The Convention on Wetlands (Ramsar Convention, Iran, 1971) is an international treaty with the mission of “conservation and wise use of wetlands through local, regional and national actions and international cooperation to contribute to the achievement of sustainable development goals worldwide”. To date, 171 countries have joined the Convention and more than 2,418 wetlands worldwide, covering an area of more than 254 million hectares, have been recognized and included in the Ramsar List of Wetlands of International Importance (RLWII).
Accordingly, the members of the Ramsar Convention (RC) have the following tasks: Designate at least one wetland for inclusion in the RLWII and maintain the ecological character of this wetland; Wise use of wetlands (incorporating wetland conservation considerations into national land-use planning and encouraging wise use of wetlands); Encourage and strengthen the conservation of wetlands through the establishment of nature reserves on wetlands and the development of strict protection measures for Ramsar sites, wetland reserves of small scales and especially vulnerable; Promote international cooperation on the conservation of wetlands, especially transboundary wetlands, water bodies which share common species and development assistance for wetland projects; Promote communication on wetlands and support the activities of the Convention.
Láng Sen Wetland Reserve with a rich and diverse ecosystem
SOME OUTSTANDING RESULTS IN THE MANAGEMENT OF WETLANDS
Việt Nam is the 50th country in the world and the first in the ASEAN region to officially join the RC since 1989. Over the past time, Việt Nam has implemented many activities on conservation and wise use of wetlands to fulfill its member state responsibilities.
Internalize the RC and perfect the system of documents on wetland management
Việt Nam has been building and perfecting a legal system in accordance with the principles and provisions of the RC, including Decree No. 109/2003/ND-CP dated September 23th, 2003 of the Government on conservation and sustainable development of wetlands. It can be said that this is the first legal document that directly regulates wetland management to implement the RC. Articles of the Decree have been concretized into strategies, policies and action plans of the natural resources and environmental sector and related Ministries, branches and localities nationwide.
Up to now, Việt Nam has 4 laws relating to wetland management such as: Law on Fisheries (2003, 2017); Law on Forest Protection and Development (2004), now the Law on Forestry (2017); Law on Environmental Protection (LEP) (2005, 2014, 2020), Law on Biodiversity (LB) (2008) and many documents guiding the above laws. In particular, the LB in 2008 is the first document to internalize the concept of wetlands in the legal document system of Việt Nam. Article 35 on sustainable development of natural ecosystems in the natural wetlands of the LB, which directly regulates the wetlands and inventory activities and establishes a sustainable development regime for natural wetlands in Việt Nam. On that basis, the wetland classification system has been issued with 26 types of wetlands belonging to three groups of marine and coastal wetlands, inland wetlands and artificial wetlands.
According to the LEP (amended) passed by the National Assembly on November 17th, 2020, the content of important wetlands and wetland ecosystem services for business purposes of tourism, entertainment and aquaculture was included in the Law. In environmental sensitive factors to classify investment projects include important wetland areas and in environmental information include information on important wetlands. In addition, wetland ecosystem services for tourism, entertainment and aquaculture business purposes are among the paid natural ecosystem services.
In response to Vietnam's requirements for wetland management in the face of development pressures and global climate change trends as well as the context of the LB being passed, the Government of Việt Nam has also issued "Decree No. 66/2019/ ND-CP dated July 29th, 2019 on conservation and sustainable use of wetlands" replacing "Decree No. 109/2003/ND-CP dated September 23rd, 2003 on conservation and sustainable development of wetlands", which has codified the requirements of the RC and comprehensively stipulates specific policies on wetland management, wetland conservation areas, Ramsar sites and wetlands. important activities to encourage, invest resources... in conservation and sustainable use of wetlands in Việt Nam.
Directive No. 15/CT-TTg dated June 17th, 2019 of the Prime Minister on the inventory of land, mapping of the current state of land use in 2019, including the content of the inventory of wetlands. Circular No. 27/2018/TT-BTNMT December 14th, 2018 of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MONRE) regulating statistics, land inventory and making the current state of land use maps. Including the form of wetland inventory; Decision No. 1932/ QD-TTg dated December 30th, 2019 of the Prime Minister approving the Project Inventory of land, mapping the current state of land use in 2019, including inventory of wetlands. The MONRE has issued Circular No. 07/2020/TT-BTNMT dated August 31st, 2020 detailing the contents at Point c, Clause 1, Article 31 of Decree No. 66/2019/ ND-CP dated August 31st, 2020. July 29th, 2019 of the Government on conservation and sustainable use of wetlands; The Vietnam Environment Administration (VEA) has also issued guidance on the process and procedures for nomination for recognition of Ramsar site.
Currently, the Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Agency (VEA) is submitting many important documents to provide more specific guidance for the implementation of Decree No. 66/2019/ND-CP, including: National Action Plan on conservation and sustainable use of wetlands in the 2021 - 2030 period; Decision to establish the Vietnam’s Network of Ramsar sites; Decision to announce the list of important wetland areas nationwide.
Strengthen communication and raise community awareness in the management and protection of wetlands
The themes of World Wetland Day, World Biodiversity Day and World Environment Day are annually propagated and disseminated by the MONRE. Especially in 2019, Việt Nam successfully organized major environmental events such as activities to respond to the International Day of Biodiversity in 2019 and the awarding ceremony of recognition of Vietnam's 9th Ramsar site for Vân Long Wetland Nature Reserve (WNR). This event has attracted the wide participation of the local community and Ministries, departments and sectors across the country.
In addition, MONRE has also conducted training to improve wetland management capacity and disseminate new documents on wetland management at Central and local levels. In 2020, establishment announcement events of Thái Thụy Wetland Reserve, Thái Bình Province and Tam Giang - Cầu Hai Wetland Conservation Area, Thừa Thiên - Huế Province were widely propagated through mass media channels and was recognized by the public and voted as one of 10 events of the natural resources and environment sector in 2020. This contributes to promoting the conservation of nature and biodiversity of wetland areas in Thái Bình, Thừa Thiên - Huế provinces in particular and the whole country in general.
Promote the management, conservation and wise use of wetlands
Currently, in Việt Nam, 47 wetland conservation areas have been established and planned and many models of wise use of wetlands with community participation have been deployed in many places across the country. In 2019 - 2020, Việt Nam has established 2 WNRs according to the provisions of the LB (Thái Thụy WNR, Thái Bình (September 6th, 2019); Tam Giang - Cầu Hai WNR, Thừa Thiên - Huế (February 20, 2020).
In addition, environmental protection activities in rivers and coastal areas have been proactively and positively participated by communities across the country, many conservation and wise use of wetlands have been widely deployed nationwide. Community-based models of management or conservation and wise use of wetlands are implemented in many localities, such as environmentally friendly aquaculture, ecological shrimp ponds in the Northern coastal area, coral reef management in Ninh Thuận...
Expand the area and establish a network of wetlands of international importance
Việt Nam has successfully nominated 9 Ramsar sites with a total area of 120,549 ha (Xuân Thủy - Nam Định National Park (NP) (1989); Bàu Sấu in Cát Tiên - Đồng Nai NP (2005); Ba Bể Lake - Bắc Kạn (2011); Tràm Chim - Đồng Tháp (2012); Mũi Cà Mau NP (2013); Côn Đảo NP (2014); Láng Sen Wetland Reserve - Long An (2015); U Minh Thượng NP - Kiên Giang (2016); Vân Long WNR - Ninh Bình (2017). The recognition of Ramsar sites contributes to attracting international and national attention in wetland conservation, and at the same time strengthens the country's priceless human value and natural tourism resources in general and Ramsar sites in particular, create a significant attraction for domestic and foreign tourists, contributing to socio-economic development.
Currently, many localities have actively promoted the implementation of projects to build records for the establishment of the conservation area, which determine the criteria and ability to meet the Ramsar site for future nomination such as: Đồng Rúi, Tiên Yên (Quảng Ninh), Cần Giờ (Hồ Chí Minh City), Đồng Nai Cultural Nature Reserve (Đồng Nai)... At the same time, the network of Ramsar sites in Việt Nam is gradually being established set up and operate operations. The Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Agency has built a website for the Vietnam Ramsar Site Network at https://vran.vn/.
Promote international cooperation in the conservation and wise use of wetlands
Over the years, Việt Nam has mobilized the active support of many international organizations, bilateral and multilateral international partners... in the conservation and sustainable use of wetlands.
Difficulties and challenges in the implementation of the RC
Besides the successes achieved, we are facing many difficulties in the implementation of the RC, including: Effects of climate change leading to saltwater intrusion which impacts on biodiversity and people's livelihood; To harmonize (balance) the relationship between conservation and economic development in wetlands in the face of pressures of socioeconomic development, especially in wetland areas in coastal areas and on land; Limited financial potential for investment in nature conservation and sustainable development in Ramsar sites; Limited human resources (quantity, quality) to carry out the management and conservation of nature in Ramsar sites; Environmental pollution (water source, plastic waste) to Ramsar sites.
STRENGTHEN MANAGEMENT TO ENSURE EFFECTIVE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE RC
In order to ensure the effective implementation of the RC in the near future, in response to the Communication Campaign to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the ratification of the RC, Việt Nam will focus on prioritizing the implementation of measures on the basis of strategic planning of the Convention including:
Completing mechanisms and policies (such as benefit sharing, public-private partnership, integration of wetland management and conservation into national, regional and local plans and plans...) for conservation and sustainable use of wetlands;
Strengthen Law enforcement and secure resources to carry out activities on environmental protection, nature conservation and biodiversity in wetland areas at national level;
Strengthen communication, raise public awareness, train staff working on wetland management at the Central and local levels to meet the needs of wetland conservation and management;
Expanding the Ramsar sites and promoting the operation of the Ramsar Site Network and the National Wetland Working Group to contribute to improving the efficiency of Ramsar sites management and ensuring the maintenance of the ecological characteristics of the wetlands of international importance;
Promote conservation activities and wise use of wetlands through the zoning and establishment of wetland conservation areas, ensuring a mechanism of benefit sharing among wetland stakeholders;
Strengthen cooperation with RC member countries to share experiences, exchange information and learn successful models in wetland management, implementation of the RC as well as mobilizing international resources economic support for the conservation and wise use of wetlands in Việt Nam in the context of global climate change.
DR. DƯƠNG THANH AN - Director
DR. TRẦN NGỌC CƯỜNG
DR. TRẦN THỊ KIM TĨNH
MSC. PHAN THỊ QUỲNH LÊ
Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Agency, VEA