Regional phase of integrated coastal management project begins

07 March 2007 | News story

Stretching 150 km along the northern coast of Viet Nam to the Chinese border, the Northwest Tonkin Gulf covers 6,000 square km of the inshore waters of Hai Phong and Quang Ninh Provinces.  A major seaway for imports and exports – particularly coal – from North Viet Nam, the Northwest Tonkin Gulf also contains key marine ecosystems, including extensive mangrove forests and sea grass beds and the northernmost range of coral reefs in Viet Nam.

This important nursery and breeding area supports over 2,000 marine species, including the endemic shell fish ‘tu hai’ (Lutrana philippinarium), abalone (Haliotis sp.), black grouper (Serranidae sp.), dolphin (dolphinus sp.) and Hawksbill turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata).  Cat Ba, Ba Mun and Co To islands in the Gulf have areas of rainforest with diverse and endemic species of mammals, reptiles and birds.

Economic development plans of the Hai Phong - Quang Ninh - Ha Noi Development Triangle call for rapid expansion of coal, tourism, shipping and trade, cement production, and fisheries and aquaculture industries in the area over the next ten years.  Achieving these ambitious goals presents a classic governance challenge of management for multiple uses and stakeholder interests, some of which potentially conflict.

The project Building Capacity for Integrated Coastal Management in the North West Tonkin Gulf, Viet Nam, organized through collaborative efforts of the U.S. National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the Ministry of Fisheries, and IUCN Viet Nam, aims to support the development of strategies for effective integrated coastal management.  The first phase (2002-2005) of the project worked to address the need for enhancing coastal stewardship capacity, primarily in Quang Ninh Province; during this phase, a series of focused investments and activities aimed at broadening management perspectives, creating local capacity to collect and analyse information, and designing actions to enhance the effectiveness of management.

December 2006 saw the kickoff of the project’s second phase.  Phase II, which will operate through 2008, extends the scope of project activities to both Hai Phong and Quang Ninh coastal areas.  Phase II activities will provide a regional model of integrated coastal management, which policymakers in the central government can use as a guide for developing approaches to coastal management issues and addressing the local community’s dependence on a weakening fisheries sector.  Fostering cooperation between protected area sites in the Northwest Tonkin Gulf is a specific aim of Phase II, as is supporting the development of a management framework and a governance process that identifies and addresses management issues with a comprehensive, coordinated and integrated strategy.

This project marks the first time Vietnamese and U.S. governmental agencies worked together to leverage resources and expertise in partnership with two leading environmental and non-governmental organisations, assembling the cultural, public policy, scientific and technical expertise, and the experience base needed, to address the complexities of operationalizing integrated coastal management. The project supports the broad interests of the United States and Viet Nam through the U.S.-Viet Nam Science and Technology Agreement.

 For more information, please contact Ms. Bui Thi Thu Hien, Marine and Coastal Programme Manager, at hien@iucn.org.vn or +(84) 4 726-1575 ext. 123