On March 22nd 2017, in Hanoi, ActionAid Vietnam – AFV’s strategic partner, General Department of Forestry under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (DFD), and Vietnam Forest Owners Association (VIFORA) held a conference to receive recommendations on the Bill on Forest Protection and Development (revised). The conference was facilitated within the framework of the project “People Participation in improvement of forest governance and poverty alleviation in Vietnam” (PFG) sponsored by Finland government and ActionAid Vietnam.
Implementing the National Assembly’s Resolution and the Prime Minister’s Decision, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development is drafting Forestry Law to replace the 2004 Forest Protection and Development Law. The Forestry Law had received many comments and was working on the fifth draft. However, in these bills, the forest owners’ role, responsibility and participation in law development and implementation remained limited.
Within the framework of the project “People Participation in improvement of forest governance and poverty alleviation in Vietnam (PFG)”, Vietnam Forest Owners Association, General Department of Forestry and ActionAid Vietnam carried out 15 community surveys in February 2017 in 05 provinces: Cao Bang, Lam Dong, Tra Vinh and Bac Lieu. The results were shared in this conference, asserting the appropriation and humanity in the provisions of the law on the rights and obligations of forest owners. On the other hand, the study also showed that in reality, several rights and obligations of forest owners had not been implemented because the regulations or legal documents still made it difficult, especially for ethnic minorities, women and youth. Therefore, law revision and amendment were necessary and highly welcomed.
The conference “Recommendations on the Bill on Forest Protection and Development (revised)” not only showed the aforementioned results but also created opportunity for the parties to discuss outstanding issues in land allocation; forest allocation, management and protection; rights and obligations of forest owners. The conference was organized with the participation more than 70 representatives from relevant Ministries, Departments, Faculties, Research Institutes, the Drafting Panel of the Forest Protection and Development Law (revised), domestic and foreign organizations, and representatives of the community to review and contribute recommendation to this Bill.
Mr. Nguyen Van Chuyen, Head of Hamlet 11, Hoa Le Village, Krong Bong District, Dak Lak province said: “From ancient times, forests are not only a livelihood but also a cultural space for ethnic minorities. We hope the new law will reflect the people’s connection with the forest”.
At the conference, the participants expressed their request to access forest database and forestry sector management information. The Forestry Sector Information System Development (FORMIS), funded by the Embassy of Finland, supporting forest management in a modern way. However, the concerns raised at the conference showed that people still do not have adequate access to this database.
“One of the effective information channels to ensure the right to access to information on forest governance is the Forestry Sector Information System Development (developed under FORMIS project). It is expected that the comments contributed at this conference will be acknowledged, considered by the Drafting panel and included in the official law” said at the conference, Ms. Hoang Phuong Thao, Executive Director of ActionAid Vietnam.
Ms. Annika Kaipola, Counselor of the Finland Embassy – sponsor of the PFG project, said: “Hopefully the recommendations raised at this conference will be delivered to the governing bodies, so that the law will be adjusted to reflect the voices of the people and forest owners, especially people of ethnic minorities.”
Discussions and information exchanges in the conference offered practical recommendations to the Bill on Forest Protection and Development Law (revised), contributing to improving the effective implementation of the Law in practice, while promoting transparency and equity in exercising rights and obligations of the community in local forest governance.
Note for editors/journalists:
Vietnam Forest Owners Association (VIFORA) was established in 2016, with the Executive Committee comprising leading leaders of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, General Department of Forestry and Research Institutes. The Forest Owners Association of Vietnam was urged to establish in order to unite forest owners, organizations and individuals who are interested in the activities of forest owners in the territory of Vietnam to support and help each other in exercising rights and obligations of forest owners in accordance with Vietnamese law; provide support in forest management, production and business, contribute to the protection and sustainable development of forest resources.
ActionAid Vietnam (AAV) is a member of the ActionAid International Federation (AAI). AAV started its development programmes in the poorest and remote areas of Vietnam since 1989, so far AAV is supporting nearly 30 provinces and cities across the country. AAV’s activities focus on raising awareness, understanding and capacity of the poor and disadvantaged people, thereby helping them self-control the economic, social and political life of their families, communities and move forward to the to harmonious, sustainable and equitable development.
The project “People’s Participation in Forest Governance and Poverty Alleviation in Vietnam (PFG)” funded by Finland government and ActionAid Vietnam aimed to create an open and interactive space for people from grassroots communities to participate in the national forest management information system, thereby, improving the way their forests are governed and contributing to poverty alleviation in Vietnam. The PFG project is in harmony with the previously developed The Forestry Sector Information System Development (FORMIS) with financial and technical support from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland. The digitalized data from this system will help improve the transparency of forest information, so that the community can promptly detect and prevent violations in forest management, as well as corruption regarding the benefits from the forest. The project is implemented in 04 provinces Cao Bang, Dak Lak, Tra Vinh and Bac Lieu of Vietnam.
Wednesday, 22/03/2017 | 01:43 Asia/Bangkok
March 22nd, 2017 – March 22nd, 2017