News | 27 Oct, 2023

IUCN and Hyundai Motor Company collaborate on mangrove restoration in the Mekong Delta, Viet Nam

HANOI, October 25, 2023 – IUCN, the International Union for Conservation of Nature, entered a three-year partnership with Hyundai Motor Company and Good Neighbors International (GNI) to restore mangroves in the Mekong Delta with a focus on privately owned shrimp farms.

This partnership is a part of Hyundai Motor’s IONIQ Forest project. Launched in 2016, it aims to plant 1 million trees worldwide by 2024 to create eco-friendly forests that absorb carbon, conserve biodiversity, and benefit local communities.

In the first year, the project will plant 120,000 mangrove trees, primarily rhizophora and avicennia species, in Nam Can District in Ca Mau Province. This builds on work by IUCN and SNV, the Netherlands Development Organisation, on mangrove restoration as part of a German International Climate Initiative (IKI) organic shrimp project support in neighboring Ngoc Hien District. In Ngoc Hien, the mangrove forest is co-managed by shrimp farmers and local government and farmers must maintain at least 50% of tree coverage on their farms.

Ca Mau map Photo: Map of mangroves and water/shrimp ponds in Ca Mau Province © IUCN Viet Nam


In Nam Can, most of the farms are privately owned, which means that farmers must be incentivized to plant and care for mangroves. Since many mangroves in the Mekong Delta are on privately owned land, this is a new and important area of work for IUCN.

In Nam Can, mangroves will be planted in shrimp ponds to provide food and nursery habitat for shrimp and other aquatic species such as fish and crab, and to protect them from extreme temperatures. Mangroves also protect farms and houses against storms and because of their extensive root system, sequester more carbon per unit area than tropical rain forests. Integrated mangrove-shrimp farming is therefore a nature-based solution for livelihoods, climate change, and biodiversity.

If mangrove cover is sufficiently restored, the mangrove-shrimp landscape could be recognized as an OECM or Other Effective area-based Conservation Measure, a new designation of protected and conserved land or water outside of formal protected areas. OECMs are a part of the new Global Biodiversity Framework to which Viet Nam is signatory.

“In 2020, IUCN launched Global Standards on Nature-based-Solutions to protect, sustainably manage and restore nature to address societal and environmental challenges. The project is expected to contribute to promote NbS by increasing mangrove cover in shrimp farms in Ca Mau,” shared Jake Brunner, Head of IUCN’s Lower Mekong Sub-region. “In the long-term, Ca Mau’s integrated mangrove shrimp landscape could be considered as an OECM, thereby helping Viet Nam reach its 30x30 target, which the government committed to at CBD COP15 in Montreal in December 2022”.

With its 3,000-km long coastline, Vietnam is one of the world’s vulnerable countries to sea level rise and climate change. The low-lying Mekong Delta is particularly vulnerable to flooding, saltwater intrusion, and coastal erosion. Through projects such as this, IUCN, Hyundai Motor Company and GNI enhances resilience to climate change while promoting sustainable livelihoods.

An integrated mangrove-shrimp farming in Nam Can District, Ca Mau ProvincePhoto: An integrated mangrove-shrimp farming in Nam Can District, Ca Mau Province © IUCN Viet Nam


“Viet Nam is one of the most important markets for Hyundai Motor’s future mobility strategy in the ASEAN region. We aim to become a pioneer in this market as the first global brand to launch a CKD EV model in Vietnam,” said Oh In Won, Head of Vietnam Business Unit of Hyundai Motor Company. “The IONIQ FOREST project represents our authenticity and desire for the sustainability and eco-friendly future in Viet Nam.”

IONIQ Forest projects are part of Hyundai Motor's 'Hyundai Continue,' a global effort to create shared value (CSV) in alignment with their brand vision of 'Progress for Humanity'. The 'Hyundai Continue' initiative focuses on making revolutionary efforts for a better future, with three main areas of focus: Continue Earth, Continue Mobility, and Continue Hope.