In early October, IUCN and Holcim Vietnam co-convened a workshop to review and finalize the Biodiversity Action Plan recommendations for Holcim’s Hon Chong plant in Kien Giang Province, Southern Vietnam.
The workshop brought together participants from local authorities, civil society and Holcim to carry out a technical review of IUCN’s BAP recommendations and discuss how all players in the area will be involved to ensure its successful implementation. The discussions focused on ensuring that the key recommendations provided were on the one hand accurate from a technical perspective and on the other feasible from a business perspective. An additional focus of the workshop was to determine the way forward for ensuring the establishment of nature reserves in the area, which will support the biodiversity actions taken by Holcim and other players. In this respect, representatives from the Kien Giang Department of Natural Resources and Environment and the Department of Sciences provided an update on the status of the proposals being prepared for Phu My and the other karst hills to be designated as nature reserves.
To set context for the workshop, Peter-John Meynell, one of the members of the IUCN-Holcim Biodiversity Advisory Panel provided a global overview of the Biodiversity Management System (BMS) adopted by Holcim in late 2010, which consists of the integration of biodiversity considerations into Holcim operations and decision-making.
“The Hon Chong Biodiversity Action Plan is extremely important for safeguarding biodiversity in this biologically important site.” says Meynell “As one of the first BAPs developed in the context of the BMS, this BAP could also become a company-wide example for addressing biodiversity risks and identifying opportunities for biodiversity enhancement on Holcim’s sensitive sites”.
“Through the adoption of the BAP, HVL is committed to minimizing the impacts of our operations on biodiversity in Hon Chong,” says Gary Schutz, General Director, Holcim Vietnam Ltd. “this commitment needs to be complemented by actions to safeguard biodiversity from other players in the area, including the establishment of two nature reserves. This workshop has been an important step forward in the process”.
The relationship between IUCN and Holcim in Vietnam is one example of the importance of local level collaborations for BMS implementation. This relationship was established in 2008 with the objective of reviewing Holcim Vietnam’s approach to biodiversity conservation and implementing a country-level strategy for biodiversity. The focus of the Vietnam relationship has been the development the BAP for Holcim’s cement plant in Hon Chong. This plant is located in a high biodiversity area characterised by karst hills and seasonally flooded wetlands. Of highest global conservation concern are the large numbers of highly restricted-range plants, snails, and arthropods that have been discovered (but not yet scientifically described) on the karst hills. Also of high concern is the population of Silvered langurs that IUCN assesses as Endangered.
For more information on the Global IUCN-Holcim relationship click here.
For more information on IUCN Vietnam's work click here.