The second phase of the United Nations’ “Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation” (UN-REDD) projects has been officially launched in Vietnam.

Vietnamese Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Cao Duc Phat and representatives from UN agencies on July 29 signed a document starting the project’s second phase, making Vietnam the first among 47 UN-REDD partners implementing the second phase with a non-refundable aid worth about 30 million USD.

Funded by the Norwegian Government, UN-REDD is an effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by improving forest management and land use.

In Vietnam, the project is one a pillar of the plan to reduce 20 percent of agricultural and rural development emissions by 2020. It also aims to increase forest coverage to 45 percent by 2020 through making and implementing policies on controlling deforestation and forest degradation.

Speaking at the signing ceremony, Minister Phat said that as one of the nations seriously affected by climate change, Vietnam has actively and positively joined the international community’s efforts to protect the earth, as well as issued a lot of policies and strategies to cope with climate change.

He also suggested the collaboration between the UN-REDD project phase II and the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility projects and other climate change response programmes to help Vietnam promptly develop capabilities to implement REDD plus, which goes beyond deforestation and forest degradation and includes the role of conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks.

UN Resident Coordinator in Vietnam Pratibha Mehta said that the country should reach all goals of the second phase on time to benefit most from the project.

UN agencies will help optimise the effects of efforts to minimise negative impacts of climate change in Vietnam, she affirmed.

The REDD project phase II focuses on six provinces of Bac Kan, Lao Cai, Ha Tinh, Binh Thuan, Lam Dong and Ca Mau.-VNA