Officials push to recover Vietnam's biodiversity

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Vietnamese officials sat down for the first time to discuss recovering Vietnam's unique but shrinking biodiversity on April 22.

 

Officials from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment agreed to apply the Business and Biodiversity Offsets Program (BBOP) to forests and other ecology systems in Vietnam.

 

At the meeting in Hanoi, Kerry Ten Kate, director of the BBOP, said Vietnam would be a great place for the program as the country already has laws protecting forests, biodiversity and the environment.

 

Biodiversity in Vietnam has been reduced largely in recent years due to logging, forest fires, and replacing forests with mineral mines and hydropower plants.

 

Vietnam is among the 16 countries with the largest forest biodiversity in the world. But more than 800 hydropower projects and more than 5,000 mineral mines are threatening the forest environment, officials said.

 

The government has asked the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to issue regulations on fees for using the forest environments.

 

Ha Cong Tuan, deputy head of the General Forestation Department at the ministry said the fees have been collected "rather successfully" in Lam Dong and Son La Provinces, where many hydropower plants are being carried out.

 

Biodiversity unbalance has led to natural disasters that kill and disappear 750 people every year and cause a 1.5 percent loss to GDP, or around VND6 trillion (US$316.54 million), annually, according to figures from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

 

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment is working on policies to recover biodiversity for submission to the government, said Nguyen Van Tai, a ministry strategist.

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