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Turtle nesting beach at NCNP © Fauna and Flora International

Building a Community-Managed Biodiversity Fund

Building a Community-Managed Biodiversity Fund

Project Lead: Fauna & Flora International
Supporting Partners: Management Board of Nui Chua National Park, Ninh Thuan province, Vietnam Thanh Hai Commune People’ Committee, Ninh Hai District, Ninh Thuan Province, Vietnam 
Financial Support:  The UK’s Blue Planet Fund
Location: Vietnam
Project Timeline: Ongoing (2024-2025)

Summary 

Fauna & Flora International (FFI) is setting up a community-managed Biodiversity Fund to promote nature-positive, climate-resilient initiatives in the Núi Chúa marine protected area (MPA).

The Fund will provide affordable loans to support biodiversity-friendly enterprises, reducing pressure on valuable marine and coastal ecosystems. Profits generated by the Fund will sustainably finance MPA patrol costs, to ensure proper management and surveillance. To engage the community, FFI will build on local experience to co-develop the biodiversity-focused lending criteria and help run the loan facility. After the pilot concludes, FFI aims to replicate the Fund model to other villages and MPAs.

With the funding from ORRAA via the UK’s Blue Planet Fund, this project aims to:  

  • Support 240 people
  • Protect or conserve 667 Ha of coastal ecosystems  
  • Leverage USD $20,000 of investment 
Challenge 

The Núi Chúa MPA is a biodiversity hotspot that nearby coastal villages heavily rely on. Its natural assets support the local economy in tourism activities, fishing, seaweed and mollusc cultivation. Yet, illegal fishing and dynamite use are common activities that exploit these marine resources. The MPA lacks the finance needed to patrol the area, and alternative patrolling options such as weekly cross-party sea patrols are insufficient to deter the ongoing pressures.

Fauna & Flora intern and a seaweed farmer during a field survey. © Nguyen Lam Thuy Ngan / Fauna & Flora 

 

Solution

Harmful and exploitive practices often stem from a lack of alternative livelihood opportunities. The Biodiversity Fund, called “Mỹ Hải” (meaning ‘Beautiful Sea’) aims to finance biodiversity-friendly enterprises and directly contribute to the local community’s economic development. Generated loan interest will support activities to monitor and control the MPA, ensuring financial sustainability whilst balancing conservation efforts.

Scaling and Next Steps

This project will begin as a pilot in three villages in the Ninh Hai District of Vietnam- Mỹ Hiệp, Mỹ Tân (1) and Mỹ Tân (2). FFI will present a legal structure that enables the community to co-manage the Fund and act as advisors for the MPA. Subsequently, they will perform market research on microfinance funds in the seascape to identify a target market and preliminary business models. In parallel, training sessions will be conducted for the community on the operation of the Fund and its impact on sustainability and biodiversity.

By the end of the project, Fauna & Flora International will produce a policy report with recommendations to guide the establishment and operation of similar biodiversity funds. If the project is successful, the work can be scaled to benefit twelve additional communities in South-central Vietnam.

Turtle nesting beach at Nui Chua National Park (NCNP) © Nguyen Lam Thuy Ngan / Fauna & Flora International