An Giang, Vietnam: ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability Southeast Asia Secretariat (ICLEI SEAS), in coordination with the Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Natural Resources and Environment (DONRE) of Hanoi, organized a study tour participated by technical staff and city representatives of Hanoi, Soc Son, and Son Tay from 14 to 17 March 2019. The delegation visited sites in Ho Chi Minh City and An Giang Province to learn more about low emission development strategies and forwarding local climate action in Vietnam.
The group first visited the DONRE Office of Ho Chi Minh City where they met officers and staff from the Climate Change Office, Environmental Monitoring Center, and the Meteorological Agency. Professor Ho Quoc Bang of Vietnam National University presented Ho Chi Minh’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions inventory. The delegation discussed the process by which Ho Chi Minh gathered activity data and calculated their GHG emissions.
The city officials discussed the importance of having an updated GHG emissions inventories as a sound basis in climate action planning at the local level. Hanoi shared that it has just finished developing its GHG emissions inventory; results of which will be used to direct climate-related strategies of the city. The inventory will also guide activities under the Ambitious City Promises project including citizen engagement strategies as well as development and implementation of both infrastructure and behavioral change pilot projects.
After meeting Ho Chi Minh City officials, the delegation proceeded to visit the Tra Su Melaleuca Forest in Van Giao commune in An Giang province, a prominent model of nature conservation and climate change response in the southeastern region of Vietnam. This is a submerged forest for the West of Hau River, which is home to many species of animals and plants belonging to the system of special-use forests of Vietnam. In this protected area, the mangrove forests are preserved almost entirely and the local communities also ensure biodiversity protection.
The mangrove ecosystem was also developed as an ecotourism site, providing a sustainable source of livelihood to nearby communities. During disasters such as typhoons, they also act as windbreakers; cushioning the damage and protecting the households within the area.
The Tra Su Melaleuca Forest is a model ecotourism site that successfully showcases how important mangroves are and why there is a need to protect them. This is significant because, in the past, Vietnam’s mangrove forest cover has rapidly declined. During the period from 1969 to 1990, about 33% of the country’s mangrove forests were destroyed, decreasing from 425,000 hectares to 286,400 hectares.
The study tour was a good learning experience for the participants. Aside from exchanging ideas about GHG emissions inventory, they also shared insights about potential ecotourism projects which they can develop.
Ms. Thuy Le Thanh of DONRE EPA stated that “This is a rewarding trip that enabled technical staff and city representatives to explore ideas and communicate their insights and experiences with each other. Hopefully, what we have learned from this trip can be somehow applied in developing climate-related strategies for our own cities.”
Funded by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, and Nuclear Safety (BMU) through the International Climate Initiative (IKI), the ACP is a 3.5-year international project which aims to support selected large cities in Indonesia, the Philippines, and Vietnam to establish strong GHG reduction commitments, local climate action plans directed by concrete targets, enhanced multi-stakeholder engagement, and integrated strategies.