First-ever Biodiversity Law to include pro-poor conservation strategiesSep 16, 2008
Ha Noi – The latest draft of Viet Nam’s first-ever Biodiversity Law was shared this morning at a meeting jointly organised by the National Assembly’s Committee of Science, Technology and Environment and the UN Development Programme (UNDP). The revised draft law integrates pro-poor principles, recognizing that biodiversity conservation and development cannot be successful without participation of local communities.
“Biodiversity and natural resources have been critically important for the majority of the Vietnamese population as they provide basic needs and livelihoods for people, particularly, the rural poor” said Christophe Bahuet, UNDP Deputy Country Director in Viet Nam. “But if the current trend of biodiversity loss continues, Viet Nam will face difficulties in ensuring sustainable agriculture and fisheries, and challenges in achieving the MDGs and Viet Nam’s development targets” he added. In response, the revised draft Law takes into account protective measures needed to support the livelihoods of people who depend on access to natural resources and biodiversity. It also proposes benefits for those who posses traditional knowledge of biodiversity, thus encouraging them to participate in biodiversity conservation and rehabilitation.
Viet Nam is among the most biodiverse countries in the world, but is at risk. The
2008 version of the Viet Nam Red Book shows that the number of endangered species of fauna and flora has increased to 880 species in 2008 from 700 species in
2000. Key causes include overexploitation of forests, shifting agricultural cultivation,
loss of arable land, water pollution, and degradation of coastal areas. Rapid population growth and intense agricultural development are also putting biodiversity under pressure.
“The Biodiversity Law is an effective legal instrument to prevent biodiversity declination, to conserve precious plants and animals, and to serve the sustainable social and economic development of the country” said Dang Vu Minh, Chairman of the National Assembly’s Committee on Science, Technology and Environment.
The formulation of the Biodiversity Law is a major component of the UNDP/MONRE Poverty and Environment Project which seeks to harmonize poverty reduction and environmental goals in policy and planning. The project’s efforts are particularly focused on ensuring that the links between biodiversity conservation and poverty are fully addressed in the new law.
Biodiversity is a complex issue and is closely linked to the sustainable use of natural resources, so the Biodiversity Law is expected to complement related laws, including the Law on Environmental Protection; Fisheries Law; Law on Land; Law on Forest Protection and Development. Final comments on the draft law are being requested before submission to the National Assembly for approval in November 2008.
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