Vietnam Celebrates First International Day for Biosphere Reserves

The International Day of Biosphere Reserves took place in Hai Phong on November 3. This is the first year that this day is celebrated worldwide.

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Vietnam Celebrates First International Day for Biosphere Reserves
Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Vo Tuan Nhan speaks at the event.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Vo Tuan Nhan said: Vietnam has 11 recognized biosphere reserves with areas of special value in terms of nature and biodiversity, accounting for about 14.69% of the country’s natural area.

Vietnam, has the second highest number of Biosphere Reserves (BR) in Southeast Asia, after Indonesia.

However, Vietnam is facing degradation in biodiversity along with other great challenges such as the Covid pandemic, environmental and water pollution, land degradation, plastic pollution and climate change.

At the meeting, Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Vo Tuan Nhan suggested that centrally-run agencies and provincial people’s committees continue implementing actions to promote the development of the BR network in the near future.

The Deputy Minister asked them to focus on mobilizing and diversifying resources to support and enhance the management of Biosphere Reserves; strengthen cooperation with UNESCO, international organizations, members in the network; continue to expand and develop the world network of Biosphere Reserves in Vietnam.

He also asked them to promote scientific research, education and the cultural values of BR; apply sustainable livelihood models, promote initiatives for environmental protection, nature and biodiversity conservation, climate change adaptation and mitigation measures; building biosphere reserves to become models of sustainable development.

In Vietnam, the first Biosphere Reserves recognized was Can Gio Mangrove Biosphere Reserve in 2000.

After 22 years, Vietnam has a system of 11 Biosphere Reserves recognized by UNESCO, including: Can Gio Mangrove BR, Dong Nai BR, Cat Ba BR, Red River Delta BR, Kien Giang BR, Western Nghe An BR, Cu Lao Cham BR, Mui Ca Mau BR, Langbiang BR, Nui Chua BR and Kon Ha Nung BR.

Vietnam Celebrates First International Day for Biosphere Reserves
Cu Lao Cham – one of 11 Biosphere Reserves recognized in Vietnam.

Vietnam is striving to have 15 of the world’s BRs recognized by UNESCO by 2030 and improve management efficiency.

Ramla Khalidi, UNDP Resident Representative in Vietnam said: UNDP’s commitments to facilitating the sustainable relationship between humans and nature is reflected in its 44-year operation in Vietnam, delegating interventions on biodiversity and natural resources conservation that go hand-in-hand with livelihoods development for local communities.

Vietnam Celebrates First International Day for Biosphere Reserves
Nature conservation is associated with the development of people’s livelihoods. Photo: Michelle Dang

Gender mainstreaming and social inclusion are integrated in the project designs that maximize the level of representation and participation present in the processes leading to improved legal frameworks, effective cross-sectoral actions, as well as heightened capacities and awareness, from encouraging increased ethnic groups and women’s participation in agriculture, forest-farming, and ecotourism value chains to supporting forest livelihoods for indigenous communities.

Vietnam Celebrates First International Day for Biosphere Reserves
Ramla Khalidi, UNDP Resident Representative in Vietnam. Photo: Michelle Dang

The Biosphere Reserves Project is set out to promote cross-sectoral management of BRs, facilitate the conservation of ecosystems in Cu Lao Cham-Hoi An, Dong Nai, Western Nghe An BRs, and foster local livelihoods.

The ameliorated management of BRs shall be enabled by improved legal and institutional infrastructures, with cross-sectoral actions on the grounds to deliver the restoration and better management of 4,000 hectares of degraded forest land, sustainable management of 60,000 hectares of set-aside areas (spaces outside Protected Areas with high conservation values), and improvement of economic livelihoods for 2,500 households with at least 20% increase in average income, of which 9,350 people will receive direct benefits with 40% being women.

Vietnam Celebrates First International Day for Biosphere Reserves
Delegates planted trees in response to the “One Billion Trees Initiative” at Biosphere Reserves in Vietnam. Photo: Xuan Truong

Along with the meeting was a tree planting program to respond to the “One Billion Trees Initiative” in Vietnam and the closing ceremony of the world network of Biosphere Reserves in 2022.

This is an annual activity to evaluate achievements, limitations and share experiences in the management, conservation of nature, biodiversity and sustainable development of the Biosphere Reserves.

World Biosphere Reserve is a title awarded by UNESCO to areas of exceptional value in terms of nature and biodiversity to promote solutions that harmonize conservation and development.

Since its establishment in 1976, the network of biosphere reserves has grown across all continents of the world, making important contributions to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.

The recognition of Biosphere Reserves creates opportunities for conservation and sustainable development, attracting investment, enhancing cooperation and participation, exchanging and sharing experiences in the network.

Rosie Nguyen