Biosphere Reserves

©UNESCO / Cham Island biosphere reserve

Biosphere reserves are areas of terrestrial and coastal ecosystems that promote solutions to reconcile the conservation of biodiversity with its sustainable use. They consist of a core zone(s) of strictly protected ecosystem, a buffer zone where limited human activity is permitted, and a transition zone where greater activity is allowed. Biosphere reserves have three main aims: conservation, economic development, and research and education. Thus, biosphere reserves serve as “living laboratories” for testing and demonstrating integrated management of land, water and biodiversity.

Eight biosphere reserves have been designated in Viet Nam since 2000, encompassing over three million hectares of diverse marine and terrestrial regions: Can Gio (2000), Cat Tien (2001), Cat Ba Archipelago (2004), Red River Delta (2004), Kien Giang (2006), Western Nghe An (2007), Cu Lao Cham – Hoi An (2009) and Mui Ca Mau (2009).

Man and the Biosphere Programme

©UNESCO Wen Zhou

In Viet Nam, biosphere reserves are overseen by the Man and the Biosphere (MAB) National Programme, which is in turn overseen by the National Commission for UNESCO. Locally, the vice chairman of the district People’s Committee is appointed the director of the biosphere reserve management board to coordinate provincial departments regarding biosphere reserve activities.

MAB Viet Nam recommends that the management of biosphere reserves in Viet Nam focus on the coordination of stakeholders to harmonize their benefits and responsibilities for fulfilling the three designated functions of the biosphere reserve. Local authorities, conservation agencies, civil society, the business sector, and local communities cooperate in the management of biosphere reserves.

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