Dec 23, 2021 / 12:05

Germany to strengthen biodiversity conservation in Vietnam

The cooperation project has supported Vietnam in formulating the Forestry Law and regulations related to special-use forests and protection forests.

Germany will continue cooperation with Vietnam in biodiversity conservation while recognizing the nexus with global challenges such as climate change, said Helene Paust, first counselor and deputy head of Development Cooperation of the German Embassy.

She was speaking at a workshop reviewing the two countries' cooperation project “Program on Conservation and Sustainable Use of Forest Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services in Vietnam”, held in Hanoi this week.

"Building on the achievements and efforts of Vietnam so far, we will continue our cooperation around natural resources management and biodiversity conservation - for the benefit of nature and people," she said.

An aerial view of Than Sa - Phuong Hoang Nature Reserve in Thai Nguyen Province of Vietnam. Photo: GIZ/Binh Dang

"Vietnam has proposed to focus the next chapter of our development cooperation on protected areas with a mixed ecosystem of forest and freshwater or marine ecosystems. We are looking forward to jointly developing this idea," Helene Paust added.

She noted that the proposed working fields include conservation, sustainable financing, and development of mixed eco-systems in special-use forests and protection forests in Vietnam; models for sustainable tourism development and biodiversity conservation in mixed ecosystems (marine/terrestrial) and for sustainable use of forest ecosystems; and restoration of natural ecosystems of special-use forests and protection forests to improve the resilience of forest ecosystems in the context of climate change.

Vietnam and Germany are building on over 45 years of fruitful development cooperation in the field of biodiversity conservation and sustainable forest management. With the project coming to an end, both countries are looking to the future.

She said only a month ago, the global community met in Glasgow for the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26). Vietnam as one of the countries most affected by the impacts of climate change and forest ecosystems are key to effective adaptation of nature and people to the impacts of climate change.

"Recognizing the important role of biodiversity-rich forests for carbon sequestration and storage, Vietnam and Germany are among the signatories of the “Glasgow Leaders’ Declaration on Forests and Land Use” and committed to halt and reverse deforestation by 2030,” Helene Paust stressed.

For his part, Tran Quang Bao, deputy director general of the Vietnam Administration of Forestry (VNFOREST) under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) applauded the achievements of the Vietnam - German cooperation project, which is jointly implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) and the MARD, during the period of 2018-2021(the project’s second phase).

Bao highlighted that the project “Program on Conservation and Sustainable Use of Forest Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services in Vietnam” has contributed to enhancing biodiversity conservation both at the policy level and on the ground in protected areas, where it is intended to ensure local communities benefit from the sustainable management of forests and the natural resources.

 Clouds in the early morning on the highest mountain peak of Bidoup in Nui Ba National Park in Lam Dong Province of Vietnam. Photo: GIZ/Binh Dang

“Specifically, the project has supported formulating the Forestry Law as well as documents guiding the enforcement of laws related to special-use forests and protection forests,” said the deputy director-general.

He added that special-use and protection forests cover an area of more than 6.8 million hectares, around 46.7% of Vietnam’s total forest area. The preservation of these forests has, now more than ever, become a matter of preserving the livelihoods of the millions of people who live in and around them.

Project Director Doan Hoai Nam, who is also director of VNFOREST’s Department of Protected Area Management, highlighted the project’s contribution to the 2021 nationwide roll-out and standardization of the Spatial Monitoring and Reporting Tool (SMART), an effective method for protected area patrolling and management.

“The standardized data model, national guidelines, and training curriculum are ready for application at the 33 sites currently using SMART in Vietnam. With the project’s support, we have strengthened cooperation between protected area management boards, government agencies and non-government organizations,” he said.

In an interview with The Hanoi Times, Nam stressed that Vietnam is one of the world’s most significant biodiversity hotspots. It is so important to conserve the diversified ecosystem to strengthen food security, generate livelihoods, while minimizing the impact of natural disasters and climate change.

“After four years of implementation, the project has significantly and effectively contributed to shaping the enabling environment including development of bylaws, and sector strategy with special focus on protection and special use forest,” Nam added.

Wrapping up the closing workshop, Anja Barth, GIZ chief technical advisor, noted that the project has demonstrated successful approaches for the sustainable management and financing of protected forests at the national level and at four pilot sites: Cat Tien National Park, Bidoup-Nui Ba National Park, Than Sa- Phuong Hoang Nature Reserve, and Tram Tau Protection Forest. These experiences are available for others to learn from and improve upon.