On 17 June 2020, IUCN launched Viet Nam Business for Environment (VB4E) Alliance to strengthen the role of businesses in nature stewardship in Vietnam. Ninety participants from government, NGOs and companies attended for the unveiling of the new initiative in Hanoi. The launch also introduced a new conservation designation known as “Other Effective Area-Based Conservation Measures” (OECMs). OECMs are seen as opportunities to recognize the contribution of businesses and communities to biodiversity conservation through improved management of their own properties.
“This is an exciting opportunity to work with businesses to improve environmental protection. It is the first initiative of its kind that IUCN has developed in Vietnam, and we are optimistic about the future. Instead of having individual bilateral relationships with businesses, we can now work together as a group of like-minded businesses and government and NGO partners” said Jake Brunner, Head of IUCN Indo-Burma and IUCN VIet Nam Country Representative.
VB4E will focus on capacity building, policy advocacy, and building a concept bank. VB4E will match business “supply” with the CSO “demand” for joint projects to address environmental challenges. Projects can cover one or more of eight themes: biodiversity conservation, plastic waste management, sustainable tourism development, marine and coastal conservation, forest landscape restoration, water and wetland conservation, renewable energy, climate change.
Prof. Dr. Nguyen The Chinh, Director General of ISPONRE, congratulated IUCN on creating such a positive vision. Alluding to the environmental change seen in his hometown over recent decades, Dr. Chinh described how important the role is for businesses to ensure environmental protection and appreciated TH Group’s pioneer role in this alliance.
As a founding member of VB4E, TH Group emphasised their commitment to environmental protection. Ms. Le Thi Thanh Thuy, Head of Sustainable Development Coordination of TH Group, spoke of their duty to enforce strong corporate social responsibility around their business practices and gave details of their biodiversity conservation plan in Nghe An Sugar Limited Liability Company, an affiliate of TH Group, in Nghe An Province.
Harry Jonas of the IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas presented the second element of the agenda on OECMs as a new biodiversity conservation designation.
OECM is a conservation designation for areas that achieve the effective in-situ conservation of biodiversity outside of protected areas. Harry outlined how an OECM must meet key conditions such as being outside of a protected area, such as having sustained governance authority and how it must deliver effective in situ conservation in the long term.
Nguyen Duc Tu, Biodiversity Coordinator of IUCN Viet Nam, discussed OECMs in the Viet Nam context: “We have a number of wetland protected areas in forest systems but there is a lot of overlap. OECMs provide us with the opportunity to clearly designate sites of unique identity that need preserving”.
To conclude the event, there was a discussion about how OECMs. Some participants recommended caution when putting OECMs in the legal framework as it is so new, while others argued that OECMs have the potential to stimulate bob-state contributions to biodiversity conservation. Several pointed out the need to ensure quality so that OECMs don’t dilute conservation efforts. IUCN clarified that although the initiative is in its infancy, all steps are being taken to develop the appropriate OECM guidance.
To learn more about Viet Nam Business for Environment please visit: https://www.vb4e.com/en/
To learn more about OECMs, please visit https://www.iucn.org/news/viet-nam/202005/oecms-a-new-conservation-opportunity-viet-nam