Lang Son riverside livelihood

Conservation Today — eNewsletter of the Viet Nam Country Office

November 2006 issue

Conservation Today is a way to update our members, partners, and other stakeholders about environmental activities in which the IUCN Viet Nam Country Office is involved. To learn more, please visit http://www.iucn.org.vn

Top News Story

BIODIVERSITY LAW INITIATIVE

Viet Nam is ranked 16th in the world for the highest levels of biodiversity. In 2006, the Government of Viet Nam initiated the process of drafting a Biodiversity Law, contributing to the protection of one of its most valuable assets. IUCN Viet Nam is providing technical reviews for the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MONRE) and the Department of Environment (DOE) during the current process of drafting a Biodiversity Law.

IUCN will implement activities within two existing avenues of Biodiversity Law support in Viet Nam . As part of USAID’s Winrock International-funded Asia Regional Biodiversity Conservation Programme (ARBCP), IUCN will undertake activities to support the integration of the concept of payment for environmental services, or PES, into the Draft Biodiversity Law. With support from the UNDP-funded Harmonizing Poverty Reduction and Environmental Goals in Policy and Planning for Sustainable Development Programme (PEP), IUCN will advise key sectors on incorporating international best practices into the Draft Biodiversity Law.

For further information, please contact Ms. Ly Thi Minh Hai, Environmental Law Coordinator, ARBCP, at hai@iucn.org.vn

What else is new ... updates from IUCN Viet Nam

SIAMESE CROCODILE CONSERVATION INITIATIVE

Footprints and droppings of the Siamese crocodile (Crocodylus siamensis) - an animal thought to be extinct in the wild in Viet Nam - were recently spotted in Phu Yen Province .  IUCN and partners are implementing community-based conservation activities in the area to teach about the crocodile and the benefits its presence could bring to the community. A brochure about the crocodiles has already been produced and distributed, and in late November a team of conservationists from IUCN and the Institute of Tropical Biology will train local communities on protecting and conserving the crocodile. Partners in this initiative include local officials, the Institute of Tropical Biology , the Vietnam Environment Protection Agency (VEPA), Flora & Fauna International, Education for Nature - Viet Nam , and the Mekong Wetlands Biodiversity Programme (MWBP).  The initiative is supported by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida).

For more information, contact Mr. Ly Minh Dang, Wetland and Water Resources Programme Officer, at dang@iucn.org.vn

SAFEGUARDING BIODIVERSITY FOR POVERTY REDUCTION PROJECT

 The Safeguarding Biodiversity for Poverty Reduction Project (SBPRP) is working with community, government and non-government partners in three protected area sites in Vietnam , Cambodia and Lao PDR.  In Vietnam , the SBPRP will be working in the buffer zone of Song Thanh Nature Reserve in Quang Nam Province . This new 18-month long initiative will assess the effectiveness of current co-management arrangements around protected areas in reducing poverty. It will endeavour to understand how these approaches support or discourage the sustainable use of natural resources by local communities.  SBPRP is a component of the Greater Mekong Sub-Region Biodiversity Corridors Initiative (BCI), an initiative of the Asian Development Bank. Funding for the SBPRP component of BCI has been provided through the United Kingdom ’s Department for International Development (DFID) Poverty Reduction Fund.

For further information, contact Mr. Tim Wong, Chief Technical Advisor of SBPRP, at tim@iucn.org.vn

STAFF VISIT FIELD SITES IN QUANG NINH PROVINCE

IUCN staff toured NTFP sites and important turtle nesting areas during a field visit to Quang Ninh Province . After visiting NTFP sites where geckos and mushrooms are raised, staff members travelled to Minh Chau Island to visit the last remaining nesting site of the Green turtle, Chelonia mydas, and to discuss prospective turtle education and conservation activities on the island.

NEW STAFF

Ms. Ly Thi Minh Hai joins IUCN as the Environmental Law Coordinator and will work on the Asia Regional Biodiversity Conservation Programme. With a background in environmental management, governance, and community development, Ms. Hai is already well-versed in issues relevant to her programme’s key sectors.

Mr. Timothy Wong is the Chief Technical Advisor in charge of the Safeguarding Biodiversity for Poverty Reduction Project in Cambodia , Lao PDR, and Viet Nam . Though his project’s work will take him to three different countries, the office in Hanoi hopes Viet Nam will always be his “number one.”

Mr. Mark Edward Grindley has come to IUCN to work as NTFP Field Advisor. Fluent in Vietnamese, Mr. Grindley will be based in the North Central Regional Office in Ha Tinh.

Ms. Laura Cunial is a support officer in Environmental Law. A degree in International Law and experience working in the African nation of Djibouti have given Laura a global perspective, which she will apply as she provides assistance to MONRE in the development of Viet Nam’s Biodiversity Law.

What we've been doing ... our recent events

PROTECTED AREAS POLICY BRIEF RELEASED

 A path forward for the Protected Area (PA) system in Viet Nam was outlined in the recently released Protected Areas Policy Brief, a policy review of the national PA system. The brief outlines strategies that can help managers, policy-makers, and government officials to refine and further develop the important Protected Areas system in Viet Nam . Funded through the PARC project with support from the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the study was conducted in conjunction with the Forest Protection Department of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) in collaboration with the Ministry of Fisheries (MOFI) and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MONRE). IUCN provided technical support for the project. The publication of the Policy Brief was the final activity of the PARC (Creating Protected Areas for Resource Conservation) project.

For further information or for copies of the review, contact Ms. Nguyen Thi Yen, Forest and Protected Areas Programme Officer, at yen@iucn.org.vn

NATIONAL STRATEGY FOR NTFP APPROACH DEVELOPED BY MARD 

MARD has recently approved a national Strategy for Non-Timber Forest Products. This strategy is seeking to promote the development of the NTFP Sub-sector in Viet Nam . MARD developed the strategy with technical advice provided by the IUCN’s Dutch-funded NTFP Sub-sector Support Project. Based upon the national strategy, national- and provincial-level action plans are currently being developed as part of the government’s NTFP programme that focusses on integrating these plans at all levels of government.

 IUCN will continue to support the Government of Viet Nam’s efforts to develop NTFP policy, playing a key role as technical advisor. The role of NTFP producers and products in conservation and development in Viet Nam is increasingly being recognised.

For inquiries, contact Ms. Nguyen Thi Yen, Forest and Protected Areas Programme Officer, at yen@iucn.org.vn

 INTERNATIONAL WORKSHOP ON WETLAND AND COASTAL EDUCATION

The city of Nha Trang – the home of Viet Nam ’s model Marine Protected Area – was a fitting location to hold the International Workshop on Wetlands and Coastal Education. Almost 100 representatives from marine and wetland protected areas, universities, government offices, NGOs and international agencies from Vietnam and across Asia met to share wetland case studies and management experiences, and also to discuss the development of a Viet Nam Wetland Education Network. Case studies from throughout Asia provided an illustration of the different approaches to environmental education, and interesting case studies from Viet Nam highlighted the innovative environmental education activities being undertaken throughout Viet Nam .

Organised by IUCN Viet Nam in partnership with the Ramsar Center Japan and in collaboration with MOFI, the workshop enjoyed support from Sida, the Keidanren Nature Conservation Fund, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) the Danish International Development Agency (Danida) and the Hokkaido River Disaster Prevention and Research Center Foundation.

One of the main outputs of the workshop was the proposal to establish a network of marine and wetland educators in Viet Nam . The aim of the group is to meet regularly to share experiences in approaches to environmental education in Viet Nam . It is anticipated that this cadre will identify excellent models for marine and wetland education and identify best practices in environmental education.

For further information, please email Mr. Ly Minh Dang, Wetlands and Water Resources Programme Officer, at dang@iucn.org.vn

FORUM ON SUSTAINABLE USE OF RED RIVER WATER RESOURCES

The Vietnam Water Partnership (VNWP), with support from the IUCN-Water and Nature Initiative (WANI), organised the “Forum on Sustainable Utilisation of the Red River ’s water resources in IWRM context” in Hanoi on 26 October 2007 . About 70 participants attended, representing different national and local agencies of the Government of Viet Nam, NGOs, and social associations. The six key reports that were presented focussed on the past and current status of the Red River ’s water resources, the water demands of different sectors, such as electricity, agriculture, fisheries, and transportation, and the current processes for water allocation and management. Group discussions in the afternoon sought to identify the root causes of water shortage and the past and current managerial interventions and their impacts, and also sought to identify recommendations for longer-term solutions to these issues. These policy recommendations are being documented for the purpose of increasing awareness of the issues in management of the Red River water resources and to promote more effective management of its resources.

For further information, contact Mr. Ly Minh Dang, Wetlands and Water Resources Programme Officer, at dang@iucn.org.vn

 PAYMENT FOR ENVIRONMENTAL SERVICES (PES) WORKSHOP

Lively discussions were held amongst 65 workshop participants on possible payment for environmental services (PES) mechanisms in Viet Nam. The workshop, cosponsored by MONRE and IUCN, was held from 26-27 September in Dai Lai, Vinh Phuc Province . PES is a mechanism able to generate sustainable finance for biodiversity conservation and the provision of ecosystem services. Examples of these services may include watershed protection, biodiversity protection by local communities and participation of communities in protected area management.

The opportunities for incorporating PES into the Biodiversity Law were discussed and concrete steps were identified for this process. MONRE will lead with the incorporation of PES into the Biodiversity Law with support from IUCN through the Asia Regional Biodiversty Conservation Programme.

For more information, please contact Ms. Ly Thi Minh Hai, Environmental Law Coordinator for the ARBCP, at hai@iucn.org.vn

 WETLAND EDUCATION NETWORK PLANNING GROUP HARD AT WORK

 Launched just two months ago, the Wetlands Education Network is in good hands. The network-planning group has already met twice to develop network objectives and regulations, develop a work plan for 2007, and agree upon a semi-permanent committee. Official terms of reference will be available by the end of 2006.

For further information, please contact Ms. Dinh Thi Minh Thu, focal point for the network, at thu@iucn.org.vn

What we are up to ... our upcoming events

TRAINING FOR TEACHERS ON MARINE TURTLES - 20-24 November 2006

IUCN will train teachers from Minh Chau Island and from mainland Quang Ninh Province about sea turtle conservation. The training will take place on Minh Chau Island, Quang Ninh Province .

CHARTING THE FUTURE OF CONSERVATION ON CAT BA - 30 November- 1 December 2006

At an IUCN/Hai Phong People’s Committee-sponsored workshop, participants will hear the results of an IUCN evaluation of approaches to conservation and livelihoods development over the past ten years on Cat Ba Island before determining the future approaches to projects on the island. The workshop will be held in Hai Phong City .

TOURISM TRAINING FOR MPA MANAGERS - 4-11 December 2006

MPA managers will convene at an IUCN-sponsored international workshop on tourism. Participants will also hold their annual MPA network meeting during the workshop, which will be held on Cat Ba Island, Hai Phong Province.

ENVIRONMENTAL JOURNALIST NETWORK MEETING - 16 December 2006

To strengthen the Vietnam Forum for Environmental Journalists’ network of journalists and professionals in the environmental field, VFEJ and IUCN are co-hosting a national conference in Hanoi . Organisers hope the meeting will yield strategies to build the network’s influence and membership.

Food for thought ... new releases

Mekong Region Water Resources Decision-making Policy Briefs handbook. Funded by IUCN’s Water and Nature Initiative.

Marine and coastal wetlands: education network, capacity building, and training. Proceedings of workshop, Nha Trang, 30 August - 1 September 2006 . Funded by JICA. 

Policy Brief: Building Viet Nam ’s National Protected Areas System – policy and institutional innovations required for progress. Funded by GEF and the United Nations Development Programme as part of the PARC Project.