UNIQUE forestry and land use GmbH (The Federal Republic of Germany) and the Institute of Resources and Environment (IREN) of Hue University (The Socialist Republic of Vietnam) successfully facilitated two of four kickoff workshops for a new International Climate Initiative - IKI (The Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety - BMUB) funded project in Vietnam – in Thua Thien Hué province on 29 August and in Hanoi on 6 September 2018. The project “Ecosystem-based Adaptation in the North Central Coast of Vietnam: Restoration and Co-management of Degraded Dunes and Mangroves” has a projected life time from April 2018 until March 2022. It will increase the resilience and adaptive capacity of local communities in the three provinces Thua Thien Hue, Quang Tri and Quang Binh from severe typhoons.
So far, most coastal protection measures in Vietnam focus on the deltas of the Mekong and the Red River in the north, leaving a large gap in the vulnerable region of North Central Coast of Vietnam where many severe typhoons make landfall. Without a stable protective forest cover they can break the dunes, and thus threaten the livelihoods of the poor and highly vulnerable local population which depends on fishing and subsistence agriculture. The project aims at demonstrating the technical feasibility of specific EbA solutions using native and endemic tree species for restoring the protective functions of degraded dunes and estuaries in the region where about 230,000 ha of sandy coastal areas and dunes exist in this region in Vietnam.
Degraded dune with Casurina shrubs in Thua Thien Hué province (© UNIQUE forestry and land use GmbH)
Much scientific knowledge on the unique and extreme habitats of Vietnam’s coasts has been gathered by Hue University during the last years. A total of 314 native tree species has been identified, but “proof-of-concept” for restoration and up-scaling remain outstanding challenges and will be tackled by the project. The proposed restoration approach is cost-effective and many of the project’s tree species are classified by IUCN as endangered. The project measures include the planting of 450 ha of pilot sites on sandy coastal areas, and 50 ha of mangroves in the estuaries with diverse actors and selected local communities.
A rare intact remnant of the highly diverse natural coastal forest in Quang Tri province (© Le Thai Hung, Hue University)
Implementation will take place in an integrated co-management approach and it is expected that these pilot sites will serve as blueprints for scaling up to the landscape level. Thereby, it will effectively reduce the vulnerability of the local population living in rural areas behind the dunes, strengthen their livelihoods and provide significant co-benefits for biodiversity. The measures will also benefit provincial and national authorities and other actors promoting EbA.
The dunes in Thua Thien Hué province are crucial for the provision of water used by the rural population for agriculture (© Dr. Ho Dac Thai Hoang, IREN)
The kickoff workshops confirmed the need for EbA in the region and the innovative character of the project. Participants attended the workshops were from key implementing organizations and different international and national agencies who are concerning climate changes issues, such as JICA, IUCN, GIZ, KfW, SNV, PanNature, VietNature, The German Embassy in Vietnam, VISTIP (Ministry of Science and Technology), Ministry of Planning and Investment and DARD of the project provinces. Especially, at Hanoi workshop there was a presentation made by Ms. Diji Chandrasekharan Behr, Director of the recently approved Forest Sector Modernization and Coastal Resilience Enhancement Project of the World Bank, an IDA loan of US$ 150 Million, plus US$ 30 Million of government funding for technical assistance. This financial cooperation project seeks to accomplish similar targets and three of its eight provinces overlap with the IKI project, leaving considerable opportunities for close cooperation and successful implementation of an EbA approach with considerable synergies for biodiversity conservation.
In both events, lively discussions circled around the technical challenges – in particular seedling production, needs and integration of the local communities in the implementation to ensure sustainability of the project and the difficulties of developing business models. It was emphasized that monitoring is an important aspect and the project should avoid stepping into the “boutique trap” – i.e. to pilot a perfect approach that cannot be replicated on landscape level. The project will closely coordinate and cooperate with the World Bank, GIZ, IUCN, SNV and other institutions to assess institutional and financial options for upscaling and to tap synergies. UNIQUE and IREN will also develop and implement various dissemination measures to further promote the concept within and beyond (workshops, conferences and publications).
Some pictures illustrated the IKI Project Kickoff Meeting in Hanoi on 6 September 2018:
Mr. Jörg Rüger, Representative of Germany Embassy in Hanoi, made the Opening Remark
Dr. Till Pittorius, Representative of UNIQUE in Asia presented the project
Dr. Ho Dac Thai Hoang, Director of IREN (Hue University) shared about the idea and starting point of CFR
Ms Diji Chandrasekharan Behr, Director of the Forest Sector Modernization and Coastal Resilience Enhancement Project of the World Bank, introduced about the project
Mrs. Bui Thi Huy Hop, Deputy Director of Center for Vietnam Science and Technology Internationalization Promotion – VISTIP (Ministry of Sicence and Technology), made comments during the discussion section
Mr. Nguyen Viet Dung, Representative from PanNature, raised questions during the discussion section