News and Events
On a recent visit to Tra Vinh, I saw an unususual sight: next to the sea dike, which was built to prevent sea water intrusion, a farmer was pumping sea water back over the dike onto his rice fields. What was happening? … | Vietnamese
Viet Nam’s coastal provinces used to be important nesting grounds for many species of marine turtle. But the numbers of nesting sites has declined sharply over the past 10 years as beaches have been converted to shrimp ponds, hotels, and other uses, and marine turtles have been killed as fishing by-catch or suffocated by plastic bags. For the past five years, IUCN, with funding from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services (USFWS), has partnered with the Sub-Department of Capture Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (DECAFIREP) in Binh Dinh Province to promote the conservation of marine turtles. … | Vietnamese
Robert Mather, Head of IUCN Southeast Asia Group, was in Washington, DC for the U.S. debut of the film “MEKONG”, which examines the issues of hydropower development and its impact on Mekong citizens' lives. IUCN, Institute for Global Sustainable Development (IGSD), Challenge Programme for Food and Water (CPWF), and the Goethe Institute set up the debut of the film during the DC Environmental Film Fest, and also planned related “Mekong Days” -- several days of events held over 22-27th March 2013, highlighting issues related to the Mekong, including panels at the Goethe Institute and the Woodrow Wilson Center in which Robert participated. …
Every day, hundreds of local fisherwomen enter the mangrove forest in Xuan Thuy National Park to collect shells, mollusks, crabs, and other aquatic products. Although the law prohibits any kind of resource extraction in the core zone, the poor women who depend on these natural resources have no other choice. Up to six hours a day, they wade through the mud and water and end up earning less than US$3 a day. The overexploitation of aquatic products has resulted in increased scarcity and growing competition between the fisherwomen. … | Vietnamese
“Sea turtles don’t come to nest on our beach anymore!” said Mr. Minh, a member of Sea Turtle Nesting Beach Protection, a volunteer network in Quang Tri Province. Despite the participation of nearly 3,500 local residents and school children in beach protection, a recent survey found that, since 2007, no marine turtle nests have been recorded in Quang Tri, Quang Nam, and Quang Ngai Provinces and the very few nests that remain in Binh Dinh Province are on off-shore islands. Meanwhile, according to a 2009 report by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), 1,000 mature turtles a year are killed accidentally by fishermen as “by-catch”. … | Vietnamese
The Mekong Delta is one of the parts of the world projected to be most impacted by sea level rise. And within the Delta, the coastal districts of Soc Trang Province are considered particularly vulnerable because of the very flat topography. Local people are already observing higher high tides and stronger wave action that break the unconsolidated earth dike that protects them from the sea. The EU-funded project Building Coastal Resilience (BCR) is working in Mo O, a small village in Trung Binh Commune to build local capacity to address this threat. … | Vietnamese
The Mekong Region is a massive ecosystem that is the lifeline for more than 60 million people across six countries. In the Lower Mekong Basin, it provides fish to more people than any other river in the world. More than 150 hydropower dams are currently planned, under construction, or commissioned for the Mekong and its tributaries. If constructed, the dams will radically alter the basin’s hydrology, ecology and, consequently, the lives of millions who depend upon it. How can these seemingly opposite demands be met?
A major risk with the current obsession with climate change adaptation is in fact maladaptation: expensive solutions to problems that may never emerge or which themselves create new problems (the famous law of unintended consequences). This is evident in Vietnam where in 2009 the prime minister approved a plan to build concrete sea dikes (replacing the existing dirt dikes), at a cost of US$3 million per kilometer, along the entire coastline. This was motivated in part by a World Bank study that showed that most of the Mekong Delta will be flooded when sea level rises by 1 meter as it is predicted to do sometime between 2050 and 2100. A study by an academic at Can Tho University of the costs and benefits of concrete sea dikes around the Mekong Delta concluded that these were a good idea (http://www.eepsea.net/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=434:adaptation-to-sea-level-rise-in-the-vietnamese-mekong-river-delta-should-a-sea-dike-be-built?&Itemid=192). The assumptions on which the study is based are highly selective, however. For example, it assumes that rice and freshwater shrimp are the highest value land uses in the coastal zone, ignoring the benefits of saltwater aquaculture and changing market demands over time. … | Vietnamese
On January 19, 2013, MFF staff participated in two events in Tien Giang Province: an award ceremony for paintings of mangroves; and a visit to a mangrove plantation on Loi Quan Island. Both events were organized by MFF grantee Phu Thoi Pagoda. … | Vietnamese
Once bitten, twice shy. Or perhaps, in this case the phrase should be ‘once stung, twice shy’. That is the lesson SOS grantee, People Resources and Conservation Foundation, hopes poachers will take from a recent successful ‘sting’ operation carried out in Lam Binh, a remote mountainous karst region in northern Vietnam.
08 Feb 2013 | News story