Celebrating the Network of Viet Nam’s Biosphere Reserves to promote the value of biosphere reserves for sustainable development

November 3, 2023
Photo: Do Ba Hung

Ha Noi, 3 November 2023 - On the occasion of the International Day for Biosphere Reserves, Viet Nam National Committee on the Man and the Biosphere Programme (MAB Viet Nam) and the Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Agency (NBCA/MONRE), with the support of UNDP Viet Nam, organize the Annual Meeting of Viet Nam's Biosphere Reserves Network and the Scientific Conference on "Promoting the value of Vietnam's Biosphere Reserves for sustainable development".

Up to date, Viet Nam is home to eleven Biosphere Reserves (BRs), second only to Indonesia in the number of Biosphere Reserves in Southeast Asia. The ecological makeup of these Biosphere Reserves has been integral to the lives of not only millions of Vietnamese people, but also countless endemic plant and animal species. Promotion of their utility for climate regulation, biodiversity conservation, and sustainable human-nature coexistence have been of paramount importance to national policymaking.

Speaking at the event, Ms. Hoang Thi Thanh Nhan – Deputy Director of NBCA, shared that effective management of biosphere reserves plays an important role in achieving sustainable development goals, through the promotion of new initiatives for economic development, while ensuring social, cultural and environmental sustainability. MONRE has been working on establishing policies and myriad legal frameworks to further strengthen the management of Biosphere Reserves in Viet Nam.

She also emphasized that there have been numeral initiatives, models, and successes in the conservation of biodiversity and sustainable use of natural resources that have been implemented and upscaled across the network of Biosphere Reserves in the country. The Biosphere Reserves Network has actively contributed to the pursuit of Viet Nam’s sustainable development goals.

Prof. Nguyen Hoang Tri - MAB Vietnam Chairman, shared that the annual meeting of the Viet Nam's Biosphere Reserves Network is an opportunity for the network of eleven Biosphere Reserves in Viet Nam to look back on its one year of operation, take stock of learned lessons, and collectively define pathways for the next period. In the coming years, Vietnam's Biosphere Reserve Network aims to build a unified management framework, develop and apply the World Biosphere Reserve eco-label, promotion of eco-tourism, green economy and people's livelihoods to contribute to climate change mitigation and adaptation in Biosphere Reserves in Viet Nam.

Biosphere Reserves, of which early designation and network was launched in 1971 by UNESCO, are regions of natural and cultural landscapes extending over vast areas of terrestrial, wetland, or coastal/marine ecosystems or their amalgamation. Biosphere reserves are ‘learning places for sustainable development’, for “testing interdisciplinary approaches” to understand and manage changes and interactions between social and ecological systems, including conflict prevention and management in biodiversity conservation. This is a prime example of human-nature balanced co-existence where the preservation of nature goes hand in hand with the sustainable socio-economic lives of local communities.

BRs initiatives in Viet Nam
Sustainable management of Biosphere Reserves in Viet Nam has garnered significant attention from various stakeholders, with UNDP and the Global Environment Facility (GEF) playing a pivotal role in these efforts. Their focus has been on promoting environmental resilience and supporting local livelihoods in the face of escalating climate-induced challenges.

"Mainstreaming Natural Resource Management and Biodiversity Conservation Objectives into Socio-Economic Development Planning and Management of Biosphere Reserves in Viet Nam" project (the Biosphere Reserves Project), which is implemented by MONRE and UNDP, aims to facilitate integrated management of Biosphere Reserves, specifically that of Western Nghe An, Cu Lao Cham-Hoi An, and Dong Nai BRs, while also prioritizing the restoration of 4,000 hectares of degraded forest land and the sustainable management of 60,000 hectares of designated conservation areas. Notably, the project has directly improved the economic conditions of 2,500 local households, with a strong emphasis on the inclusion of women in project activities, who constitute 40% of the project beneficiaries.

Inspired and urged by the ambitious targets set in the “UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration” initiative and the recent Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF), UNDP continues to put nature at the heart of our development agenda through the UNDP Nature Pledge to scale and fast-track necessary actions, contributing to the achievement of global targets. Its work in Viet Nam encompasses improved management of Biosphere Reserves and Protected Areas, mobilizing finance for biodiversity, nature-based tourism, and others.

For media inquiries, please contact:
Phan Huong Giang
UNDP Media and Communication Analyst, Climate Change and Environment
Email: phan.huong.giang@undp.org