Sustainable forest product trade in the Lower Mekong to promote sustainable forest management in Vietnam

Implementation of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Office of Sustainable Forest Management Certification (VFCS) and the International Sustainable Forest Management Certification Program (PEFC) in deepening cooperation and strengthening international capacity. experts on forest governance, sustainable forest management in the lower Mekong region. On April 1, 2021 in Hanoi, VFCS and PEFC held a workshop on “Sustainable trade in forest products in the Lower Mekong region to promote sustainable forest management in Vietnam”. Mr. Nguyen Van Dien, Director of Forestry Production Development Department and PEFC representative chaired the workshop.

Attending the workshop were over 60 delegates, including online participants: Units of the Vietnam Administration of Forestry, the Office of Sustainable Forest Management Certificates, PEFC organization, the Office of Quality Accreditation (BoA) – Ministry of Science and Technology, certification organizations (GFA, Bureau Veritas, SGS, TUV-SUD, TUV-NORD, Nepcon, IQC…), Vietnam Academy of Forestry Science, Forestry University, Association Vietnam Timber and Forest Products (VIFOREST), Vietnam Rubber Group, An Viet Phat Group, GIZ, FAO, RECOFTC, Luong Consulting, UNIQUE, Thua Thien Hue Cooperative Alliance etc.

The workshop heard reports from representatives of PEFC, VFCS, BoA, Department of Science, Technology and International Cooperation – General Department of Forestry on Introduction of activities within the framework of PEFC; The implementation of the national forest certification system; Regulations and experience of BoA in implementing VFCS certification; Trade and forest certification of ASEAN, Overview of the implementation of VPA/FLEGT in Vietnam; Ability to coordinate with the certification system of sustainable forest management.

After a lively discussion, the workshop agreed that, although the National Sustainable Forest Management Certification System (VFCS) has just been established, there have been many efforts to perfect the system and operate effectively, with very important initial results, has granted forest certificates for 50,000 hectares of rubber and more than 800 hectares of other plantations. However, there are also difficulties and obstacles that need to be removed, such as, about the development of certification bodies. According to Decree 107/2016/ND-CP, auditors must have experience, specifically 20 working days. But because it is a new system, this request cannot be fulfilled. There should be a direction to build a trial evaluation model.

To achieve the goal of granting a certificate of sustainable forest management for 1,000,000 ha of planted forests by 2030, it is necessary to perform well the following contents:

  • Improving the institution (amending and supplementing Decree 107/2016/ND-CP) in the direction of removing contents that are not suitable with reality.
  • Improve and strengthen the capacity building of stakeholders in the national forest certification scheme.
  • Strengthen communication and propaganda to raise awareness of the whole society, businesses and forest owners about sustainable forest management and forest certification.

Actively train, especially assessors of certification bodies, on certificates of sustainable forest management.

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