People plant trees in a coastal alluvial ground of Thai Thuy following the ceremony responding to the World Wetlands Day (Photo: VNA)

Thai Binh (VNA) – The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MoNRE) responded to the World Wetlands Day with a ceremony in northern Thai Binh province on February 5, stressing the role of wetlands in disaster risk reduction.

The function in Thuy Xuan commune of Thai Thuy district attracted central and local officials, representatives of international organisations, and residents from 13 coastal communes of Thai Binh.

The World Wetlands Day (February 2) marks the adoption of the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance, also called the Ramsar Convention, in 1971. Vietnam officially became a member of this convention in 1989 and was also the first Southeast Asian nation to commit to conserving and sustainably developing wetlands.

Addressing the ceremony, MoNRE Minister Tran Hong Ha said wetlands have many important functions such as helping to reduce flood, prevent wave, storm and erosion, and maintain biodiversity. 

Vietnam is home to more than 10 million hectare of wetlands which account for some 30 percent of its mainland area. About one-fifth of the country’s population are living in wetland areas and directly depend on wetlands to earn their living.

However, wetlands in Vietnam are under threat from economic activities, especially agriculture, aquaculture and industry. The overexploitation of natural resources and environmental pollution has occurred, he noted.

The minister called on authorities and sectors at all levels, as well as each person, to step up communication activities to raise public awareness. The country needs to build and carry out sustainable wetland conservation and development models that concurrently encourage the involvement of and ensure the interests of local communities, he said.

The official said wetland conservation and exploitation activities should be combined with socio-economic development plans to minimise negative impacts on nature.

Following the ceremony, participants planted trees in an alluvial ground of Thai Thuy.

On December 2, 2014, UNESCO recognised the Red River Delta Biosphere Reserve, which covers the wetlands in the south of the northern coastal region in the Red River Deta provinces of Thai Binh, Nam Dinh and Ninh Binh.

In a Prime Minister decision in 2014, the coastal river mouth area in Thai Thuy district is also slated to become a wetland nature reserve.-VNA