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Vietnamese Leaders Gather to Show Commitment for the Sustainable Development of the Country’s Marine and Coastal Areas

Nha Trang City, Viet Nam — Vietnamese leaders demonstrated their strong commitment for the sustainable development of the marine and coastal areas of Vietnam during the conduct of the Leadership Forum in Nha Trang City on 7-8 June 2011.

Top leaders of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MONRE) graced the occasion. Dr. Pham Khoi Nguyen, MONRE Minister; Mr. Nguyen Van Duc, MONRE Vice Minister; and Dr. Nguyen Van Cu, VASI Administrator, along with Mr. Le Duc Vinh, Vice Chair of the Provincial People's Committee of Khanh Hoa Province (the host local government of the Leadership Forum) and PEMSEA Executive Director, Prof. Raphael P.M. Lotilla, underscored the importance of the Leadership Forum as a venue for confirming Viet Nam's determination to achieve sustainable development of the marine and coastal areas. The leaders from the three existing ICM sites (i.e., Danang, Quang Nam and Thue Thien Hue) and the seven priority coastal provinces, where ICM programs are in the process of development, joined the forum as a demonstration of interest and support for the country's bid for sustainable coastal development.

The discussions revolved on the details of the Implementation Plan for the Sustainable Development Strategy for the Seas of East Asia (SDS-SEA) in Vietnam for 2011-2015. The Viet Nam SDS-SEA implementation plan complements the targets and priorities of the country as identified in the Socioeconomic Development Plan for 2011-2015, in addition to the Viet Nam Strategy on Sustainable Use and Protection of Marine Resources and Environment for 2011-2020 and Program 158. The strategies to scale up ICM in Viet Nam, the institutional arrangements for ICM development and the roadmap for capacity development to support ICM scaling up were also covered. Specific on-the-ground experiences in ICM implementation were shared by Danang, Thua Thien Hue and Quang Ninh for the benefit of the seven priority coastal provinces that are starting their respective ICM programs. With the necessary national policy and strategies in place and strong political commitment, it is anticipated that Viet Nam can hurdle the implementation challenges identified during the discussions and achieve its target to cover 30 percent of its national coastline with ICM by 2015.

The Leadership Forum was convened in conjunction with the celebration of the Viet Nam Seas and Islands Week in Nha Trang City, a popular tourist destination in the country. The Forum was attended by close to 90 participants representing key national agencies, the 10 priority coastal provinces for ICM implementation, academic and research institutions, the media and PEMSEA.

In line with the celebration of the Seas and Islands Week, the Viet Nam Marine Economy Forum (VMEF) was held back-to-back with the Leadership Forum. The VMEF was co-organized by the Viet Nam Association of Foreign Invested Enterprises, MONRE and VASI, and revolved on the theme "Motivations and challenges for the development of Viet Nam's coastal economic zones." The presentations focused on the potentials and prospects for developing Viet Nam's marine economy as well as strategies to boost the growth of coastal areas/economic zones, including implementation of the SDS-SEA. The forum also provided opportunity for information/experience exchanges between potential domestic and foreign investors, as well as leaders of central and central southern coastal provinces and leaders of related ministries and industries.