“Mekong WET: Building Resilience of Wetlands in the Lower Mekong Region” (Mekong WET) has provided funding to five small grant projects in Vietnam with an aim to improve climate resilience through ecosystem-based Adaptation approaches in wetland and protected areas. The five project grantees have improved the livelihoods of local communities through harnessing the benefits of natural ecosystems and conserving biodiversity.
All projects put people at the center and aim to diversify incomes of local people through the cultivation of sustainable products. The program at U Minh Thuong National park offered trainings to develop the “Ramsar label” for wetland agricultural products. This can help increase local incomes, engage people in the protection of the wetlands and promote the ecotourism markets. In Long An province, a project has implemented flood-friendly likelihoods, including planting lotus and floating rice, in three different communes to generate jobs during flood season and mitigate flood damages as well as improve overall biodiversity. Over 139 hectares of land are being cultivated with environmental friendly lotus seeds, lotus shoots and organic rice alternative to intensive rice cropping. Both of these models can ensure positive socio-economic outcomes and strengthen climate resilience in these vulnerable areas.
Preliminary climate risks assessment and research are also emphasized in the granted programs. Findings from a climate change vulnerability in Tra Su Melaleuca forest shows that local communities rely heavily on natural resources which make them vulnerable to impacts of climate change. These results can help develop alternative livelihoods to increase resilience for the communities and the ecosystem. On the other hand, a research by the Asian Turtle Program to study the biodiversity of Ca Forest, Central Viet Nam has identified over 70 species of birds and 60 amphibians, some of which appear in Viet Nam Red Book and require immediate protection. This will be used to highlight the importance of the ecosystem and the level of protection for the forest, which currently remains at low level.
One project in Lung Ngoc Hoang Nature Reserve focuses on capacity training for local people who offer many potentials to restore the degrading wetlands. Mr. Phan Cong Nguyen was among the passionate ones who attended the five-days training course on sustainable management of the area, increasing resilience to climate change. The project aims to support local researchers, staff and farmers so that more meaningful and integrated solutions can be implemented.