First-ever Biodiversity Law to include pro-poor conservation strategies

16 Sep 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.

Contact Information

Dao Xuan Lai ,Tel: (84-4)- 9421495 x178 email:  dao.xuan.lai@undp.org
or
Nguyen Viet Lan, Tel: (84-4)8224383 x121  email:  nguyen.viet.lan@undp.org