According to the UNESCO definition, the Biosphere Reserve (BR) are coastal and terrestrial ecosystems that promote solutions reconciling the conservation of biodiversity with its sustainable use”. The objective of the World BR is to ensure harmony between people and nature through the implementation of three main functions: conservation, development and support. Management approach to BR is made in an open, interdisciplinary and multi-field direction.

    Based on the set goals, the BR has three functional areas: The core zone for long-term conservation of species diversity, landscapes and ecosystems; The buffer zone is surrounded or adjacent to the core zone where economic, research, educational and recreational activities can be carried out without affecting the core zone; The transition zone is at the outermost where economic activities remain normal on the basis of sustainable development of natural resources provided by the BR.

    BR is not subject to international conventions or treaties, but is governed by a "soft law". The framework principle for BR was adopted by UNESCO General Assembly and all countries pledged to comply. The management of the BR depends on the policy of each country. The UNESCO Secretariat does not have a "supervisory function" but is responsible for each country through the MAB National Committee.

    According to the Lima Action Plan for World BR2016 - 2025, the BR is "national and regional demonstration models for sustainable development". The BR criteria are a set of ecosystems that represent large areas of biogeography, including areas of human impact at different levels; of important for biodiversity conservation; Creating opportunities to explore and demonstrate sustainable development practices at regional scale; Having an appropriate area to meet the 3 functions of the BR; There are sufficient appropriate zones to perform the above 3 functions of the BR.


The Red River Delta BR has a total area of over 105.558 ha


BR in Việt Nam

    In Việt Nam, the National Committee for Man and the Biosphere Program (MAB Việt Nam) is a national focal point of UNESCO in Việt Nam, established since 1985, with the purpose of constructing and proposing BR for international recognition, supporting the management and maintenance of national and international connections in this field.

    Việt Nam has joined the international activities in Man and the Biosphere Program with the contribution of 9 BRs into the World BR network including: Cần Giờ; Đồng Nai; Cát Bà Archipelago; Red River Delta; Kiên Giang; Western Nghệ An; Cù Lao Chàm - Hội An; Mũi Cà Mau; Langbiang. These BR are within a province or an inter-provincial area. The BR’s management board or administration is of a part-time nature, varying from province to province such as management board at core zone also management board of Protected areas or an independent unit in combination of management board of Protected areas. Normally, the Head of the BR’s Management Board is the leader of the Provincial People's Committee. At present, there are no guidelines and regulations for management of BR as well as funds for operation of BR.

    Over the past time, it’s the fact that management and operation of BRs have got advantage and achieved certain results, namely: Awareness at all levels and sectors about the role and functions of the BRs gradually raised; BRs have received the attention of many international organizations, international projects, scientists in the field of natural resources management; Many initiatives, models of nature conservation and biodiversity, improving livelihoods, community-based ecotourism model in BRs have been successfully implemented, contributing to the promotion of economic development and conservation of biodiversity and nature.

    However, BRs management is still facing many difficulties and challenges. Due to BRs management is new approach integrating multiple sectors in sustainable management of natural resources at BRs, while regulations on organizational structure and management technical guidelines are not clear, even lack of creativity, so there is lack of closely coordination between staffs at all levels and sectors. The management of the BRs is related to many branches and sectors, most of the members of the management board are part-time staffs who hardly provide timely and adequate advises to Provincial People's Committee to make informed-decision on management of BRs; financial and technical resources for management and conservation in BRs are also limited.

    From the perspective of state management, only national parks and protected areas have state management structure at all levels from local to central level, while BRs are only belong to network of MAP/UNESCO which is not under management of any ministries. On the other hand, with large area, BRs have complicated natural and social conditions, be under a lot of pressure due to many socio-economic development activities that directly impact on management as well as the current status of natural resources in the area. The development of organization structure for BRs is much more difficult while many BRs located in inter-provincial area, in which each province has its own approach for development and conservation.

Proposing orientations for management of BRs in Việt Nam

    Strengthen the management of BRs, including institutionalizing the functions, tasks and organizational structure of management. In short term, priority should be given to address the management of the BR in the amended Law on Environmental Protection 2014. And in long term, it needs to elaborate in Decrees and Circulars on management, as well as clearly define the functions and assign tasks of managing Biosphere Reserves for relevant ministries and localities.

    Developing a coordination mechanism among stakeholders, including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Science and Technology; building a management structure on BRs from central to local levels.

    Developing a BR Development Strategy to submit to the authorities for promulgation to direct the management approach of BR in Việt Nam.

    Developing technical and management guidelines for BRs; guidance for developing management plan of BRs; guidance for developing resource management models, models of community livelihood improvement... For potential BR, it is necessary to guide the procedure and content of nomination to become a BR.

    Focusing on capacity building, communication and awareness raising, raising awareness on the value of BRs and engaging stakeholders’ involvement in management of BRs.

    Promoting the development of a database for BRs integrating in the national biodiversity database system.

    Continuing to mobilize resources and participation of international organizations to support for BRs.


   The Man and the Biosphere Program (MAB) of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) was established in 1970. The concept of the BR and the first BR was established in 1974, World BR network was established in 1976. To date, the network has 669 BRs in 120 countries, of which Việt Nam has 9 BRs.


PhD. Nguyễn Xuân Dũng - Deputy Director

Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Agency

(Nguồn: Bài đăng trên Tạp chí Môi trường số Chuyên đề Tiếng Anh II/2020)


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