The U.S. State Department has provided sponsorship to NOAA to build capacity for integrated coastal management in the coastal provinces of Quang Ninh and Haiphong. The Ha Long Bay World Heritage Site is located in Quang Ninh province. This project supports the marine sciences working group of the U.S.-Vietnam Science and Technology Agreement. The project is scheduled to conclude in 2008. Primary partners in Vietnam are the Ministry of Fisheries, the IUCN-World Conservation Union, and two provincial governments.
NOAA is providing training and support for the balanced development of the region. In summer 2007, a Vietnamese delegation will visit the United States to begin working on integrating two provincial master plans to improve the advisory capacity of environmental interest in development paths of the region. Additional technical assistance has involved emergency response capacities, management planning, habitat and community assessment, and improvements in management infrastructure (installation of mooring buoy technology to reduce sea bottom damage from anchoring for example).
Additional NOAA offices, primarily the National Marine Sanctuary Program and the Office of Response and Restoration have also been engaged in projects in Vietnam. The National Marine Sanctuary Program is assisting the government build capacity for protected area management and development of a national network of marine protected areas. The Office of Response and Restoration helped improve response capacities for Vietnam government to control impacts of hazardous material spills in the Mekong river region in southern Vietnam.
Engagement with Vietnam supports NOS’ contribution to US Government strategy to engage Vietnam and provide assistance to help guide the Vietnamese government adopt policies and build capacity to support ecosystem approaches to management and ecologically safe navigation. Engagement with Vietnam also supports global efforts to protect and conserve marine and coastal biodiversity and cultural values in Vietnam, which are globally significant.