national round table
Hanoi, 14 September 2001
Hosted by the Forest Protection Department, Ministry of Agriculture
and Rural Development and IUCN
This first national round table for the review of protected areas and
development in Vietnam brought together some 70 participants including
representatives from the four key government partners, professionals from
protected areas, donor agencies and non-governmental organisations. The
key governmental partners are:
- The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development,
- The Ministry of Planning and Investment,
- The Ministry of Fisheries, and
- The Ministry of Science, Technology and the Environment.
The round table provided an opportunity to familiarise the participants
with the objectives and activities of the review and provide a forum in
which the lessons learned from ten years of protected areas management
and development in Vietnam could be identified and discussed. The agenda
for the meeting included presentations by key stakeholders in protected
areas in Vietnam as shown below. The presentations can be viewed by clicking
on the titles.
- Lessons learned on the establishment and development
of special-use forests in Vietnam in relation to socio-economic development
in the last 10 years
PDF 175 KB
Tran Quoc Bao, Head of Division for Nature Conservation and Environment
Protection, Forest Protection Department, Ministry of Agriculture and
- Protected areas and economic development
PDF 134 KB
Phan Thu Huong, Director of Department of Science, Environment and Education,
Ministry of Planning and Investment
- Protected areas and environmental planning
PDF 65 KB
Tran Lien Phong, Head of Nature Conservation Department, National
- The development of the marine protected areas system
- the Vietnamese experience
PDF 56 KB
Vu Huy Thu, Vice Director of Department for Fisheries Resource Management
and Conservation, Ministry of Fishery
- Key issues and trends in the lower
Mekong River region
Jeremy Carew-Reid, Director of International Centre for Environmental
- Lessons from the global experience in protected
areas planning and management
PDF 149 KB
Kishore Rao, Head of IUCN Asia Regional protected areas programme
- Ba Be National Park and buffer zone management
PDF 123 KB
Nong The Dien, Vice-Director of Ba Be National Park
- Hon Mun Marine Protected Area pilot project
- a case study from Vietnam
PDF 428 KB
Chu Tien Vinh, National Project Director of Hon Mun Marine Protected
Working group sessions provided an opportunity for participants to identify
and discuss key issues, achievements and challenges in relation to protected
areas and socio-economic development and planning. Working groups presented
their findings to a special plenary session. The conclusions below summarise
key ideas that arose.
Key conclusions - The achievements and challenges for protected area
Achievements in the past ten years
- An extensive national network of protected areas has been established
with important benefits for biodiversity, forestry and watersheds. They
have succeeded in slowing the rate of destruction of Vietnam's forests.
- The protected areas network is now being expanded to include wetlands
and marine areas.
- Introduction of zonation-based management planning in proposed marine
protected areas and at the biosphere reserve at Can Gio offer greater
opportunities to engage local stakeholders and allow for various intensities
of natural resource use.
- The Government of Vietnam and national assembly have made a series
of resolutions and decisions that afford greater protection to natural
resources within protected areas
- Protected areas establishment can often improve access to funds from
national programmes for local authorities.
- Awareness of the biodiversity and economic importance of protected
areas has grown, not only among the public, but also among decision-makers
- Protected areas have made a contribution to socio-economic development
through their material and non-material benefits, including tourism.
Where flexible implementation of protected area management guidelines
has been allowed, protected areas can also make important contributions
to local livelihoods.
- Science has benefited through the contribution of protected areas
to education, research and training.
- Vietnam has become a signatory to several important international
conventions such as CITES, the Convention on Biological Diversity, RAMSAR
and the Framework Convention on Climate Change.
Challenges for the future
- The continued expansion of the protected areas system will bring increasing
pressure on over-stretched funding for protected areas.
- The fragmented nature of the protected areas system creates difficulties
for biodiversity conservation and results in high per hectare management
- Institutional arrangements and policies for protected area management
both overlap and leave critical gaps in authority. Thus, there is still
a need to greatly improve the policy, legal and institutional framework
for protected areas.
- The difficulty in linking a management approach based on geographic
areas and sectoral management is still to be overcome.
- The ongoing policy of decentralisation requires a greater level of
clarity on institutional roles than exists at present.
- Ways of diversifying stakeholder representation at local level need
to be identified if different sectors are to engage in protected areas
management and safeguards.
- Undervaluation of the benefits of protected areas has led to a lack
of government investment in the protected areas system.
- Harmonisation of development and conservation benefits within and
surrounding protected areas remains a key challenge.
- Greater flexibility is needed in available funding mechanisms. The
establishment of local environment funds are an option that must be
- Where financial resources are available, it has not always been clear
how to distribute them effectively.
- Free migration of people to protected areas and buffer zones is common,
and significantly adds to pressures on protected areas
- Many of the economic values of protected areas are exploited unsustainably
- for example NTFPs, wildlife and tourism. The challenge is to find
ways of balancing economic values with biodiversity conservation objectives.
- Protected area establishment constrains land use options for the people
living in and around them. These communities are often the poorest and
most disadvantaged in the country with low levels of awareness, education
and access to capital. In these circumstances, local stakeholders have
few alternatives other than to engage in 'illegal' activities within
the boundaries of protected areas. Ways need to be found to engage local
communities more effectively in protected area management.
- Most protected areas are found in remote areas, where lack of infrastructure
and facilities can make both their management, and the 'capture' of
their economic values (e.g. through tourism) difficult.
- Protected area staff in many protected areas have limited capacity
- It is difficult for Vietnam to meet some international commitments,
e.g. its border means it is difficult to control international wildlife
trade through Vietnam as required by CITES.
The results of the round table discussions will be fed into the national
lessons papers being prepared through the review and into drafting of
the national report over the months to come.
Review of protected areas and their role in socio-economic development
in the four countries of the lower Mekong River region
page updated: 21/03/02