Experts from Vietnam and the Republic of Korea (RoK) gathered at a seminar in Hanoi on August 15 to mull over environmental planning and biodiversity preservation, an important part in the process of assessing impacts on the environment.

The event, the fourth of its kind held in Vietnam, was co-organised by the Vietnam Association for Conservation of Nature and Environment (VACNE) and the RoK’s Association of Environmental Impact Assessment.

VACNE Chairman Nguyen Ngoc Sinh said environmental impact assessment, including strategic environmental assessment should be updated on a regular basis in both theory and practice.

Participants touched upon mechanisms, policies and practical experience of Vietnam and the RoK in this field, citing how construction and transport projects impact on the RoK’s environment.

They also considered how to minimise the effects of climate change in the environmental impact assessment of coal mining and seaport projects as well as learnt about safety and environmental management concerning offshore oil and gas activities in Vietnam.

In Vietnam almost all reports featuring environmental impact assessments are yet to take into account risks to biodiversity.

The country ranks 16th in terms of biodiversity in the world and is listed among 12 hubs of plant varieties. However, its acreage of forest, an ecosystem with the highest biodiversity, fell dramatically from 72 percent in 1909 to 28 percent in 1995.

Over the last five decades, Vietnam’s area of mangrove forest has fallen by 80 percent. Nearly 96 percent of the country’s coral reef is in danger of being destroyed.

Illegal hunting, exhaustion of water resources and destruction of ecosystems are also to blame for seriously degrading biodiversity.-VNA