Improving climate change resilience in Vietnam’s coastal areas

(CPV) - On October 1-2, a conference on building resilience and enhancing partnership in coastal areas of Vietnam – Piloting Ecological Risk Assessment (ERA) and Biosphere Reserve (BR) approach was held in Hanoi.

The conference was co-organized by the Centre for Marine life Conservation and Community Development (MCD) and the Vietnam MAB (Man and Biosphere program) National Committee, with the support from the Swedish International Development Agency (Sida) and the Embassy of Sweden.

The event attracted the participation of 150 authorities and representatives from Nam Dinh, Thai Binh, Ninh Binh provinces and Hai Phong city, representatives from coastal Biosphere Reserves and Heritage sites of Vietnam, donors and International institutions, non-governmental organizations and research institutions. Moreover, representatives from UNESCO, SIDA and Stockholm University also attended the conference.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, Ms. Nguyen Thu Hue, MCD Director, said that the conference is an open forum to discuss opportunities and challenges in natural resources management and community based adaptive livelihoods in the context of climate change. It also is an occasion to share best practices and lessons learnt from piloting Ecological Risk Assessment (ERA) and biosphere reserves as an approach to cope with the impact of climate change in the Red River Delta.

In the two-day conference, many valuable reports and presentations by professors of Stockholm University (Sweden), representatives of Red River Delta and Cat Ba Islands Biosphere Reserves, authorities and experts from non-governmental organizations inside the country and overseas are presented.

The results and themes discussed at the event came from a project on enhancing resilience of coastal and marine biosphere reserves in Vietnam through strengthening natural resources management and sustaining community livelihoods by MCD and the Department of Ecology, Environment and Plant Sciences of the Stockholm University for the period 2011-2013.

The project was to improve resistance and resilience of Cat Ba biosphere reserve in the context of climate change and to preserve the harmonious relationship between reserve and community development by improving sea resources management and sustainable livelihoods.

Professor Hoang Tri, General Secretary of the Vietnam MAB National Committee, said that ERA, a modern and intellectual methodology which is highly recommended by the global scientists community, is being applied successfully in the world, especially in developing countries. This methodology brings a great chance for Vietnam to assert the intellectual and culture approaches toward using the biosphere as a tool for climate change adaptation.

As of 2013, Vietnam has a total of 8 Biosphere Reserves set up throughout the country, involving an area of more than 4 million ha with high biodiversity of natural resources and important ecosystems supporting more than 1.4 million inhabitants. Among those, the two coastal ones, Red River Delta provincial trans-boundary coastal Biosphere reserve and Cat Ba Biosphere Reserve, were recognized by UNESCO since 2004./.