Strengthening management effectiveness of protected areas in Vietnam

Update: 12/06/2018
The project “Removing Barriers Hindering Protected Area Management Effectiveness in Viet Nam” (PA Project) was implemented by the Vietnam Biodiversity Conservation Agency (now is Department of Nature and Biodiversity Conservation), under the supervision of the Vietnam Environment Administration, Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MONRE) for the period of 2011 - 2015.

Removing Barriers Hindering Biodiversity Conservation Management

After 5 years of implementation, the project achieved certain results contributing to overcome some current barriers in management of biodiversity conservation in Vietnam.

The overall objective is to "ensure sustainable financing for the protected areas to conserve biodiversity which has global importance."

The project identified key barriers to enhancing the systematic management effectiveness of the protected areas. It can be divided into four groups: (1) Lack of a comprehensive and unified legal and policy framework that supports the provision of sustainable financing to the protected areas; (2) Lack of clear regulations on functions, powers, institutions as well as procedures for financial management of the protected areas; (3) Lack of knowledge about sustainable financing options and lack of information as well as mechanisms for sharing information on biodiversity status and protected areas. To overcome these barriers, 4 corresponding outcomes of the project have been designed.

During 5 years of implementation, the PA Project has assisted in developing the scheme as the basis for developing and issuing Joint Circular No. 160/2014/TTLT-BTC-BTNMT on guiding the management, use and settlement of recurrent state budget expenditures for the implementation of tasks and projects according to the National Strategy on Biodiversity up to 2020, Vision to 2030, aiming to guide the use of the state budget for biodiversity conservation management activities.

The project has also developed, piloted and submitted to Director General of Vietnam Environment Administration (VEA) for promulgation the Guideline on for developing biodiversity planning at different government levels (central, provincial, and district/city). This guideline has been applying in cities and provinces.

In addition, the project has supported studies and review of amendments to some articles of the Law on Biodiversity. The project coordinated with the National Assembly's Committee for Science, Technology, and Environment in organizing working programs with localities as well as organizing workshops on reviewing the implementation of policies and legislation on biodiversity.

Regarding institutional capacity building, the project supported the signing ceremony of a collaborative program between Vietnam Environment Administration (VEA) and Vietnam Forestry Administration (VNFOREST) in terms of nature and biodiversity conservation. It aims to create a unity, consensus and more effective cooperation between the two focal agencies of Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MONRE) and Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) in biodiversity aspect.

During implementing the project, MONRE and MARD organized 35 training courses on biodiversity conservation management knowledge and skills for more than 850 managerial staffs from central and local agencies and the protected area’s staffs. Besides, five TOT training courses (Training of Trainers) were held to ensure the sustainability of the training. In addition, the training materials will be integrated into the graduate teaching program of Centre for Natural Resources and Environmental Studies under Hanoi National University as well as the training programs, awareness rising of the MARD and MONRE.

In addition, the project also proposed the criteria for assessing the protected area’s staffs in association with the management activities, biodiversity conservation and drafting circular promulgating professional criteria for specialized conservation’s civil servants and officers.

Supporting to increase the revenue of national parks

The project was also brought an effective financial mechanism that will increase the protected area’s revenue as an important factor in the management of biodiversity conservation. The pilot project on financial mechanism to increase revenue at 3 demonstration sites is Cat Ba, Bidoup - Nui Ba and Xuan Thuy national parks.

Cat Ba National Park

In order to increase revenue for Cat Ba National Park, the PA project has supported the park management board to set up a fee adjustment scheme and the scheme to lease tourism development services in the national park. The fee adjustment scheme was approved by the People's Committee of Hai Phong city in Decision No. 1780/2014/QD-UBND dated 15 August 2014, with visiting fee at Cat Ba National Park increased from 20,000 VND to 40,000 VND per route. It is estimated that the new fees will increase by 1.2 billion VND a year.

In addition, the project also supported Cat Ba National Park to introduce and expand tourism service to increase revenue through the completion of unique tourism routes in the national park; design guidelines and interpretations on forest and sea ecotourism routes in the national park; develop potential promotional leaflets and invite environmental service providers to Cat Ba National Park; develop ecotourism guidelines and leaflets on eco-tourism of Cat Ba National Park; Provide video/films to introduce about ecotourism in both Vietnamese and English subtitles; upgrade website of the park to enhance the introduction and promotion of tourism services.

In order to build a sustainable financial mechanism from ecosystem services in Cat Ba National Park, it is necessary to develop a regulation to coordinate the management of tourism activities between the park and the local authorities. This helps to ensure a closed and unified coordination between the park and related functional units. Therefore, this mechanism has been developed to identify the parties responsible for coordinating the management of tourism services. Local authorities, relevant departments, and Cat Ba National Park have signed commitments.

Bidoup-Nui Ba National Park is one of the locations deploying the program on payment for forest environmental services. However, the area managed by the park has not received payment for services. Hence, the project supported the park management board to develop a scheme for increasing revenue and use of additional revenue from some ecosystem services to submit to the provincial People's Committee for approval. In November 2014, Decision No. 2393/QD-UBND, Lam Dong People's Committee has allowed Bidoup-Nui Ba National Park to have additional revenues from forest environmental services, visiting fees, organizations and individuals renting or leasing forests, scientific research activities and ecological services activities. It’s estimated that by implementing this decision, the park’s revenue will increase about 3 billion VND per year. In addition, in order to ensure sustainability once implementing the Decision, the project also supported the park a number of technical activities such as management and business plans development, forest patrol plans and regulations, leaflets introducing biodiversity, tourist routes and sites, and tourist services. Conference on tourism industry and ecotourism marketing for Bidoup Nui Ba National Park was successfully implemented with the participation of 82 delegates in and outside the province.

The project supported Xuan Thuy National Park to increase revenue and share revenues from water surface rental activities for extensive clam farming. Nam Dinh Provincial People's Committee has approved the Pilot Project for co-management of sustainable extensive clam aquaculture in Con Lu ecological rehabilitation zone following Decision No. 119/QD-UBND dated 23 January 2015.

It is important to balance conservation and development, so the project supported the park to conduct the detailed assessment of the current status of the natural and socio-economic conditions in the proposed clam culture area. At the same time, it would be the basis for the planning of clam culture area, ensuring harmonization of economic development and biodiversity conservation objectives. In addition, technical guidelines have been developed as the guideline for sustainable clam culture, the guidance document for model and environmental monitoring and the guideline for smart application of wetlands. This helped to raise awareness and supplement knowledge and techniques for the community.

In terms of awareness and information database, currently, due to information system and the report sharing national data on biodiversity is weak; the information is almost not updated and shared. To help overcome this situation, the project supported development of guidelines for monitoring biodiversity and preparation of biodiversity status reports of the protected areas. These guidelines were applied in Xuan Thuy National Park.

The project has developed an awareness-raising program on biodiversity and sustainable consumption of biodiversity resources as well as conducted some awareness-raising activities in Xuan Thuy and Bidoup - Nui Ba national parks.

Xuan Phuong

Source: MONRE