An ecosystem assessment plays an important role in synthesizing and communicating complex information and can both inform and influence decision-making processes, e.g. ecosystem assessments can: respond to decision makers’ need for credible and robust information; highlight trade-offs between decision options; model future prospects to avoid unforeseen, long-term consequences; and provide critical judgement of options and uncertainty enabling decision makers to choose policies that sustain the appropriate mix of services. Ecosystem assessments equally provide an opportunity to inform decision-making processes towards attaining national development goals and national biodiversity-related strategic plans; to meet the information needs for policymakers at different sectors; to strengthen capacity through the science-policy interface and to promote an integration of biodiversity and ecosystem services into action plans.
Since 2017, the National Ecosystem Assessment Initiative at UNEP WCMC has supported countries to conduct national ecosystem assessments(NEA). This support is delivered in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) through the Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services Network (BES-Net). Financial support for the NEA Initiative is provided by the International Climate Initiative (IKI) of the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Nuclear Safety and Consumer Protection of the Federal Republic of Germany. In Vietnam, the Center for Biodiversity Conservation (CBC) under the Vietnam Union of Science and Technology Associations (VUSTA) in collaboration with Institute of Strategy and Policy for Natural Resources and Environment (ISPONRE)/Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MONRE)and relevant institutions are implementing the National Ecosystem Assessment project from April 2017 to April 2022 to support and advise the Government on which policies should be developed or revised to maintain the benefits from ecosystem services in Vietnam.
The summary for policymakers is a brief of a national ecosystem assessment report, and is one of the important outputs of the project. It presents background information on the selected three key ecosystems (forest ecosystem; wetland ecosystem; and marine and coastal ecosystem) in Vietnam for the decision-making process with the purpose of promoting an integration of biodiversity and ecosystem services into policy, planning development of relevant sectors. The report provides 21key messages and background information on five issues(i) the status of biodiversity and trends in ecosystems; (ii)contribution of the key ecosystems to socio-economy; (iii) drivers, pressures to changes in ecosystem services and its impacts on the socio-economy; (iv) the four future plausible scenarios for ecosystems and their services; and (v)the legal and institutional framework on biodiversity and ecosystem services including impacts, gaps and some recommendations to enhance ecosystems and their services. The summary for policymakers will provide a valuable and useful reference for policymakers as well as officials, experts and scientists in the field of biodiversity conservation and relevant areas in the policy development processes.