Photo: UNDP

A workshop on the development and management of biosphere reserves in Viet Nam was organized in Hanoi by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MONRE) in coordination with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in Viet Nam, and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). Attending the workshop were leaders of MONRE, MOFA, UNDP, UNESCO, representatives of several international organizations (JICA, IUCN, WWF), the Management Board for Biosphere Reserves in Vietnam, and a number of national conservation agencies and organizations, experts, and press agencies.

Worldwide, there are 714 biosphere reserves in 129 countries recognized by UNESCO. In Viet Nam, the first one recognized was the Can Gio Mangrove Biosphere Reserve in 2000. So far, a total of nine biosphere reserves have been recognized in Viet Nam, covering an area of over four million hectares, accounting for about 12.1% of the country's area, and home to about 1.78 million people. The development and expansion of the country’s biosphere reserve system is a great effort on the part of MOFA, the People's Committees of provinces with Biosphere Reserves, the Viet Nam Human and Biosphere Program (MAB Viet Nam), and other stakeholders.

However, most of the protected areas and biosphere reserves are located in areas with high poverty rates, so achieving the goal of both conservation and economic development faces many difficulties. In addition, other barriers include the lack of a common framework to implement integrated solutions in sustainable development, ineffective organization and coordination of stakeholder participation in the biosphere reserves, and ineffective planning capacity on the basis of the landscape approach.

Mr. Vo Tuan Nhan, Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Environment. (Photo: UNDP)

“This workshop is an opportunity for all stakeholders to recognize and evaluate the results achieved after 20 years of joining the UNESCO biosphere reserve network, while also discussing solutions for the sustainable management of biosphere reserves and development orientations for the network of biosphere reserves in the coming time,” said Mr. Vo Tuan Nhan, Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Environment, speaking at the workshop.

“It is essential to raise awareness about the crucial role of biosphere reserves in protecting the rich biodiversity of Viet Nam. We need stronger public partnerships and effective strategies for active local stakeholder engagement that will strengthen Viet Nam’s biosphere reserves for a better future for the country and achievement of the SDGs,” highlighted Ms. Sitara Syed, UNDP Deputy Resident Representative in Viet Nam.

Ms. Sitara Syed, UNDP Deputy Resident Representative in Viet Nam. (Photo: UNDP)

“Biosphere Reserve” is a title awarded by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to “coastal or terrestrial ecosystems that help promote solutions to harmonize protection and preserve biodiversity with sustainable use of that area.” The goal of the biosphere reserves is to ensure harmony between humans and nature through the implementation of the three main functions of conservation, development, and support. Approaches to managing the biosphere reserves are open, interdisciplinary, and multi-disciplinary./.

Khac Kien