Viet Nam Celebrates the International Year of Desertification 2006

17 Jun 2006

Ha NoiToday, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and the World Conservation Union (IUCN) jointly organize a national meeting to celebrate the International Year of Deserts and Desertification 2006.

The theme of this celebration is “The beauty of desert – and the challenges of disertification”. The message alerts the world’s citizens that deserts are magnificient with their endless sandunes and sunshine. Yet, desertification poses serious challenges for mankind.

It is estimated that 9.34 million hectares of land in Viet Nam are degraded, that's more than five times the area of Nghe An, Viet Nam's largest province, and a substantial part of that is prone to desertification. Over the past 10 years, drought has caused severe impacts in the agricultural and forestry production in many areas, especially in the central regions and highlands of Viet Nam. According to FAO and UNESCO, Viet Nam has 462.000 ha of coastal sand area, of which 87.800 ha is sand dunes and moving sand.

"Desertification can be effectively tackled through strengthened community participation and cooperation at all levels. It should be everyone's responsibility", said Mr. Bernard O’Callaghan, IUCN Viet Nam Programme Coordinator and Acting Coutry Representative.

To ensure succesful implementation of the United Nation Convention on Desertification, the Government of Viet Nam has formulated a National Action Plan (NAP) to Combat Desertification 2002-2010. The NAP is closed linked with a number of key strategies such as the Viet Nam’s Agenda 21 on Sustainable Development Orientation, the National Strategy on Environmental Protection, the National Strategy on Forestry, the National Strategy on Comprehensive Development and Poverty Alleviation, and others. The major objectives of the NAP are: (i) to improve forest management; (ii) to strengthen land use and management; (iii) to enhance water resource management and mitigate drought impacts; (iv) to respond to the urgent needs of local communities in the drought prone areas. The four priority areas identified in NAP are: the Central Coastal provinces, the Northwest provinces, Long Xuyên quadrangle and the Central Highlands.

At present, there are 50 programme and projects on sustainable land management. Vietnam is working to establish a Country Programme Partnership for Sustainable Land Management (SLM) funded by the World Bank, the Global Environmental Fund (GEF), and the Trust Fund for Forests (TFF). As of March 2003, a separate operational programme on sustainable land management was initiated by GEF. Other bilateral and multilateral agencies such as UNDP, UNEP, GTZ, KOICA have been working with the Government to formulate and implement projects on Land Degradation and Dersertification.

Mr. Subinay Nandy, UNDP Acting Resident Representative said: “The UNDP in Viet Nam is committed to continue and enhance assistance to combating desertification and the risks associated with drought, and to take part in the process of implementing the UNCCD and NAP in Viet Nam”.

The International Year of Deserts and Desertification will last from June 17th, 2006 to June 17th, 2007.

Contact Information

Ms Huynh Thu Ba, Programme Officer, Sustainable Development Cluster, UNDP Viet Nam.
Tel:  9421495, Ext: 187, email: huynh.thu.ba@undp.org

Ms Pham Minh Thoa, UNCCD Focal Point, MARD.
Tel: 7332263, email: mthoa-dfd@netnam.vn

Ms. Đinh Thi Minh Thu, Communications Coordinator, IUCN Viet Nam.
Tel: 7261575 Ext: 124, email: thu@iucn.org.vn