Illustrative image (Source: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA)
– A project to promote sustainable forestation management and responsible timber trade was launched in Hanoi on January 6.

The “Responsible Asia Forestry & Trade Partnership” project, launched by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), TRAFFIC and RECOFTC, is funded by the Australian Government through The Nature Conservancy and runs until March 2018.

The project focuses on supporting Vietnam to strengthen the implementation of legal and responsible timber trade, directing sustainable plantation forest management activities into regular operation.

It is divided into two main components focused on promoting sustainable plantation management based on international standards and strengthening the implementation of responsible and legal timber trade.

With most people thought to be unaware of 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 Vietnam.

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.

According to Le Thien Duc, forest programme coordinator of  WWF Vietnam, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has set a target that by 2020 at least 500,000 ha of forests should be certified, but only 219,245ha have been certified so far.

To help achieve the target, the project aims to get at least 3,000 ha of forest certified as sustainable, he said.

In addition, at least one significant policy for promoting sustainable forest management will be developed or modified, legal timber trade and transparency will be enhance, and a domestic market for certified forest products will be created.

To achieve the 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.

The 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.-VNA