Wetland conservation in Vietnam manifests commitment towards the ecology

The Non-Aligned Movement has been vocal in its support for protecting the environment and biodiversity across the globe. Ever since the foundation of the bloc, the Member States have been working to tackle the issue of global warming, climate change and environmental degradation on one hand and preserving the ecology on the other hand. Vietnam, following the idiosyncrasies of the Non-Aligned Movement, has been working in the direction to protect its diverse ecology and biodiversity, the chief priority being the conservation of the country’s existing wetlands along with establishing new wetlands.

The wetlands in Vietnam are famed for the diversity they inhabit a range of resources, biodiversity and functions. The importance of wetlands is not just limited to its ecological impact but trespass the ecological borders to enter the domain of social, economic, historical and cultural values as these wetlands play a significant role in the lives of the local population of Vietnam and contribute to the socio-economic development of the nation.
Vietnam joined the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands in 1989 as the 50th State Member. Vietnam follows the definition of wetlands stated in Article 1 of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands (Appendix A), that states, “Wetlands are areas of marsh, fen, peatland or water, whether natural or artificial, permanent or temporary, with water that is static or flowing, fresh, brackish or salt, including areas of marine water the depth of which at low tide does not exceed six metres”.

To match the objectives of the Ramsar Convention along with establishing its commitment towards its more than 12 million hectares of wetlands, Vietnam, in the past few decades, has initiated a great number of efforts relating to research, record, and development of tools and techniques for the conservation, utilisation and management of its wetlands. Of the many initiatives of the country, the successful establishment of two wetland conservation areas in Thai Thuy in Thai Binh province and Tam Giang-Cau Hai Lagoon in Thua Thien Hue province, speaks volume about Vietnam’s commitment towards its wetland conservation initiatives.

Vietnam under Decision No.495/QD-UBND dated February 20, 2020 of the Provincial People’s Committee of Thua Thien Hue has established the Tam Giang-Cau Hai Wetland Protected Area. It is established under the support framework of the project Conservation of Critical Wetland Protected Areas and Linked Landscapes (2015-2020) funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and the UN Development Programme (UNDP). The project is owned by the Institute of Strategy and Policy on Natural Resources and Environment, while it will be managed by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment.

On the occasion of the World Environment Day, celebrated on June 5, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, the UNDP and the Provincial People’s Committee of Thua Thien Hue co-organized the event launching the establishment of Tam Giang-Cau Hai Wetland Protected Area in Quang Thai Commune, Quang Dien District, Thua Thien Hue Province.
The Tam Giang-Cau Hai Wetland Nature Reserve covers more than 2,000 hectares of land, of which the strictly protected area is more than 799 hectares, while the ecological rehabilitation area is over 1,242 hectares and the remaining 29.5 hectares has been categorised as service and administrative area. The recently established nature reserve will aid in the protection of habitats, ecological systems and biodiversity of the Tam Giang-Cau Hai Lagoon.

Recently, Vietnam has also established a wetland nature reserve in Thai Thuy district in northern Thai Binh province on June 24. Spread across 6,560 hectares of land, the Thai Thuy Wetland Nature Reserve is distributed into sectors of which 1,500 hectares is strictly protected, 4,800 hectares are set aside for ecological recovery and the remaining area is left for administrative services. It is important to note that at an earlier stage, the Thai Thuy Wetland Protected Area was also established under Decision No.2514/QD-UBND dated September 6, 2019 of the Thai Binh Provincial People’s Committee.

The richness of its biodiversity has attached the Thai Thuy Wetland Protected Area with national and international importance and the establishment of the Thai Thuy Wetland Nature Reserve also showcases the commitment of the local authorities towards protecting the environment and preserving the wetland ecosystems. Vietnam’s establishment of the two wetland conservation areas – Thai Thuy and Tam Giang-Cau Hai contributes immensely to the biodiversity conservation, management and sustainable development of wetlands in the country. It is a move towards sustainable socio-economic development of the region in particular and the nation in general. It not only addresses the issue of climate change but will also ensure sustainable progress to be attained along the socio-economic line.

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