July 19, 2021
AFoCO launches project to conserve biodiversity in Cat Tien National Park, Viet Nam
Following the approval of the 3rd Session Assembly of AFoCO on 28-29 October 2019 and subsequent funding confirmation by the Republic of Korea at the 3rd Donors’ Meeting held on 26 February 2021, the Secretariat organized the technical meeting for the pre-project inception with the Cat Tien National Park of Viet Nam Administration of Forest, to facilitate the arrangements of the project inception. On 8 July 2021, the Asian Forest Cooperation and Organization and the Cat Tien National Park in Viet Nam signed the Memorandum of Understanding for the project entitled “Conservation and development of forest ecosystems biodiversity resources at Cat Tien National Park” over the next 5 years. The ceremony was commemorated by Mr. Ricardo L. Calderon, Executive Director of the AFoCO Secretariat, and Prof. Pham Van Dien, Deputy Director-General of Viet Nam Forestry Administration (VNFOREST). Cat Tien National Park (CTNP) is a national park located in the south of Viet Nam, approximately 150 km north of Ho Chi Minh City. It has an area of about 720 km2. and was established in 1992 based on the area of Nam Cat Tien NR (Dong Nai province). At present, CTNP is under the Viet Nam Administration of Forestry. It is estimated as the reserve of natural resources in Vietnam with lots of rare, specious, and endemic genes of fauna and flora. In 2019, the identified biodiversity of flora and fauna includes 1,615 vascular plant species includes 1,521 species, respectively. In recent years, CTNP has been supported by the Viet Nam Government, local authorities, domestic and international agencies, NGOs, and scientists; local people have better Forest protection regulations awareness. CTNP has been well protected so far. However, biodiversity conservation at the CTNP has been faced with many difficulties and challenges, like illegal logging, hunting, trapping, snaring of wildlife species, conversion of land use for industrial crops in the buffer zone, which cause habitat degradation. At present, due to human impacts and climate change, the biodiversity resources of CTNP are declining. Although CTNP and local authorities have collaborated to help local people to improve their livelihoods, strengthen forest patrolling, and develop a commitment to the forest, illegal activities are still prevalent. At this point, without urgent human intervention, biodiversity resources are expected to be degraded quickly. Our priority is to try our best for biodiversity conservation and development in Cat Tien National Park. This project is aimed at: Improving knowledge, sharing information on the biodiversity of forest ecosystems of the Park for local managers and policymakers; Assessing the climate change and social impacts on Cat Tien National Park biodiversity and integrated management measures, improving management and conservation capacity, and engaging local communities for forest management and protection; and Piloting models of sustainable livelihood improvement for communities in the buffer zones. The objectives of the project are to establish baseline information by mapping the existing biophysical (spatial-temporal), socio-economic condition (before and after the project), and potency of natural resources in the three study sites at the beginning of the project; Mr. Ricardo L. Caldron, Executive Director of AFoCO noted that “this project will contribute to Viet Nam’s National Strategies and Goals of the Prime Minister’s Decisions including Environment Protection National Strategy to 2020, vision 2030”. Prof. Pham Van Dien, Deputy Director-General of VNFOREST, expressed that “with support from the AFoCO Secretariat, VNFOREST, the project will be implemented and completed by CTNP in the period of the project 2021-2025. We reaffirm our commitments to undertaking the objectives of the Project. We will try our best to manage and achieve all the outputs of the project”.