Education for marine and coastal wetlands -- workshop 2006

12/09/2006

International Workshop on Marine and Coastal Wetlands: Education Network, Capacity Building and Training

Nha Trang. Khanh Hoa, Vietnam
30th August to 1st September 2006

Born of a shared desire to promote the conservation of marine and coastal wetland ecosystems and enhance environmental education and public awareness about the importance of these ecosystems, this three-day workshop was convened by the Vietnam Ministry of Fisheries (MOFI) and the World Conservation Union (IUCN). It aimed to bring together wetland practitioners from across the country and region and to discuss the possible creation of a network of marine and coastal wetland educators. Such a network would serve to facilitate the regular exchange of information and sharing of experiences between wetland educators in Vietnam, and would provide a means to establish linkages with wetland education networks across the region and globally.

Nearly 100 participants from Vietnam, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, India, Bangladesh, Nepal, and the Philippines came together in the beautiful seaside town of Nha Trang, across from the stunningly beautiful Hon Mun Marine Protected Area (MPA) - Vietnam's first MPA. Attendees included representatives from the Vietnam Ministry of Fisheries (MOFI), Vietnam Environment Protection Agency (VEPA), provincial and local government officials, academics from universities across the region, representatives from the World Wide Fund for Nature, Birdlife International, the International Crane Foundation and the World Conservation Union (IUCN), and representatives from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), Royal Netherlands Embassy in Vietnam (RNE), Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), and Danish International Development Agency (Danida).

Workshop outcomes:

Workshop participants strongly supported the idea that education is an integral element of sustainable development that can reach various stakeholder groups and can greatly influence community participation and project success.

Participants also found that education for conservation and sustainable use is more effective when it occurs in collaboration with other organizations.

Vietnamese participants agreed to formally establish a national wetlands education network in order to allow effective exchange of information and ideas.

The education network's Interim Planning Committee members were elected, and plans were made for these representatives to convene in Hanoi in 2007 to finalize the network's structure.

In a separate session held on the second day of the workshop, international participants discussed preparations for the Asian Wetland Symposium, scheduled for early 2008.

The workshop was made possible with financial support from the following organizations:

  • Ramsar Center Japan (RCJ)
  • Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida)
  • Keidanren Nature Conservation Fund (KNCF)
  • Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA)
  • Danish International Development Agency (Danida)
  • Hokkaido River Disaster Prevention and Research Center (HR-DPRC) Foundation

The Mekong Region Water Resources Decision-making: National Policy and Legal Frameworks vis-à-vis World Commission on Dams Strategic Priorities report, published by the World Conservation Union, was launched during the closing ceremony of the workshop. In his launching address, Mr. Duong Thanh An, Director of the International Division of the Vietnam Environment Protection Agency (VEPA), noted that the publication had two objectives: to analyse how current national wetlands and water resources policies for Vietnam and the Mekong Region countries support the priorities of the 2000 World Commission on Dams, and to recommend specific policy changes that would improve management of dam-related areas. This publication was sponsored by the Water and Nature Initiative (WANI) of IUCN and will be available for download in due course at: http://www.iucn.org/themes/wani/.

For all their hard work, participants were rewarded with a field trip to Hon Mun MPA which included a visit to settlements within the MPA, where the communities derive their livelihood from fishing and aquaculture.

For more information on the workshop, please contact: Mr. Bernard O'Callaghan, Programme Coordinator and Acting Country Representative. Tel: +84 4 7261575 ext. 136; Fax: +84 4 7261561; bernard@iucn.org.vn
IUCN Vietnam website: www.iucn.org.vn

-- reported by Rebecca D'Cruz,
Executive Director
Aonyx Environmental

Mr Duong Thanh An speaking at the launch of the new publication

Discussing the creation of a network of wetland educators

Fish cages in the Hon Mun MPA

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