The Vietnam Environment Administration on Jan. 12 officially launched
the largest ever biodiversity conservation project, aiming to establish a
biodiversity corridor in three central provinces of Quang Nam, Quang
Tri and Thua Thien-Hue.
The budget for the eight-year project,
titled Greater Mekong Subregion Biodiversity Conservation Corridors
Project – Vietnam Component, was 34 million USD, of which 30 million USD
came in the form of official development assistance (ODA) loans.
biodiversity corridor, once established, will help restore and maintain
the connectivity of ecosystems in the region and at the same time
create jobs to benefit local communities and foster economic growth.
The project involves some 70,000 residents in 34 communes, most of whom were poor and living in far-flung areas.
Carew Reid, director of the International Centre for Environmental
Management, an independent public interest centre, said work on
biodiversity conservation is traditionally begun only after there has
been a great loss of biodiversity.
He said he noticed that a new
way of thinking had started to arrive in Vietnam, which saw biodiversity
conservation as an essential foundation for economic development as
well as a way to adapt to climate change.
"The world's going to
be watching all these things because this is new world-wide. Vietnam has
been out front thinking and acting on the corridor concept," Reid said.
know it will require difficult decisions but there's no single correct
way to do this. The critical thing is how well we can engage the
economic sector, transport sector and industry sector. Unless we bring
those actors into the corridor and show them the benefits of it, we know
that the corridor is going to be very hard to maintain."
chairman of the Vietnam Association of Zoologists, Professor Dang Huy
Huynh, said the project should keep track of the progress in
quantitative terms. For example, it should follow the loss of
biodiversity at the beginning and the end of the project or the rate of
new jobs generated to make sure such a huge investment will not be
Pham Anh Cuong, director of the Vietnam Environment
Administration's Biodiversity Conservation Agency, said that the
relevant legal documents on the design and management of biodiversity
corridors hasn't been drawn up yet.
"So we hope as part of this
project, we can come up with a legal document stipulating this aspect,
based on the successful experiments of building a corridor in these
three provinces during the 2006-09 period," he said.
his agency is due to start constructing a plan for a national network of
biodiversity corridors this year and should submit it to the Government
He said that apart from design and management
mechanisms, the strong political commitment of each province is vitally
important to the sustainability of this corridor. Asia Development Bank
(ADB) is the lending agency supporting this project. /.