Cat Ba Biosphere Reserve is an archipelago located in northern Viet Nam
Concerning the natural heritage of humanity, the World Biosphere Reserves are sites of excellence to reconcile the sustainable use of biodiversity with its conservation. Aware of this issue, Vietnam is actively working for their preservation.
The magnificent Nui Chua National Park, an arid ecosystem typical of Southeast Asia, located in Ninh Thuân Province (Central), and the Kon Hà Nung Plateau in Gia Lai Province (Central Highlands) were recognized in September 2021 by UNESCO as World Biosphere Reserves. At present, the country has 11 of them.
Vietnam is rich in these privileged sites, with places considered as “natural treasures” during the period 2000-2021, Vietnam became the second country with the largest number of World Biosphere Reserves in Southeast Asia. These are areas of high biodiversity conservation value that have the potential to become models for sustainable development.
Over the past 20 years, Vietnam’s Nature Reserves have become models of sustainable socio-economic development. Some of them attract a large number of tourists, which greatly helps the protection of nature and the development of the localities where
they are located.
The Cat Bà Biosphere Reserve (Hai Phong City, North), for example, has reached many new milestones in its socio-economic development. It is now considered a vital place for the preservation of fauna and flora.
In the government there is Dang Hoàng Giang, Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs and Chairman of the National Commission for UNESCO of Vietnam, “the recognition of Nui Chua and Kon Hà Nung demonstrates Vietnam’s efforts in protecting biodiversity, ecological environment and combating climate change as well as the country’s commitment to the implementation of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
The politician, Dang Hoang Giang wishes to maintain this collaboration in order to effectively implement the guidelines that the Party and the State have determined in recent years.
According to Vo Tuan Nan, Vice Minister of Natural Resources and Environment, the World Biosphere Reserve areas in Vietnam have seen positive changes in recent times. Together, they have implemented the Lima Action Plan of the Man and the Biosphere program to improve living conditions and protect biodiversity, the environment, and sustainable management of natural resources based on respect and maintenance of cultural values and traditional identities.
The first years were difficult, but after about 20 years of work in this field, the country has achieved many remarkable results in expanding the world network of biosphere reserves. It is now ranked 16th among the countries with the highest biodiversity in the world and is one of the ten richest biodiversity hotspots in the world.
A lot of work and perseverance to preserve biodiversity conservation and the development of the World Network of Biosphere Reserves have mobilized the participation of many ministries, branches, localities, national and international organizations, contributing together to the protection of natural ecosystems, rare and endangered wildlife species.
However, despite these remarkable results, some experts believe that several problems remain to be solved in the management and development of Biosphere Reserves.
Most biosphere reserves are located in regions with high poverty rates. Therefore, there are many difficulties in achieving the objective of conservation and economic development. In addition, there are other obstacles, such as the lack of a common framework for the implementation of sustainable development solutions. Because of this, the organization and coordination of the parties involved is not optimal.
For Deputy Minister Võ Tuấn Nhân, in order to solve this problem, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment has coordinated with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) to implement the project “Integrating Natural Resource Management, Biosphere Reserves in Vietnam and Biodiversity Conservation into Socio-Economic Development Planning” for the period 2019-2024.
“There is a need to raise awareness of the important role of Biosphere Reserves towards the protection of various biological resources,” stressed Ms. Sitara Syed, UNDP Deputy Chief Representative in Vietnam. “We need stronger public partnerships and more effective strategies for the active participation of stakeholders in the biosphere reserve localities in order to move towards a better future and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals,” she added.
According to Hoang Thi Thanh Nhan, Deputy Head of the Department of Nature Conservation and Biodiversity of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, the recognition of these reserves is of great significance for the country and is an important support to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda of international conventions and commitments.