Press Release: The Embassy of New Zealand sponsored NZD 48,000 for the “Forest Symphony Project” in Ninh Thuan province of Sống Foundation
Ho Chi Minh City, May 9th, 2021 – The Foundation for Supporting and Development of Sustainable Living Community (referred to as Sống Foundation for short) and the Embassy of New Zealand announced a donation of VND 800 million (NZD 48,000) from New Zealand for the “Forest Symphony Project” in Ninh Thuan province. This cooperation was a response to the Vietnamese government’s call for the initiative to plant one billion trees.
This “Forest Symphony Project” is jointly implemented by the Ninh Thuan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, Thuan Nam Coastal Protection Forest Management Board and Sống Foundation.
“The Embassy of New Zealand is proud to be a part of the project, with its participation in sponsoring the planting of 3 hectares of new forest in Ninh Thuan province. Afforestation is crucial to the long-term health of our planet and this is a great outcome for Ninh Thuan,” said Ms. Tredene Dobson, New Zealand Ambassador to Vietnam.
“In New Zealand, we have a saying: ‘Toitū te ngahere, toitū te whenua, toitū te tangata’, which means ‘If we take care of the forest, if we take care of the land, the land will take care of us’. As Vietnam’s long-term development partner, we believe in and invest in sustainable outcomes, and this applies to our environmental practices. Planting and upgrading forests is one of the best and most effective ways to fight global warming. Projects like these are helping to revitalize our planet and reduce the impact of climate change.”
The “Forest Symphony Project” in Ninh Thuan province will plant more than 40,000 trees on an area of 20 hectares of forest in the coastal protection forest of Thuan Nam district in October this year. The project will last for 5 years (2021-2025), including the time for planting, tending, and protecting forests, in order to ensure a high survival rate of new plantations.
“The aim of the funding is to obtain better environmental outcomes through afforestation. Preserving groundwater, absorbing CO2, reducing soil erosion – the benefits from the project will make a real difference to the future of Ninh Thuan province”, explained Ms. Pham Thi Huong Giang, Chairperson of Sống Foundation.
“More than ever, forests are recognized as an important part of our economy and environment. I feel extremely honored to see that both Sống Foundation and the Embassy of New Zealand will contribute a part to Vietnam’s efforts in combating climate change.”
To mark this new phase of the project and the contribution of the New Zealand government, Sống Foundation and the Embassy of New Zealand, together with Fulbright University, organized an online webinar to raise public awareness of the climate change and discuss how activities like the “Forest Symphony Project” and the “Green Happiness Program” can make a difference. You can watch the entire event online at [insert Facebook’s livestream].
“The Green Happiness Program” is a community development program of Song Foundation, initiated in 2018. The program focuses on promoting tree planting activity with a view to increasing the green coverage ratio in urban areas; restoring forests; building harmonious coexistence between human and nature; raising people’s awareness of a responsible, green life; thereby promoting a humble attitude in harmony with nature.
Sống Foundation* (the full name is The Foundation for Supporting and Development of Sustainable Living Community) is a non-profit social fund that aims at building safe communities towards a harmonious and sustainable life between people, nature and indigenous culture. The Foundation was established on November 7, 2018 based on the Establishment Decision No. 2470 / QD-BNV of the Ministry of Home Affairs.
The “Trồng rừng Giữ nước” campaign is a crowdfunding campaign for the Forest Symphony Project in Ninh Thuan province. The campaign calls for the community to join hands to implement the goal of planting and restoring 20 hectares of coastal protection forests in Thuan Nam, Ninh Thuan.
Information about the afforestation project in Ninh Thuan:
Afforestation is one of the important and most prioritized solutions for climate change adaptation and mitigation in Ninh Thuan.
Currently, the province has 145,000 hectares of forest, with a coverage rate of 42.34%. In a meeting with Sống Foundation on 24/11/2020, the Ninh Thuan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development emphasized: “The province’s goal is to achieve a coverage of about 49% by 2055, which means an additional 158,000 hectares of forested area.”
The afforestation here contributes to improving the quality of the forest, ensuring the protection features of the forest (such as erosion control, wind shielding, sand shielding, natural disaster prevention), maintaining stable forest cover, increasing carbon sequestration capacity, and ensuring the sustainable development of protection forests.
Most importantly, the afforestation and greening of rocky mountains also ensures fresh water resources for people’s daily life in particular and sustainable socio-economic development activities in general. Under the green forest canopy, native and unique species of arid regions of Vietnam are preserved.
The “Forest Symphony Project” is implemented with a participatory approach to engage local people in the whole process of planting – caring – protecting forests. With this approach, the project will work with more than 80 local employees, creating jobs and increasing income for them.
Sống Foundation plans to collaborate with Dr. Truong Van Vinh (Deputy Dean of the Faculty of Forestry – Nong Lam University, Ho Chi Minh City), in a number of research trials. The first is testing the use of microbial organic fertilizers to increase soil moisture, provide nutrients for young plants since planting, and help young plants survive the harsh dry season. Moreover, the project also invested in the installation of equipment to monitor soil moisture, monitor groundwater and set up forest survey plots. Moreover, the project also invested in the installation of equipment to monitor soil moisture, monitor groundwater and set up forest survey plots. These are methods of monitoring plant growth, survival rate and factors of groundwater level, soil moisture over the years.
This study aims to provide the scientific basis for afforestation and forest ecosystem restoration in the arid area of Ninh Thuan province, which is a source of supplementary material for managers in planning forestry development policies in this area. At the same time, these observations will demonstrate the role of forests in improving environmental factors in the area.
The significance of the cooperation between the Embassy of New Zealand and Sống Foundation:
The year 2021 also marks the 46th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between New Zealand and Vietnam.
The cooperation between the Embassy of New Zealand and Sống Foundation drew much public attention to the role of forests in protecting water resources that are gradually becoming scarce in Ninh Thuan.
This partnership has also contributed in part to improving adaptive capacity and mitigating the impacts of climate change on food security and social well-being for more than 47,000 people living in the vicinity of the forest in general, and more than 70 households cultivating and breeding under the forest canopy in particular.