Vietnam: Prime Minister approves sustainable forest management and forest certification

PEFC certification in Vietnam has taken a big step forward with the decision from the Prime Minister’s Office to approve the project on sustainable forest management and forest certification by establishing the national forest certification system, in line with PEFC international requirements.

This confirms the Vietnamese government’s vision and recognition that sustainable forest management and certification are interconnected and necessary for the long-term health and development of Vietnam’s wood products industry – currently running at $8 billion annually.

The intention of the government is to double the current certified forest area by 2020, bringing the total to over half a million hectares. Commenting for Viforest in Hanoi, Mr Quyen said, “We welcome this initiative by the government to ensure and demonstrate the country’s sustainable management of its forests.”

A special objective within the project will be the implementation of group certification for smallholders using a ‘landscape’ approach (with 3,000 ha or more as a minimum), including rubber plantations. Some pilot projects are already under way in Central Vietnam.

With this decision, the relevant organisations now have the authority and funding to implement the Vietnam Forest Certification Scheme (VFCS), including its eventual submission for international recognition by PEFC.

“We are ready to be the lead implementer and contact point for VFCS,” said Mr Bui Chinh Nghia, Director of Forest Development Department, VN Forests, responding to the announcement.

Vietnam, through its 886 programme, has launched the national sustainable forest management training programme to ensure the country is prepared.

“In coordinating this training, we will work to build pools of national experts and trainers ready to roll out the Prime Minister’s decision,” said Dr Tran Lam Dong, Director of the Silviculture Institute, Vietnam Academy of Forest Sciences.

“Since the decision from the Prime Minister, we have already undertaken two three-day workshops, focusing on building capacity,” said Richard Laity, PEFC International.

“I am thankful and proud to be working with stakeholders on the development of smallholder certification processes in Vietnam. We look forward to the collaboration of a wide range of stakeholders to achieve profitability leveraging sustainability.”