable values for recreation, education, historical and natural heritage, and quality of life for present and future generations. Protected areas are an essential part of Viet Nam’s strategy for national development.

 Yet, there are serious obstacles which are hindering further progress in developing the national protected areas system that need to be overcome. A leap forward in policy and institutional arrangements is required if the benefi ts of past gains are to be realised. Further progress in safeguarding the nation’s heritage and the quality of its development depends on these initiatives.