VN Wetlands Education Network Explores Payments for Environmental Services

30 December 2008 | News story

An IUCN-organised consultation meeting on Dec. 4 – 5 allowed experts to consider possibilities for conserving Viet Nam’s wetlands through a Payment for Environmental Services (PES) mechanism.

IUCN, through the Wetlands Education Network of Viet Nam (WENVN), partnered with the Can Gio protection forest management board to organise the meeting in Can Gio District, Ho Chi Minh City, to identify options for a PES system for the nation’s wetlands, and specifically for Can Gio’s mangroves.

The WENVN contributes to the management, conservation and sustainable use of wetlands in Viet Nam through education, awareness and communications activities. It does so partly by creating a forum where organisations can share information on wetlands conservation, this time about PES.

PES is a resource management tactic that aims to put the environmental benefits of a given ecosystem on par with other remunerative uses by giving those services a market value.

It requires the beneficiaries of a given ecosystem, who receive services like clean water, fisheries, disaster mitigation or ecotourism opportunities, to compensate local communities and others who are responsible for maintaining ecosystems. As such, it acknowledges the role people play in protecting ecosystems and provides them with an incentive to do so, rather than exploiting the environment for short-term economic gain.

IUCN helped pioneer PES in Viet Nam, by assisting the government in drafting the Law on Biodiversity containing a related article.

The consultation meeting introduced the concept of PES to stakeholders in Can Gio. About 40 participants from government agencies, academic institutions, tour companies, conservation groups and the media heard presentations on services the local mangrove forests provide, and discussed who benefits from those services, as well as which groups are in the best position to protect them.

After learning about PES implementation in the United States and in a pilot project in Viet Nam’s Lam Dong province, participants analysed the applicability of PES in Can Gio.

Participants said they expect the findings from the consultative workshop to contribute considerably to efforts to identify options and craft proposals for suitable and effective PES mechanisms for wetlands in Viet Nam. Specifically, IUCN VN is planning to draft concept notes on a pilot PES project in Can Gio Protection Forest.

For more information, contact Ms. Tran Minh Phuong, at phuong@iucn.org.vn.