Cham Island Land Crab Conservation – GEF Assembly fieldtrip

This is the 25th anniversary of the Small Grants Programme of the GEF, implemented by UNDP. We provide finance as well as technical expertise and really empower the local community to be the agent of change for achieving global environmental issues and also addressing livelihood issues. So today, as part of the GEF Assembly, we have organized a site visit to the Land Crab project in Cham Island in VietNam. Good morning! Thank you, all of you, for coming to see our project here. We will go to Hoi An and then by the high speed boat we go to directly to the site of the local people who measure the land crab. This is eco-labeling, and you will see it. It’s a very innovative initiative by the local communities and it’s also being scaled up to the island wide. The Land Crab, they live in the forest but they go out to the sea to lay their eggs. In this island it’s a link between the forest and the sea. On one hand is the Land Crab to be protected, on the other hand, the local people still have a livelihood. We have now almost 40 people who work with the Land Crab. Now we would like to invite you to go see the practice of the labeling of the Land Crab right now. From 2009 until 2013, we worked together we did the research and our group was nominated by the government to be manager of the Land Crab on the island and then harvest them by the scientific guidelines. So first of all, they would like to check if the Land Crab is female or male. And after that, they measure them. The minimum size should be 7 cm. If the Land Crab is small, they have to take it back to the forest. And then, they go in to stamp. They actually have come up with a certificate authorized by the police and the community buys it and they stamp it and now they can sell it. And once the eco-label is on this has added value. People know that this is sustainably harvested, so they pay additional value towards it and that money is also benefitting the community. 75% of the Land Crab population are being conserved in the forest. How do we know that? Because we work closely with the university. That means population of Land Crab is growing now. We have a lot of delegates coming from government to see what kind of results their contribution is creating. As a council member we usually scratch a lot of paper, we sit in meeting rooms, so it’s refreshing to go to places where you see what’s happening on the ground and you also meet and hear the people. You see it’s beneficial for the environment and at the same also for the local population. The council members as well as the people who came for the Assembly first hand had an experience to see what GEF is and what Small Grants Programme does on the ground, and be able to really strategize and think further what we can do in GEF 7 and how the partnership can come along to do this work more strongly. So, small grants but big impact, that’s what we are. So congratulations for the community and congratulations for the GEF!

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