WWF-Indochina's A'Vuong watershed project wins US$75,000 award



Posted on 06 April 2004  | 
The A'Vuong river and its surrounding region is famous for its rich freshwater and forest biodiversity.
© WWF-IndochinaEnlarge
Rüschlikon, Switzerland – An innovative project in which indigenous mountain people of Vietnam protect and manage their watershed has won the US$75,000 ReSource award from one of the world’s leading reinsurers, Swiss RE (Swiss Reinsurance Company). The ceremony took place on 5 April 2004 in Rüschlikon, Switzerland.
 
The A'Vuong Watershed Project is a partnership between WWF-Indochina and the Quang Nam Forest Protection Department (FPD). Its main aim is to ensure the sustainable management of the region's forests and rivers by the indigenous population. In doing so, equal consideration will be given to economic, social, and ecological factors. 

Working together, the two parties want to curtail the overexploitation of forests and rivers in this central Vietnamese province. The allocation of land rights by the state to the local population is at the centre of the project, which was launched in February 2004. This allocation of land thus delegates responsibility for the conservation of this vital natural resource to those directly affected. The land reform is accompanied by training, awareness-building, and performance-related incentives to ensure that the local communities actually acquire the skills they need to manage their forest, land, and water resources with due care.
 
The wide-ranging measures, which can now be implemented with the support of the ReSource Award, are urgently needed. Frequent natural catastrophes threaten to destroy the livelihood of the people who live on the banks of the Thu Bon River in Central Vietnam. Around one million people are affected by the consequences of overexploited forest areas. The deforestation leads to devastating floods, such as the ones which hit the region in December 2003, as well as to seasonal droughts.
 
In her speech during the award ceremony, Swiss Foreign Minister Micheline Calmy-Rey praised the A’Vuong project's integral approach: "The land reform supported by Swiss Re encourages people to make their own contribution to improving their livelihood, while delegating more responsibility for the environment to those directly affected. This serves the interests both of the people concerned and the environment."
 
"It is a great honour for us to receive the ReSource Award," said Ms. Nguyen Thi Dao, Greater Truong Son Programme Manager of WWF-Indochina. "In collaboration with WWF and other agencies, we will ensure the benefits of sustainable watershed management are increased and local livelihoods improved."
 
The A'Vuong Watershed Project — part of WWF's Annamites Ecoregion Programme — involves the indigenous Ka Tu community and was awarded the prize for:
• its innovative and comprehensive methodology
• allocation of land rights to the local communities
• delegating responsibility for conserving the natural resources to those directly affected
• implementing training measures to foster awareness at all levels
• creating incentive-based mechanisms for conservation. 
 
For further information:
Ms Nguyen Thi Dao
Truong Son Programme Manager, WWF-Indochina
Tel: +84 4 7338387, ext.154
E-mail: dao@wwfvn.org.vn
The A'Vuong river and its surrounding region is famous for its rich freshwater and forest biodiversity.
© WWF-Indochina Enlarge

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