Illustrative image (Source: VNA)
Hanoi (VNA) – A project to promote forest law enforcement, governance and trade (FLEGT) in Southeast Asia through the involvement of civil social organisations (CSOs), has been effective, heard a seminar in Hanoi on April 4.

The EU-funded project aimed to improve the capacity of CSOs and forest-dependant communities to understand the Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) on FLEGT, negotiated by Vietnam and the EU, and help them join the negotiations and the process of forest law enforcement and governance.

Addressing the event, Vice President of the Vietnam Union of Science and Technology Associations Nghiem Vu Khai said the project, which ran through 2014-2017, was effective and transparent under the management of the Sustainable Rural Development centre.

When the VPA takes effect in Vietnam, the network of CSOs needs to focus on voluntary independent supervision and builds communication documents related to forest law enforcement and governance, Khai said.

Communication campaigns will be intensified to raise public awareness of the agreement, while studies will be carried out to assess impacts of the agreement on forest-dependant communities.

According to EU representatives, the project was implemented in the context that Vietnam and the EU conducted three official negotiation rounds.

The project helped raise partners’ awareness of efforts made by Vietnam and the EU throughout the negotiation process, helping parties involved in VPA-FLEGT negotiations understand more about the role played by CSOs in the negotiation process.

Participants to the seminar stressed that the State should issue regulations on supervision of timber processing establishments and policies to promote planting of large trees.

Forest planters should be provided with loans, while processors should be helped to use advanced technologies, they noted.

Vietnam officially entered into FLEGT–VPA negotiations with the EU in May, 2010, with three negotiation rounds having taken place so far.

Apart from Vietnam, the FLEGT project was also implemented in Laos, Cambodia, Thailand and Malaysia.-VNA