Leveraging legal mechanisms to safeguard biodiversity in Viet Nam

07 January 2008 | News story

The Government of Viet Nam, with the support of the IUCN and in coordination with other partners, is developing the Draft Biodiversity Law. This is initiated subsequent to the Government Decision No. 35/2003/QD-TTg, which mandates the development to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MONRE).

At the beginning of November, IUCN Viet Nam collaborated with MONRE to organize an international workshop to discuss the Draft Biodiversity Law Version 1-6, with technical support from IUCN’s Asa Regional Environmental Law Programme.

During the workshop international and national environmental legal experts commented on the draft biodiversity law and suggested revisions. Working groups were formed and lively discussions ensued.  Experts commented on the working group reports and further recommendations for revisions were proposed.

The Minister from MONRE, Viet Nam’s National Assembly members, officials from relevant ministries, as well as representatives from universities and civil society organizations participated in the workshop. This is one of the Biodiversity Law supporting activities under the UNDP - funded Poverty - Environment Project, “Harmonizing Poverty Reduction and Environmental Goals in Policy and Planning for Sustainable Development”.

Viet Nam’s National Assembly is considering approving the Biodiversity Law Project. This will create a comprehensive legal framework that addresses biodiversity conservation and facilitates effective biological resources management. This initiative is therefore strongly supported by international donors, partners and environmentalists. 

The discussion during this workshop provided policy makers in Viet Nam with a stronger understanding of the legal principles that can be applied to safeguard biodiversity thanks to the guidance from environmental legal experts. Consensus amongst policy makers on a number of issue areas in the draft law was established, representing promising progress towards the enacting of the Biodiversity Law. At the close of the workshop the Government of Viet Nam reaffirmed its commitment to safeguarding biodiversity and using legal measures to meet this objective. 

The Biodiversity Law of Viet Nam, which will tentatively complete this year according to the plan, is expected to meet international legal standards and to serve as a legal model for other countries to safeguard important environmental resources.