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Workshop exchanges experiences in developing coastal ecosystems

Experiences in improving the resilience of coastal ecosystems and communities were shared at a workshop in Hanoi on August 24 that reviewed the third phase of the Mangroves for the Future (MFF) initiative.

Steen Christensen, coordinator of the MFF initiative, said Vietnam has carried out many mangrove forest projects well, but some are still facing difficulties in reaching local communities.

To solve these problems, it is necessary to have a team of highly capable evaluation groups and to increase the connection of investors with relevant sustainable coastal management development programmes, he noted.

Associate Prof. Dr. Vu Thanh Ca, head of the MFF National Coordinating Body (NCB), said marine ecosystems have a strong impact on the economy and the MFF initiative focuses on coastal ecosystems that benefit humans too.

Natural resources and environmental services should be promoted to help coastal residents earn a stable income and respond to climate change, he suggested.

Ca added that in Vietnam, the NCB will assist localities in developing their coastal ecosystems, for example in utilising mangrove forests as a pioneer project because of their important ecosystem benefits.

The programme will also support efforts to develop and conserve littoral and river mouth zones, as well as coastal and inshore areas; devise solutions for managing these areas; improve communities’ capacity and awareness; and integrate gender equality in relevant activities.

At the workshop, participants discussed the management and conservation of coastal ecosystems with the community’s participation, coastal zone management, and ways to expand the sound practices of the MFF in Vietnam.

The MFF is a continental-level initiative in Asia, co-chaired by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), boosting investment for the sustainable development of coastal ecosystems. The third phase of the initiative has been implemented since 2014 with 31 small projects, two medium projects, and two large projects, as well as activities supporting coastal area management policies with a view to increasing the resilience of communities that are reliant on ecosystems.