Officials from the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and northern Dien Bien province have agreed to expand their pilot forest sustainable management project beyond selected areas given initial encouraging achievements.

They met in Dien Bien province on January 29 to review the progress of the five-year JICA-funded project on Sustainable Forest Management in the Northwest Watershed Area (Susform – Now), which was commenced in the locality in August, 2010.

The added sites are Muong Phang commune (Dien Bien district) and Muong Muon commune (Cha district), along with Sai Luong and Phieng Ban villages (Dien Bien district), Hang Tro B, Na Phat A, Tia Ghenh C, Huoi Mua A villages (Dien Bien Dong district), and Ta Leng commune and Nam Thanh ward (Dien Bien Phu city).

Susform – Now aims to assist local authorities of the benefited locations in protecting and extending their watershed areas, reducing carbon dioxide emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, increasing secure livelihood for locals while heightening their awareness of forest protection.
The initial outcomes showed the forest in the benefitted sites was protected and expanded effectively and the income of engaged local residents soared.

According to the JICA Tokyo Senior Advisor and Head of the Delegation to the review meeting, Hiro Miyazono, Susform-Now should be combined with the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD) to raise its efficiency.

JICA will work with the Vietnam Administration of Forestry to co-coordinate Susform – Now in 2013.

In the 1970s, Dien Bien province encountered severe forest overexploitation in its watershed areas, which seriously affected the locality’s ecosystem.-VNA