HCM City: Việt Nam will be assisted with carrying out legal and responsible timber trade by the “Responsible Asia Forestry & Trade Partnership” programme that it signed yesterday with the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), TRAFFIC and RECOFTC. The project, which will help achieve sustainable afforestation and forest management and improve officials’ capacity and is funded by the Australian Government through The Nature Conservancy organisation (TNC), will run through March next year. It is divided into two main components focused on promoting sustainable plantation management based on international standards and strengthening implementation of responsible and legal timber trade. With most people thought to be unaware of the definition of sustainable and responsible timber products, the project will seek to create basic awareness among the public, manufacturers and businesses to create a market for responsible timber products in Việt Nam.
This approach will not only bring permanent benefits to the environment and society, but also help combat illegal trade in timber, boost investment in environmental protection and generally enhance the reputation of the Vietnamese market. Talking about the specific goals of the project, Lê Thiện Đức, forest programme coordinator of WWF-Việt Nam, said: “The Việt Nam Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has set a target that by 2020 at least 500,000 hectares of forests should be certified, but only 219,245 ha have been certified so far.” To help achieve the target, the project aims to get at least 3,000ha of forests certified as sustainable.
In addition, at least one significant policy for promoting sustainable forest management will be developed or modified, legal timber trade and transparency will be enhanced, and a domestic market for certified forest products will be created. To achieve this ambition, the project will identify forest areas that have the potential for certification for other programmes or the Government to get them certified, build capacity of forest owners by creating a manual for forest certification and sustainable forest management, and support a review and modification of policies to promote sustainable forest management. These activities are expected to bring social and environmental benefits to people living near forests and forestry workers by reducing illegal logging and helping conserve forests. The EU developed the FLEGT action plan (Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade Forest Products) in 2003 requiring timber-producing countries to prove the legal origin of their timber and timber products.