14.07.2011 - UNESCO Office in Ha Noi

Biosphere Reserves for Environmental and Economic Security project launched at Cat Ba

©UNESCO / The Cat Ba biosphere reserve in northern Viet Nam.

Cat Ba, July 14, 2011 – UNESCO Viet Nam, The Viet Nam Man and Biosphere Programme (MAB Viet Nam) and the Hai Phong People's Committee launched the "Biosphere Reserves for Environmental and Economic Security (BREES)" at Cat Ba Biosphere Reserve. The long-term programme regional climate change and poverty alleviation program works with communities, micro-finance institutions, educational institutions and governmental and donor agencies to use biosphere reserves as learning centres for environmental and human adaptability to climate change effects.

At the opening ceremony, Katherine Muller-Marin, Representative of UNESCO to Viet Nam, highlighted the importance of cooperation among the business sector, authorities, tourists and local communities in long-term and sustainable development. Ms. Muller-Marin pledged UNESCO’s commitment to support the BREES project and Cat Ba Biosphere Reserve in their future activities.

The Secretary of Hai Phong City’s Party Committee, Dr. Nguyen Van Thanh, also declared his commitment on behalf of the leadership and people of Hai Phong and Cat Hai district to cooperate for BREES project implementation.

As part of the launching ceremony, five groups of students from Cat Hai district were awarded “Biosphere Awards” of US $1000 each to implement their proposals submitted in the competition “Sustainable Development of Cat Ba Biosphere Reserve.” The winning proposals included initiatives for recycling school trash, raising honeybees, raising awareness about the endangered Cat Ba langur, planting mangroves, and planting trees and flowers at the local junior high school.

The BREES project in Viet Nam seeks to enhance the capacity of communities and Cat Ba BR management agencies to adapt to climate change and also alleviate local poverty. The project has three main components: the student competition "Sustainable Development of Cat Ba Biosphere Reserve," training secondary and high school teachers on Teaching and Learning for Sustainable Future, and raising awareness about climate change at the Community Learning Center in Cat Hai district.

Within the biosphere reserve network in Viet Nam, Cat Ba Biosphere Reserve will serve as a learning site to enhance and promote the adaptability of people and the environment to climate change, and further ensure both environmental and economic security for communities living in and around the biosphere reserve.

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