Winners of the “I Draw the Blue Ocean – Home of Marine Life” contest announced

January 18, 2024

Ha Noi, January 18, 2024 – The Viet Nam Fisheries Surveillance (Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Viet Nam jointly organized the award ceremony for the "I Draw the Blue Ocean – Home of Marine Life" contest. The Grand Prize was awarded to the work"I am a Doctor Who Protects Marine Life" by Dinh Van Khanh, a student from An Dong Primary School in An Dương District, Hai Phong City. The First Prize was presented to Vu Thi Thuy Linh, a Diem Dien Town Primary School student in Thai Thuy District, Thai Binh Province, for her work "Release Big-Eyed Nets – Small Fish Return to the Sea."

In the framework of the UNDP's Biodiversity Finance Initiative (BIOFIN), the contest aims to spread important values and messages regarding marine conservation awareness, not only to the general public but also to foster knowledge and understanding among the Vietnamese youth. Within one month of launching the contest, the organizing committee received 42,800 entries featuring meaningful paintings and messages on marine conservation and protecting endangered and rare aquatic species. These entries came from three art clubs, one school for disabled children, and 529 primary schools across 21 provinces. From this pool of submissions, the judges have selected 52 winning works.

The contest also aims to align with the Vietnamese government's project on "Communication to Enhance Community Capacity for Marine Conservation by 2030." Given Vietnam's extensive coastline of over 3,200 km and more than 60% of the population living in 28 coastal provinces, the livelihoods of people and fishermen in the coastal areas heavily rely on the resources brought about by biodiversity and marine and coastal ecosystems. Therefore, if biodiversity and ecosystem services are degraded, it will directly affect the food security, livelihoods, and safety of coastal communities. These ecosystems provide food, economic opportunities, medicines, and recreation, fulfilling various ecosystem functions crucial for human life. Furthermore, marine and coastal ecosystems not only sequester and store substantial amounts of CO2 but also act as protective buffers, safeguarding coastlines and communities from the impacts of climate change.

The National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan to 2030 with a vision to 2050, and the Strategy for sustainable exploitation and use of resources and protection of the seas and islands environment until 2030, with a vision to 2050, emphasize the importance of marine conservation. Viet Nam has also set a goal to effectively manage and safeguard marine, coastal, and island ecosystems, increasing the area of marine protected areas and coastal areas to be conserved to at least 6% of the natural area in the national marine area. This includes marine and coastal protected areas, concentrated reproduction areas, juvenile aquatic life areas, aquatic species habitats, aquatic species migration routes, biosphere reserves, Ramsar sites, etc. Additionally, the nation aims to restore coastal mangrove forests to a minimum level equivalent to 2000. To achieve this, coastal communities, especially the younger generation, need to be more aware of marine conservation.

Speaking at the ceremony, Mr. Nguyen Quang Hung, Director of The Viet Nam Fisheries Surveillance, remarked, "The entries exhibit a commendable level of professionalism, conveying many messages related to environmental protection and the preservation of marine biodiversity in general, specifically endangered, rare aquatic species. They express the students' aspirations for a marine protected area where aquatic species thrive, marine ecosystems are protected, and shrimp and fish are born and multiplied. Furthermore, they provide insights into recommended and discouraged activities for preserving the marine environment and protecting endangered and rare aquatic species."

Mr. Patrick Haverman, Deputy Resident Representative of UNDP Viet Nam, shared: "These underwater friends need our help. Just like how we care for our homes, it’s important to take care of the ocean and its inhabitants. Your actions today will create a brighter and cleaner home for these amazing creatures that live beneath the waves. Keep being kind to the ocean, and you’ll make a big splash in making our world a better place."

The Biodiversity Finance Initiative (BIOFIN) project by UNDP, implemented in 2017, aims to mobilize and utilize stable financial resources for biodiversity conservation. Drawing on insights and lessons gathered over the years, BIOFIN has been developing specific financial models such as formulating a fee collection plan to protect fishery resources, ensuring funding to sustain fishery co-management organizations in Binh Thuan, and establishing marine-based tourism models that channel financial and labor resources towards coral reef conservation at Hon Yen. This initiative significantly contributes to the implementation of Vietnam's National Biodiversity Conservation Strategy from now until 2030, with a vision for 2050.

Media enquiries, please kindly contact:
Phan Huong Giang, 
Media and Communications Analyst, Climate Change and Environment
United Nations Development Programme