World Wetlands Day in Viet Nam
Environment Protection Agency
VIETNAM RESPONDED TO THE WORLD WETLANDS DAY 2007
Pham Dinh Viet Hong, Vietnam Environmental Protection Agency (VEPA)
Wetlands in Vietnam possesses a great diversity of types, resources, biodiversity, functions and important social, economic and cultural values. With an area of more than 10 million hectares, wetlands distribute almost all over ecological regions of the country which not only have a long relation with local communities but play a vital role in people's lives and the country's socio-economic development.
During the two days from 1st to 2nd of February 2007, many provinces and cities of the country have organized a lot of practical activities to respond to the World Wetlands Day (WWD) this year. These activities include propaganda and dissemination of the value and role of wetlands with the emphasis on the significance and importance of local communities; holding workshops, meetings, knowledge contests and exhibition on wetland issues; and hanging banners, panels, propaganda posters, leaflets, and etc.
Quang Ninh, a large coastal province located along Viet Nam's northeastern border, hosted this year's activities in Viet Nam. In Ha Long city of Quang Ninh province, the Ministry of Natural Recourse and Environment (MONRE) cooperated with the Province People Committee who organized the meetings and activities.
On the 1st Feb 07, the knowledge exchanging night about wetlands for the youths was organized with a gift presentation to the three families who were seriously damaged by the recent hail and whirlwind. On February 2, as part of the festivities, Viet Nam's Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MONRE), joined representative of IUCN Viet Nam, and local residents at Bai Chay beach in Ha Long city, Quang Ninh province, for a community cleanup day and fish release. More than 1,000 officers, young people, members of youth union, women, and representatives of businesses of Quang Ninh province, participated in this event. Especially, the participation of youth unions of MONRE, Quang Ninh province, Department of Environmental Protection, DONRE, and Department of Aquatic Resource Protection, etc.
Quang Ninh - the province's UNESCO World Heritage site - is rich in both freshwater wetlands and marine wetlands, affording great economic potential, especially in fishing. Large schools of fish, as well as mussels, squid, sea turtle and lobsters, occupy the waters near Quang Ninh, while oysters and edible seaweed abound along coastline. These products have become an important source of income for local residents, but they are threatened by increasing encroachment and environment pollution upon the wetlands, which cause irreparable damage to the ecosystem.
The organization of the celebration of the WWD this year expressed the Government's and localities' determination to the conservation and sustainable use of Vietnam's wetlands. On the speed delivered on the meeting in Ha Long city on the February 2nd 2007, Doctor Pham Khoi Nguyen - a member of the Central Committee of Communist Party and Vice Minister of MONRE emphasized the important significance of wetlands to Vietnamese. He called sectors, agencies at all level and people to put efforts to implement the basic following tasks:
"- To strengthen education and communication programs on the significance, the role and approaches of sustainable management, exploitation and use of wetlands through mass media and counterpart network in order to transfer typical models, good examples and experience in sustainable wetland conservation and development to people in the whole country.
- To integrate sustainable conservation and development of wetland areas into relevant development plans, programs and projects, which will be considered as indicators for assessment of development solutions; to combine conservation activities with those of poverty reduction in wetland areas.
- To carry out national wetland inventory, wetland evaluation with special regard to biodiversity resources; to carry out zoning and planning of national and international important wetland areas.
- To enhance international cooperation in the field of environmental protection in general and sustainable conservation and development of wetland area in particular; and to use effectively international funding sources for environmental protection"
In addition, the province's World Wetlands Day included a mangrove planting ceremony, a biodiversity exhibition and traditional performances by local people at the Xuan Thuy National Park- the first Ramsar site of Vietnam. More than 300 local children participated in an environmental clean up and took part in a coloring competition, making paper fish to decorate their homes and schools.