Việt Nam is recognized as the country of high biodiversity in the world. Biodiversity has made a great contribution to ensuring food security and people's livelihood; maintaining genetic resources of livestock and crops; providing construction materials, fuel and pharmaceutical sources; creating natural landscapes; being the source of many good customs and habits of the Vietnamese people.
The social-economic development, population growth and climate change has put a great pressure on biodiversity in Việt Nam. Recognizing the importance of biodiversity, in recent years, the state management of biodiversity conservation has been achieved encouraging results such as improvement of the legal system; strengthen inspection and supervision; promotion of international cooperation on biodiversity conservation.
The legal system on biodiversity has been gradually improved
Currently, 25 documents have been developed and issued directly guiding the implementation of the Law on Biodiversity (8 decrees of the Government; 4 decisions of the Prime Minister (PM); 1 directive of the PM and 12 circulars). In 2020, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MONRE) has developed the Law on Environmental Protection (amended), submitted to the National Assembly for approval, in which the content of nature conservation and biodiversity has been mentioned in Chapter II of regulations on the protection of natural resources, environmental components, natural heritage and integrated in a number of other provisions.
Biodiversity conservation planning is implemented. Decision No. 45/QD-TTg of the PM approving the National Biodiversity Conservation Master Plan to 2020, with a vision to 2030, has arranged the system of existing protected areas and proposed to gradually establish and put into operation new conservation zones; review and upgrade the system of biodiversity conservation facilities; propose a new system of biodiversity corridors. By the end of 2019, there were 23 approved biodiversity conservation plannings at the provincial and central levels. There are 11 localities that have developed biodiversity conservation planning but have not yet been approved. In the process of reviewing and assessing conservation needs, 23 provinces have planned to add new planning objects (44 protected areas, 37 biodiversity conservation facilities and 15 biodiversity corridors). The integration of biodiversity conservation into provincial land use planning is also piloted in Lạng Sơn and Sơn La provinces. At the beginning of 2020, the PM approved the task of making a national master plan for biodiversity conservation in the period of 2021 - 2030, with a vision to 2050.
The system of protected areas and areas with international titles was established and consolidated
The number of protected areas and wetlands of international importance (Ramsar sites) in our country continues to increase. As of 2019, the whole country has 172 protected areas with a total area of 2,493,843.67 ha (an increase of 6 conservation areas compared to 2015 with a total additional area of 66,693.97 ha) including 33 national parks; 65 nature reserves; 18 species and habitat conservation areas; 56 landscape protection zones; 9 areas are recognized as world biosphere reserves. In the period 2016 - 2020, to establish 1 new national park, 2 wetland protected areas, 2 species and habitat protected areas, 2 nature reserves, 2 Ramsar sites, 5 ASEAN Heritage Parks; established 3 biodiversity corridors at provincial level with a total area of 521,878.28 ha connecting biodiversity in the provinces of Quảng Trị, Quảng Nam and Thừa Thiên - Huế. From 2016 to 2020, 10 marine protected areas have been established with a total area of 187,810.93 ha, accounting for 0.19% of Vietnam's sea area.
Control the trade and consumption of endangered wild animals and release of invasive alien species
In the past time, the MONRE has promptly guided and directed the strengthening of control over the import and trade of freshwater lobsters; develop and submit the PM's Draft Directive on invasive alien species. The management of endangered wild species has always been strengthened, with special attention paid to the implementation of the PM's Directives on this content. In 2020, the Ministry will develop and submit to the PM for promulgation a Directive on a number of urgent solutions to wildlife management in the new situation. The list of endangered, precious and rare species prioritized for protection is updated and supplemented. On February 14th, 2020, in the context of the COVID-19 epidemic, the MONRE issued Official Letter No. 679/BTNMT-TCMT to Ministries, Ministeriallevel agencies, Governmental agencies, people's committees of provinces and cities on strengthening wildlife management and controlling illegal captive breeding, trade and consumption. In addition, the MONRE continues to organize the implementation of the conservation program of endangered and rare species prioritized for protection approved by the PM (elephants, tigers, primates, turtles) and develop conservation program for species on the list of endangered precious and rare species prioritized for protection. Ministries, sectors and localities have taken drastic and more active actions in controlling the illegal hunting, trading, consumption and captive breeding of endangered species; Many activities have been carried out to conserve wildlife populations in the wild. In addition, the Ministry also guides provinces to establish biodiversity conservation facilities. Up to now, there have been 7 biodiversity conservation facilities granted certificates of establishment by the Provincial People's Committee in accordance with the provisions of the Law on Biodiversity. Wildlife population monitoring programs are implemented in the localities. Signing agreements with international organizations on enhancing cooperation in conservation of endangered, precious and rare species; request Ministries, branches and localities to strengthen wildlife management and control illegal captive breeding, trading and consumption. Develop documents on management of invasive alien species, wild species, migratory birds, flight ways of migratory birds.
Implement the program on conservation and sustainable use of genetic resources
Currently, in the country, a network of agencies has been formed, including a number of focal units and 68 units belonging to 6 Ministries/sectors participating in the implementation of the tasks of the Program on conservation and sustainable use of plant, animal and microorganisms genetic resources. The collection, storage and conservation of genetic resources is carried out every year and has increased significantly. In 2020, a total of 88,968 genetic resources were collected, an increase of 3.12 times compared to 2010. Ministries and sectors have issued 10 licenses to access genetic resources, of which, MONRE has granted 2 licenses to access genetic resources for commercial purposes, commercial product development and 6 licenses for non-commercial purposes; The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) issued 2 licenses for commercial purposes, commercial product development; issued more than 72 decisions permitting the bringing of genetic resources abroad for non-commercial study and research purposes.
Restoration and development of green tree ecosystems
At the 10th session of the 14th National Assembly, the PM proposed an initiative to plant 1 billion new trees in the next 5 years, including urban trees. The MARD and the MONRE have developed a project on restoration and development of green tree ecosystems in order to respond to the emergency situation of climate change and environmental pollution, ensuring sustainable development of the country, at the same time, implement specific activities, including the application of artificial intelligence technology to build digital maps to provide specific locations and instructions on plants for the convenience of participating organizations and individuals. Ministries, branches, localities, organizations and individuals in society have actively responded to and implemented tree planting activities and have initially formed a new lifestyle for agencies, organizations, families and individuals. people in society.
Building and developing a database (database) of biodiversity, digitizing the management of natural heritage is interested and promoted, towards the digitization of management on biodiversity conservation, in line with the eGovernment of natural resources and environment sector. The e-news on natural resources and natural heritage introduces and promotes the beauty, value and potential of Vietnam's natural landscape and biodiversity, connecting with Ministries, branches, localities and related agencies is under construction. Continue to upgrade and operate the National Biodiversity Database to serve the management and conservation of biodiversity. Currently, MONRE is developing a scheme to inventory and build a biodiversity database, which is expected to be submitted to the PM for promulgation in the third quarter of 2021. At the same time, systematically develop a set of technical guidelines on inventory, monitoring, reporting, monitor-ing the status and evolution of biodiversity, serving the management and policy making on nature conservation and biodiversity.
International cooperation in biodiversity conservation is prioritized for implementation by MONRE. The Ministry has well performed its role as the focal point for implementing international commitments on biodiversity, expanding partners, mobilizing resources to support the implementation of activities in the fields of species conservation, genetic resource management and wetland management, management of biosphere reserve, ASEAN heritage site, initiative to establish biodiversity corridor... In 2019, MONRE prepared the 4th National Report on the implementation of the Cartagena Protocol on the implementation of the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety; Develop the 6th National Report on Biodiversity and submit it to the Secretariat of the Convention on Biodiversity; Report on the implementation of the Ramsar Convention at the request of the Ramsar Secretariat (2020). Besides, many international cooperation projects on nature conservation and biodiversity have been implemented effectively.
Controlling impacts from socio-economic development activities on biodiversity, especially impacts from development projects through good implementation of strategic environmental assessment (SEA) and environmental impact assessment (EIA): The content of impact assessment on biodiversity is focused on SEA, EIA. Most of the EIA councils of development projects that may affect biodiversity are organized by MONRE with the participation of biodiversity experts and representatives of agencies in charge 11of managing nature conservation and biodiversity. Thereby, it is required to assess the current status of biodiversity; the project's impacts on biodiversity; implement measures and plans to mitigate adverse impacts on the environment and biodiversity. However, the requirements for management, climate change, EIA and SEA for natural areas need to be prioritized for protection, especially internationally recognized areas such as biosphere reserve. Guiding and inspecting the implementation of the Law on Biodiversity. Annually, MONRE has inspected and evaluated the implementation of legal documents related to biodiversity and promptly guided the implementation of biodiversity conservation at the provincial level, focusing on implementation contents of Law on Biodiversity, National Strategy on Biodiversity to 2020, vision to 2030; wetland conservation, management of access to genetic resources and benefit sharing…; regularly coordinate with other relevant agencies such as the MARD, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Science and Technology to handle hot issues in biodiversity management such as forest fire prevention, species control invasive aliens, wildlife protection...
Propaganda, dissemination and guidance on the implementation of legal regulations on nature conservation and biodiversity have been deployed nationwide. Every year, according to the guidance of the Convention on Biodiversity, MONRE issues an official letter guiding the implementation of activities to celebrate the International Day of Biodiversity according to internationally selected themes. Propaganda documents and instructions are implemented attentively. Television programs introducing Vietnam's protected areas and biodiversity and biodiversity conservation management are also shown on national television channels and local channels to all regions of the country. Many training materials, training on biodiversity, biosecurity; Protection and rational use of biodiversity resources have been compiled and sent to relevant agencies, departments.
The work of nature conservation and biodiversity has had many positive changes, with efforts and attention from the central to local levels; mechanisms and policies have been implemented synchronously and are gradually being perfected. However, biodiversity shows signs of continuing to decline, ecological balance is at risk of being affected by the impact of development pressure and global climate change.
Biodiversity continues to be degraded ecological balance is at risk of being affected. The size, quality and diversity of natural ecosystems continue to decline; the establishment of new protected areas and expansion of protected areas is still slow; wildlife species continue to decline; there are still risks from invasive alien organisms and risks from genetically modified organisms. The situation of forest fires and deforestation has increased, causing serious damage to forest areas and vegetation cover.
Natural ecosystems are reducing in area due to conversion of land use purposes. There are only a few primary forests left, divided and isolated into small areas, scattered in some areas such as the Central Highlands and the Northwest, so it is difficult to have a chance to fully recover. Cutting down natural forests, converting land and water surface making habitats of wild animals has been reduced or lost, especially for large-sized species such as tigers, elephants or migratory species such as birds, fish species. In the period 2017 - 2019, there were 3,499 projects with 170,504 hectares of forest being converted to other purposes.
The situation of violations of the law on biodiversity and forest protection continues to be at a high level: From the beginning of 2017 to March 2019, the customs authority chaired and coordinated to detect and arrest 87 cases of exploitation violations, trading in endangered wildlife, in which many large-scale violations were detected such as the seizure of more than 1.8 tons of ivory and more than 6.3 tons of pangolin scales at Tiên Sa port, Đà Nẵng; 2.8 tons of pangolin scales and 600 kg of ivory on January 31st, 2019; Quảng Ninh Province: handle 40 criminal cases out of a total of 93 cases detected and arrested; Quảng Trị Province, from 2015 to now, has handled 2 cases/44 violations. The number of violations of the Law on Forest Protection and development in the period 2016 - 2020 occurred 73,834 cases, an average of 14,667 cases/ year. Damaged forest area is 11,661ha; In 2019, the forest area damaged by illegal deforestation was 578 hectares, reduced 10 hectares (2%) compared to 2018; There were 292 forest fires (an increase of 117 cases, equivalent to 67% compared to 2018), the damaged forest area was 1,997 hectares of forests of all kinds, an increase of 1,649 hectares over the same period in 2018.
Ecosystems of rivers, lakes and lagoons are also being over-exploited, under heavy pressure from large infrastructure development projects such as blocking dams to serve irrigation and hydropower needs, leading to environmental loss. survival of many aquatic species and degrade ecological functions. Rivers and lagoons have been changed, leading to loss of water regulation function, causing erosion, salinization, depletion of flows... affecting the lives of people and many animal species. Marine ecosystems such as mangroves, coral reefs, seagrasses and biodiversity are being degraded and reduced in area. With the current situation of hunting, trading and consuming wild plants and animals, the number of endangered, precious and rare species under threat has increased.
ORIENTATION OF BIODIVERSITY CONSERVATION IN THE COMING TIME AND PROPOSE SOLUTIONS
With the pressure of development and the impact of climate change taking place more and more fiercely globally, the risk of biodiversity loss and degradation has caused serious consequences for the sustainable development of the country. In the current context, enhancing the effectiveness of nature conservation and biodiversity in Việt Nam is one of the national urgent tasks.
To enhance the effectiveness of biodiversity conservation, some orientations in the coming time need to be prioritized to implement the following contents:
- Promote the implementation and completion of legal documents on biodiversity management, guiding documents for the implementation of the Law on Environmental Protection (amended) after being promulgated (for contents on biodiversity); Develop a project to amend the Biodiversity Law; develop a National Strategy on Biodiversity to 2025, with a vision to 2050; develop a national plan for biodiversity conservation in the period of 2021-2030, with a vision to 2050; raise awareness and responsibility of sectors, levels and communities in nature conservation and biodiversity nationwide; to unify the system of protected areas nationwide; mobilize the participation of the whole society in the work of nature conservation and biodiversity conservation;
- Developing and implementing the project of ecosystem restoration; implementing the National Action Plan on conservation and sustainable use of wetlands; promote the establishment of conservation areas according to the biodiversity conservation planning; Implement the project of inventorying and building a biodiversity database to build and operate the national biodiversity database and the information website on natural heritage and biodiversity, connecting with the locality. Piloting the survey, assessment, monitoring and monitoring of biodiversity according to the ecosystem; propose to study the mechanism of payment for ecosystem services in the Mekong River Basin…;
- Continue to promote zoning for conservation and protection of natural landscapes and biodiversity in accordance with the legislation on climate change, biodiversity and other relevant laws; strengthening the management capacity of protected areas and natural heritages; biodiversity conservation facilities; develop a policy and legal framework for conservation and protection of biodiversity corridors and areas of high biodiversity; protect and preserve the ecological value of nature and the natural environment;
- Develop and propose some models for conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity and pilot model of mechanism for accessing genetic resources and sharing benefits from genetic resources and traditional knowledge about genetic resources; biosafety control and management mechanism for genetically modified organisms, genetic specimens and genetically modified organisms products; biodiversity assessment, biodiversity compensation, biodiversity impact assessment in socio-economic development activities... Building and piloting biodiversity conservation facilities;
- Strengthening international cooperation in nature conservation and biodiversity to mobilize resources for nature conservation and biodiversity. - Promote inspection of biodiversity conservation management and communication to raise awareness on nature conservation and biodiversity.
In order to continue to effectively implement biodiversity conservation goals from the perspective of sustainable development, some solutions are proposed as follows:
- Consolidate the organizational apparatus and strengthen human resources for state management of nature conservation and biodiversity at Central and local levels; focus on strengthening the organizational system of agencies performing the task of biodiversity conservation management, independent from the agencies managing the exploitation and use to increase control measures over the exploitation and use of natural resources level, strengthen the coordination between Ministries and sectors, between Central and local levels in biodiversity management;
- Focus on allocating and building human resources and funding commensurate with the assigned tasks at central and local levels; capacity building for biodiversity conservation and management agencies; prioritize allocating resources (human and financial) to carry out biodiversity conservation activities in the locality;
- Increase budget expenditures for environmental protection, including expenditures for biodiversity conservation to meet the requirements of practice; consider breakthrough solutions in terms of resources for environmental protection to meet the requirements of the mission, keep up with the rapid increase in scale, the increasingly complex evolution of environmental problems, in line with the increasing trend in strengthening environmental management in the region and in the world;
- Strengthen the supervision and direction of competent authorities in the implementation of solutions to solve and handle existing problems of the conservation of nature and biodiversity.
DR. NGUYỄN XUÂN DŨNG
MSC. ĐẶNG THÙY VÂN
Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Agency
Vietnam Environment Administration (VEA)
(Source: Vietnam Environment Administration Magazine, English Edition II - 2021)