The Vietnam General Department of Forestry launched a contest on the relationships between forests, climate change and desertification in Hanoi on April 1.

The contest, themed “Forests amidst climate change and desertification”, is part of activities to respond to the International Year of Forests 2011 and the International Decade on Anti-Desertification 2011-2020 initiated by the UN.

All Vietnamese citizens and foreigners are eligible to participate in the contest in the form of essays or questionnaires at the webpage: The deadline for the contest is March 31, 2012 and awards will be presented in June, 2012.

Addressing the launch ceremony, Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Hua Duc Nhi said Vietnam has been synchronously implementing solutions, including the enthusiastic participation of the people in forestation, thus contributing to protecting coastal areas, maintaining water resources and reducing drought and climate change.

Over the past two decades, the Vietnamese Government and people exerted efforts in restoring, protecting and developing forests, thereby raising the country’s forest coverage to 39.5 percent in 2010 from 27.2 percent in the early years of the 1990s.

Along with forest restoration, forest productivity and quality were also improved, with total wood reserves of more than 811 million cu.m.

The forestry sector will continue to promote education and information with an aim of launching common movements to protect forests in the entire society, working with international organisations to carry out initiatives on sustainable forest management and community-based forest management as well as policies for payment of forest environment services./.