Vietnamhas a long coastline of over 3260km, therefore, coastal areas where concentrate more economic activities with high population density are extremely vulnerable areas before climate Change. Resilience and recovery of coastal areas depend on the capacity of communities and the health of marine and coastal ecosystems, of which mangrove forests plays a very important role.
Recently, in Hanoi, the Centre for Marinelife Conservation and Community Development recently held a workshop named “community-based mangroves management in response to climate change”. This is an activity in the framework of the 2013 Action Plan of the memorandum of cooperation, coordination and information sharing on climate change adaptation activities between the Department of Meteorology, Hydrology and Climate Change (under the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment), the Network of Vietnamese non-governmental organizations and climate change and the climate change working group of non-governmental organizations.
The main objective of the workshop is to improve the general understanding of the current situation, as well as ecosystem services related to mangroves in the context of climate change in Vietnam. Thus, the role of the community and stakeholders in the development of a mechanism for management of mangrove forests respond to climate change has been enhanced effectively.
In fact, the mangroves are the place where nurse and develop many aquatic species, provides medicine, fuel and landscapes for tourism. On the other hand, mangroves are shields to protect coastal areas and green lungs absorbing carbon dioxide and regulating temperature and climate. However, at present, the area of mangroves in Vietnam is only about 155.000hectares which declined about 60% in comparison with that of over the past 70 years.
The initial effectiveness of the mangrove forest model
With a lot of effort to protect and develop mangrove forests from communities, mangrove area has been relatively stable over the past 10 years. In some provinces, mangrove forest covers have even increased like in Nam Dinh. The non-governmental organizations working in the field of environmental protection and livelihood development have contributed their great efforts in the success. For example, the models of mangrove forest management in Giao Thuy (Nam Dinh province), Cat Ba (Hai Phong), Can Gio (Ho Chi Minh), Hau Loc (Thanh Hoa). Giao Thuy District which is one of three coastal districts of the Thai Binh province has implemented the mangrove projects which are funded by the Denmark Red Cross since 1997.
To now, after nearly 16 years, mangrove forests have brought into play its role in disaster prevention, the ecological environment improvement, and the “green wall” against wave and helping protect the dyke system, anti-encroachment of the sea. The mangroves help improve the ecological environment and development of many marine species and enrich animals in coastal areas, thus help contribute to socio-economic development. Many international organizations such as UNESCO, FFI, JICA have provided supports or collaborated with the province’s authority agencies and organizations such as the Red Cross, the Farmers’ Association, Women’s Union, Youth Union to raise public awareness and develop projects related to forest planting, care and protection in the coastal localities of Ha Long Bay.
Few community-based mangrove management and development models are supported by non-governmental organizations and institutionalized into local and the Government programs. The mechanism of each model is different, so the sum-up and replication meet difficulty in practice. The non-governmental organizations are eager to share the experience and solve the problems in order to develop the efficiency and scale of the community based mangrove management model.
According to Ms. Ho Thi Yen Thu, representative of Vietnamese Network of Non-governmental Organizations and Climate Change, currently, climate change is one of the biggest challenges for mankind. For Vietnam, this problem becomes extremely urgent. To respond to climate change, it requires the efforts of the government and the people. Therefore, to ensure livelihood and environment for coastal residents, the most importance is the unified direction of community-based mangrove rehabilitation in the long run.