by Hoang Nam
HCM CITY (VNS)— The Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF) launched three projects this month to improve the sustainability of shrimp farming, develop responsible tourism and eco-tourism, and promote low-carbon development.
To cost US$1.5 million, they are funded by the Danish International Development Agency and involve policy makers, the private sector, and civil society at every stage.
The Greater Mekong region in which Viet Nam is situated along with Cambodia, Lao, and Thailand faces immense challenges as the countries try to balance economic development and poverty alleviation with environmental protection.
Each of the WWF projects will support the development of frameworks for sustainable use and management of natural resources.
This includes the implementation of pilot models that improve livelihoods and promote more efficient use of natural resources.
They will also ensure economic gains and that benefits and costs of natural resource use are shared among all stakeholders.
"Aquaculture, energy, and tourism are three of the fastest growing sectors in Viet Nam, all with high risk of negative environmental and social impacts," Jacob Fjalland, the manager of the Greater Mekong programme, WWF-Denmark, said.
"But each of these sectors also has the potential to contribute to a sustainable green economy if they are developed in the right way, and this is what WWF aims to demonstrate and advocate for through this programme," he said.
Viet Nam's plans for the future of the energy sector largely focus on fossil fuels meeting its growing energy demands, though attention has also been paid to renewable energy.
The low carbon development project hopes to increase the attention paid in these plans to sustainable renewable energy by supporting the development of energy policies at national and provincial levels.
It includes the piloting and replication of low carbon and sustainable energy initiatives in the productive activities of households and small- and medium-sized enterprises in strategic sectors in the central province of Thua Thien Hue.
The project will work in close partnership with provincial decision makers, planners, and private enterprises in Thua Thien Hue.
Nationally, the project will work to build the capacity of civil society organisations. The responsible tourism and eco-tourism project aims to provide a clear example of how tourism activities around protected areas can contribute to sustainable incomes for local people, thus reducing the need to exploit natural resources there. The project will work with travel agencies, national parks, and local communities to develop a community-based tourism model in and around Cat Tien and Bidoup Nui Ba National Parks.
By involving the local communities directly, the project has created a sustainable finance scheme where the benefits of using resources return to the locals.
The success of the pilot model will be integrated into national guidelines and will be applied for all protected areas in Viet Nam.
Local shrimp farmers will be educated, with WWF providing training in management practices.
The project aims to ensure that production is in line with shrimp Aquaculture Stewardship Certification standards for responsible production, trade, and investment. —VNS