On Saturday, May 10, the students from the U.S. National War College (Washington DC) took part in a joint beach cleanup effort at Ha Long Bay’s Thanh Nien beach, together with members of the local government and Youth Union. The delegation of students visited Vietnam to learn more about environmental issues facing the country. The students were eager to help the communities of the Ha Long Bay region through a cleanup effort led by U.S. Navy Captain James Buckley.
The cleanup activity supported the broader objectives of the Ha Long Bay Alliance, a joint public-private effort that is bringing together U.S. and Vietnamese government officials, private sector business partners, and key local and national stakeholders to help preserve and protect Ha Long Bay. The U.S. Embassy launched the Ha Long Bay Alliance last month, in cooperation with Quang Ninh People’s Committee, the Ha Long Bay Management Board, and other local stakeholders. To put real resources toward the Alliance and local ownership of its development, USAID has made a grant to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and is planning a grant to the Centre for Marinelife Conservation and Community Development (MCD), a local NGO, to help organize public and private partners as well as grassroots organizations to protect and restore the environment in Halong Bay. IUCN’s program is expected to emphasize policy dialogue, while MCD is expected to focus on grassroots engagement strengthening the capacity of local NGOs to facilitate improved natural resource management and sustainable economic development. These grants are funded through USAID’s Development Grants Program.