New revenue potential for conservation in Vietnam

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By BIOFIN Viet Nam

A team of national and international experts under the leadership of UNDP Viet Nam visited the Cuc Phuong National Park in Ninh Binh Province in May. The purpose of the visit was to discuss the refurbishment of the Museum of the National Park, after which the Museum will open its door to the visitors of the National Park.

The team of experts discussed the current and expected functions of the Museum with the Deputy Director, Mr. Do Van Lap and his experts, including the leaders of the National Park’s Scientific Division and the leader of the Museum. At the introduction meeting, the Cuc Phuong staff explained the approach to strengthen the financial situation of the Museum by adopting visitor fee payments for services provided, for which a refurbishment is needed to improve the attractiveness of the Museum to the visitors.

At the same time the scientific basis and role of the Museum in the conservation of biodiversity – plants, butterflies, insects, birds and mammals all occurring the Cuc Phuong National Park - is considered its key role, and shall remain the basis of the Museum’s exhibitions and functioning in the future.

The team of experts then was introduced to the collection of the Museum, on display in the exhibition halls and in storage, reviewed the building’s exterior and interior, and discussed current functioning and operations. The experts also visited a number of the National Park’s other visitor attractions, including the Visitor Center, the Primates Rescue Center, the Turtle Conservation Center and the Carnivore and Pangolin Education Center, to exchange opinions on these facilities functioning and attractiveness to visitors after their refurbishment in recent years.

Ms Hendrike Geessink, international expert from the NGO Utrechts Landschap, a leading provincial level natural and cultural landscape conservation organization in the Netherlands with a strong and established best practice in providing quality free and chargeable services to their visitors, shared the valuable role the Museum can play in better informing the National Park’s visitors about biodiversity and ethno-cultural features of the region.

She highlighted the opportunities to reorganize, upgrade and expand the collection on display to effectively explain to visitors the values of biodiversity of the National Park. She stressed the need address the linkages between the different visitor facilities, to about duplication and ensure building a common message. Ms Hoang Thai Ly, architecture & design expert and Team Leader of the consultants group, explained the approach and detailed activities of the team to re-design the Nature Museum such that it will provide improved and expanded chargeable services to visitors that will provide a financial supplement to the available budget financing.

Specifically the team shall propose the set-up, design and content of new exhibitions, strengthening the Museum’s role in science, education and learning, and dissemination of knowledge, develop appropriate (alternative) visitor services and products, and prepare a 3-year investment program for refurbishment based on anticipated costs and expected income from fee charges.

Ms. Bui Hoa Binh, Program Coordinator at UNDP Viet Nam highlighted that the successful implementation of the refurbishment scheme will ensure that the important collection of the Museum of Cuc Phuong National Park is presented in such an attractive, accessible and scientifically appropriate way that visitors will be better informed of the rich and diverse features of the National Park’s biological and cultural heritage and value nature and biodiversity provides to local livelihoods and to the national economy, and leave Cuc Phuong National Park satisfied and content, to share their good impressions with relatives, friends and the community at large.

The activity on refurbishing the Cuc Phuong Museum is a pilot activity under the cooperation of UNDP Viet Nam with the Ministry of Finance and the Viet Nam Forest Administration of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, as part of which also the scheme and legal framework of charging and collecting fees for visitor services in Nature Museums under national management will be strengthened.

The cooperation of UNDP Viet Nam and the Government agencies is part of BIOFIN project, a global initiative by UNDP to support 32 countries, including Viet Nam, to strengthen the sustainable financing for biodiversity conservation in these countries. In Viet Nam, UNDP actively supports the Government of Viet Nam in assessing legal-institutional arrangements, current expenditures and anticipated future finance needs for biodiversity conservation in line with adopted targets of the National Biodiversity Strategy.

The project will also develop a national roadmap for future financing of biodiversity, addressing all possible dimensions of finance, including additional resource mobilisation, improving effectiveness of expenditures, avoiding future expenditures and re-aligning expenditures towards biodiversity goals.

UNDP Viet Nam and the team of consultants thank the staff of the Cuc Phuong National Park for the hospitality and sharing of important insights in Museum current practices, and the vision and needs for its improvement.