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Vietnam’s Cat Tien National Park a candidate for IUCN Green List

Vietnam’s Cat Tien National Park a candidate for IUCN Green List

Saturday, January 27, 2024, 08:57 GMT+7
Vietnam’s Cat Tien National Park a candidate for IUCN Green List
Bau Sau, or Crocodile Lake, at Cat Tien National Park in Dong Nai Province. Photo: Tran Phuong / Tuoi Tre News

Cat Tien National Park in southern Dong Nai Province has made it to the final stage of Green List Standard certification, a global standard of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) for protected and conserved areas.

The park hopes to be the second site in Vietnam to be named as an IUCN Green List site, providing it an opportunity to improve its forest management capacity, enhance biodiversity preservation, and focus on sustainable development.

Van Long Nature Reserve in northern Ninh Binh Province, which was added to the IUCN Green List in 2019, was the first site in Southeast Asia to be named to the list.

A greener future for Cat Tien

At a meeting organized by the International Organization for Conservation of Nature in Vietnam (WWF-Vietnam) and IUCN on January 18, representatives of Cat Tien National Park were told the site had passed an independent assessment by the national Expert Assessment Group for the Green List (EAGL) and an independent reviewer in 2023.

Formed in April 2017, Vietnam EAGL had 11 members in November last year with expertise in biodiversity, protected area management, social science, ethnic and gender equality.

A patrol force removes animal traps at Cat Tien National Park.  Photo: Tran Phuong / Tuoi Tre News
A patrol force removes animal traps at Cat Tien National Park, Dong Nai Province. Photo: Tran Phuong / Tuoi Tre News

At EAGL meetings in April and September 2023, EAGL members unanimously approved the decision to nominate Cat Tien.

Cat Tien’s dossier was then approved in December 2023 and submitted to the Green List Committee for final assessment.

Green Listing is expected later this year.

Currently, there are 10 protected areas in Vietnam that are in the candidate or application phase for the Green List program, including Cuc Phuong National Park, Phong Nha - Ke Bang National Park, Vu Quang National Park, Bach Ma National Park, Dong Chau - Khe Nuoc Trong Nature Reserve, Song Thanh National Park, Bidoup - Nui Ba National Park, Cat Tien National Park, Pu Mat National Park, and Con Dao National Park.

Being named to the Green List will help improve the effective management capacity of Cat Tien National Park as it requires a much more comprehensive measure of management effectiveness and is also much less subjective.

Thus, the management of the park will become consistent with global standards required by institutional donors, such as the Global Environment Fund and Green Climate.

Inclusion on the IUCN Green List also provides international recognition and will help attract attention to Vietnam's commitment to biodiversity conservation.

It is also likely to open doors for international collaboration, knowledge exchange, and access to funding for conservation projects.

Moreover, Green List sites often experience increased tourism, contributing to local economies while ensuring sustainable development practices.

A measure of conservation

The IUCN Green List is a global initiative for successful nature conservation.

Central to this initiative is the Green List Sustainability Standard, which serves as a global benchmark for how to meet the protected and conserved area management challenges in the 21st century.

The primary goal of IUCN Green List is to acknowledge and increase the number of protected and conserved areas that yield enduring conservation outcomes for both people and nature.

Experts and participants at a stakeholder meeting at Cat Tiên National Park. Photo: Tran Phuong / Tuoi Tre News
Experts and participants at a stakeholder meeting at Cat Tiên National Park, Dong Nai Province. Photo: Tran Phuong / Tuoi Tre News

It is jointly led by the IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA) and the IUCN Secretariat.

Unlike other designations, such as World Heritage Sites and Biosphere Reserves, the Green List focuses on fostering the performance of protected and conserved areas by recognizing, incentivising, and capacity building in order to achieve specific impacts in a full range of legal, cultural, social, geographical, and ecological conditions.

The IUCN Green List Standard comprises four key components: good governance, sound design and planning, effective management, and successful conservation outcomes, with a total of 17 criteria, encompassing 50 indicators.

Since its introduction at the 2016 IUCN World Conservation Congress, the IUCN Green List Standard has yielded notable global achievements, including recognizing 77 protected and conserved areas across 18 countries worldwide.

That includes 31 sites in 10 Asian countries, namely Bhutan, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Pakistan, South Korea, and Vietnam.

More than 60 countries are actively engaged in the global IUCN Green List community.

"Measuring progress and conservation impact is vital to improving the overall performance of Vietnam’s national parks and nature reserves. The IUCN Green List initiative helps forest owners see where improvements are needed if their protected area is to reach an international management standard," Nick Cox, Chief of Party at the USAID Biodiversity Conservation Activity for the WWF, explained.

Cox highlighted that the challenges of conservation in Vietnam are due to significant pressure resulting from the community's heavy reliance on forests and the widespread consumption of various forest products. Therefore, conservation can only be sustainable with the participation of the community.

Pham Xuan Thinh, director of Cat Tien National Park, emphasized the site's dedication to comprehensive conservation.

“While awaiting results from the international IUCN committee, we commit to consistently implementing comprehensive conservation measures and tirelessly striving to meet the rigorous criteria set forth by the Green List. Our goal is to become a model of international standards in sustainable management and biodiversity protection," he said.

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Tran Phuong / Tuoi Tre News

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