Ha Noi, Viet Nam 9 January 2008 - The Government of Viet Nam is making efforts to apply the Ecosystem Approach to wetlands and protected area management with technical and field support from IUCN. The Ecosystem Approach is the primary framework for action for natural resrouces management under the Convention on Biological Diversity.
From 9 to 11January 2008, IUCN organized a technical workshop in Ha Noi to explore how the Ecosystem Approach can be used to facilitate sustainable wetlands management in Viet Nam. The workshop discussions focused on the pilot application of the Ecosystem Approach to wetlands management in Tram Chim National Park and other wetland sites in Viet Nam, lessons from the forestry sector that can inform improved wetlands management, and the policy changes required to implement a comprehensive Ecosystem Approach to wetlands in Viet Nam.
The first component of the 3 day workshop brought together national park managers, national and international scientists and ecosystems management experts. This group identified issues of and possible solutions to wetland management in Viet Nam. These include improved institutional arrangements and policy revision at national level, and clear delegation of responsibility, application of co-management regimes and addressing landscape issues at local level.
The second part of the workshop was a small, high-level meeting for government decision-makers. During this session, decision-makers reviewed the issues and the associated proposed solutions identified on the first day of the workshop. Clarification was provided and a course of action was agreed upon.
Suggested actions include the establishment of a National Committee for Wetlands as required by the Ramsar Convention, encouraging the enactment of a decision on management and conservation of wetlands (under Government Decree 109), a decision on the use and management of wetlands outside of protected areas, the development of wetlands management guidelines for important wetlands in Viet Nam, formalizing co-management guidelines into by-law and the development of a master plan for wetlands in three key geographic areas; the Red River, the Mekong River, and coastal wetlands.
This workshop builds upon the earlier field-level workshops held in the Mekong Delta in 2006. During these workshops it became clear that for the Ecosystem Approach to have a practical application at the field level policy issues at the central level must be addressed.
An introduction of the Ecosystem Approach together with a guide for field implementation was presented at the workshop by Dr. Gill Shepherd, the thematic leader for the Ecosystem Approach of the IUCN Commission on Ecosystem Management (CEM). CEM expressed a willingness to support the Vietnamese authorities in producing a policy-makers’ guide about the Ecosystem Approach as a result of this high-level workshop.
The Ecosystem Approach is a strategy for integrated management of land, water and living resources that promotes conservation and sustainable use in an equitable way. It is an innovative strategy that places human needs at the centre of biodiversity management. It aims to manage the ecosystem, based on the multiple functions that ecosystems perform and the multiple uses that are made of these functions. The ecosystem approach does not aim for short-term economic gains, but aims to optimize the use of an ecosystem without damaging it.