IUCN, Hyundai Restore Mekong Mangroves
On the 25th of October, 2023, in Hanoi, a significant development took place as the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) entered into a transformative three-year partnership with Hyundai Motor Company and Good Neighbors International (GNI).
The primary aim of this partnership is to expand the implementation of Nature-based Solutions in Vietnam, with a specific focus on the restoration of mangroves in the ecologically vital Mekong Delta.
This partnership is an integral component of Hyundai Motor's ongoing IONIQ Forest project, which was initiated in 2016. The IONIQ Forest project is a commendable initiative by Hyundai Motor aimed at establishing eco-friendly forests worldwide to absorb carbon emissions, safeguard biodiversity, and bolster the prosperity of local communities.
In the inaugural year of this collaborative endeavour, the project will see the planting of a staggering 1,20,000 mangrove trees, primarily of the rhizophora and avicennia species. These trees will find their new home in the Nam Can District of Ca Mau Province, a significant region renowned for its high-value mangrove shrimp production in the southernmost part of Vietnam.
This project represents a remarkable fusion of mangrove planting within integrated mangrove-shrimp farming, serving as a Nature-based Solution to advocate for sustainable aquaculture practices. Simultaneously, it aims to preserve the ecosystem and enhance community resilience in the face of climate change challenges.
The benefits of mangrove restoration are manifold, extending to both the environment and local communities. These remarkable trees play a pivotal role in capturing carbon, enriching biodiversity, and providing protection against the ravages of storms.
Furthermore, the natural tidal flows into the shrimp ponds maintain water quality, significantly reducing the risk of diseases in the shrimp population. Shrimp produced under these natural conditions fetch premium prices in domestic and international markets.
The mangrove-shrimp landscape stands as a potential candidate for designation as an OECM, or Other Effective Area-based Conservation Measure, a novel recognition for conserved land or water outside formal protected areas. This designation aligns with the new Global Biodiversity Framework, to which Vietnam is a signatory.
Jake Brunner, the Head of IUCN's Lower Mekong Sub-region, emphasised the importance of this project in promoting Nature-based Solutions by augmenting mangrove coverage in shrimp farms in Ca Mau.
He highlighted the long-term potential for Ca Mau's integrated mangrove-shrimp landscape to be designated as an OECM, thus aiding Vietnam in achieving its 30x30 target, a commitment made at CBD COP15 in Montreal in December 2022.
Vietnam, with its extensive 3,000-kilometer coastline, faces heightened vulnerability to the impacts of rising sea levels and severe storms. Ca Mau Province, in particular, is exceptionally susceptible to flooding, saltwater intrusion, and coastal erosion. Projects like this collaboration between IUCN, Hyundai Motor Company, and GNI not only bolster resilience to climate change but also promote sustainable livelihoods in these vulnerable areas.
Hyundai Motor Company recognises Vietnam as a pivotal market in their future mobility strategy within the ASEAN region. They aim to distinguish themselves as the first global brand to introduce a CKD EV model in Vietnam. Oh In Won, the Head of Vietnam Business Unit at Hyundai Motor Company, expressed the company's commitment to the IONIQ FOREST project as a testament to their authenticity and aspiration for sustainability and an eco-friendly future in Vietnam.
Notably, this initiative in Vietnam is part of Hyundai Motor's broader 'Hyundai Continue' global effort, which seeks to create shared value (CSV) in line with their brand vision of 'Progress for Humanity.' 'Hyundai Continue' is structured around three key areas: 'Continue Earth,' reflecting their dedication to environmental stewardship and combatting climate change; 'Continue Mobility,' which focuses on advancing technology to enhance mobility accessibility and safety; and 'Continue Hope,' dedication to nurturing young talent and educating future generations, ensuring a brighter tomorrow for all.
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