Excellency, Mr. Vo Tuan Nhan, Deputy Minister Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment;
Distinguished representatives from government agencies, institutions, academia, associations;
Ladies and Gentlemen;
A very good morning and xin chào!
I am very delighted and honoured to join Vice Minister Nhan in welcoming you to this final workshop to exchange the important results from the Project "Conservation of Critical Wetland Protected Areas and Linked Landscapes."
Viet Nam’s wetland area accounts for about 12 million hectares, which is about 30% of the country’s area, and about 20% of the Vietnamese population live within these wetlands areas and their livelihoods are dependent on wetlands resources.
Wetlands play a crucial role in biodiversity conservation. They provide various important ecological functions and values, such as filtering water sources from pollutants, and they are a natural solution for minimizing the impacts from storms.
However, many wetland areas of Viet Nam are experiencing a decline due to over-exploitation of their natural resources for sea and lake encroachments, the blocking of water flows, and from environmental pollution caused by industrial parks or excessive use of fertilizers and chemicals.
Over the past three decades, Viet Nam has made great efforts to protect the country’s wetland ecosystem. These efforts include, the early ratification of the Ramsar Convention, the issuance of many major Laws, such as Law on Biodiversity, Law on Forestry, Law on Environmental, among other policies for the protections of wetlands. Furthermore, there are now 9 sites throughout the country that are designated as Wetlands of International Importance, with a combined surface area of 120,549 hectares.
UNDP is proud to have supported the Government of Viet Nam on these efforts, especially the government’s conservation efforts at Ramsar site level, and through a GEF-UNDP Small Grant Programme in 1999-2000 that provided support for financial sustainability and co-management of a community-based ecotourism Van Long Nature Reserve, Ninh Binh province.
Ladies and Gentlemen
Over the past 5 years of the "Conservation of Critical Wetland Protected Areas and Linked Landscape’ project, I would like to highlight a number of important results:
- With the Government’s issuance of Decree 66 on sustainable management and conservation of wetlands in 2019, important principles have been set on preserving and using wetlands more sustainably and with the engagement of local communities while ensuring fair and reasonable benefit sharing mechanism for the involved parties.
- Two Wetland Conservation Areas have been established in Thai Binh and Tam Giang – Cau Hai in Thua Thien Hue, which are home to many wild, rare and globally threatened bird species. This has led to the mobilization of financial and human resources required for effective conservation efforts of more than 8,600 ha of wetlands.
- People’s committees at provincial and district levels in two provinces have mainstreamed integrated wetland conservation into provincial sectoral planning processes and in 6 district land-use planning processes.
- The project also supported income generation through sustainable livelihood activities for about 100 farmers in 2 provinces.
As this project closes, the momentum behind further protection and sustainable use of wetlands must continue. In this connection, I would like to share some recommendations going forward.
- Collaboration among all stakeholders must be enhanced. Line ministries, research institutions, academia and research institutes, private sector, non-government organizations, local communities, and individuals, all have a role to play in the sustainable management of wetlands.
- Strategies to mobilize financial resources from both the public and private sector must be promoted to ensure adequate level of investments for wetlands management. The financial sustainability from successful livelihood models or community-based ecotourism activities through co-management mechanisms could serve as some examples.
- We would like to encourage the project partners and beneficiaries to use the knowledge gained from this project, such as conserving critical wetlands in connections with wider buffer zones with strong community engagements to continue promoting integrated management and sustainable use of wetlands.
We hope that the results and lesson learnt from this project will be further scaled up so to contribute to Viet Nam’s wetland conservation and management.
Ladies and Gentlemen
The achievements of this project would not have been possible without the strong political support and guidance from leaders of MONRE, Leaders of Thai Binh Province People’s Committee, and Thua Thien Hue Province People’s Committee, as well as the active engagement from relevant stakeholders and local communities at site level.
UNDP is committed to continue working with all stakeholders to protect and conserve Viet Nam’s rich biodiversity and to promote the sustainable use of wetlands.
I wish you all good health, happiness, and success. / Xin cảm ơn!