Story | 14 Jul, 2021

Climate change - a new challenge for young staff of Lung Ngoc Hoang Nature Reserve, Viet Nam

Mr. Phan Cong Nguyen, a young researcher at the reserve, reflects on the site’s values, the impacts of climate change, and how his work will influence the future of the site.

Born and raised next to Lung Ngoc Hoang Nature Reserve, Mr. Phan Cong Nguyen has spent more than 30 years in the wetland. During his lifetime, he has witnessed remarkable changes. Previously a large forest of over ​​ten thousand hectares, currently only 2,000 hectares remain. He remembers the wetland of his childhood as a place where water flowed year-round; connecting the reserve with its surroundings, a significant difference from the stagnant waters of the wetland today, a result of the construction of sluice gates aimed at regulating water flow. He expects that future climate impacts will exacerbate the current situation in the wetland, affecting the fisheries that the local community relies on. 

Lung Ngoc Hoang has a special meaning to my family and our community because it is central in our childhood memories and continues to provide essential resources for local people. However, after witnessing the increasingly negative changes on the land, I am concerned about its future,” Nguyen confided. After learning that fisheries resources are rapidly decreasing, he decided to pursue a master's degree in fisheries at Can Tho University to research solutions. Nguyen aims to share his knowledge with his community to raise awareness and preserve the ecosystem services provided by the site. 

Facing challenges from the climate change impacts, the burden is on the shoulders of young researchers like Nguyen to find sustainable adaptation solutions and advise local decision-makers. Supported by a small grant from the Mekong WET project, Nguyen participated in a five-day training on climate change vulnerability assessments, alongside the management of the protected area. This training course was held at Can Tho University and included 14 researchers, natural reserve staff, and farmers from the wetland community. The results of the assessment, led by Can Tho University researchers, will guide the sustainable management of the site in the future, leading to a healthier and more resilient wetland.

The Mekong WET Small Grants fund several wetlands projects in the Indo-Burma region. These initiatives are directly answering specific climate threats to wetland ecosystems, species, and communities using Ecosystem-based Adaptation strategies as the main approach.

About MWET

Funded by the International Climate Initiative (IKI) of the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB),  the “Mekong WET: Building Resilience of Wetlands in the Lower Mekong Region” project aims to build climate resilience by harnessing the benefits of wetlands in Cambodia, Lao PDR, Thailand, and Viet Nam.

Mekong WET will help the four countries to address their commitments to the Ramsar Convention, an international treaty for the conservation and sustainable use of wetlands, and to achieve the Aichi Biodiversity Targets.


The Indo-Burma Ramsar Regional Initiative (IBRRI) was jointly developed by the Ramsar National Focal Points of the five countries (Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand, and Viet Nam), and IUCN’s Asia Regional Office, based on specific needs identified in these countries. It was endorsed by the 52nd meeting of the Ramsar Convention Standing Committee in June 2016. The IBRRI aims to support the coordinated implementation of the objectives of the Strategic Plan of the Ramsar Convention. IUCN acts as the Secretariat for the Initiative under the leadership of the Steering Committee, which includes representatives from the five governments and the Ramsar Convention Secretariat as an observer.