Vietnam to improve the legality of timber supply chain

Photo: Clem Onojeghuo/Unsplash

To promote principles of due diligence and its application in Vietnam’s business activities of timber operators, Germany’s International Co-operation Agency (GIZ) has launched an e-training course on due diligence system (DDS) for timber imports into Vietnam.

The course includes theory and exercises developed based on real-life cases, and the Volunteer Partnership on Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (VPA/FLEGT). It is a joint initiative implemented by GIZ and Preferred by Nature, an international research organisation in the forestry sector formerly known as NEPCon.

“Many countries, including Vietnam, require enterprises to exercise due diligence. Due diligence requires enterprises to be responsible for their timber supply chains and to respect legality requirements. Taking the DDS e-training course will enable participants to learn about the Vietnam Timber Legality Assurance System (VNTLAS). The course also gives participants practical insights on how to set up due diligence systems for their own enterprises,” said Anja Barth, project coordinator and chief technical advisor of the GIZ/Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development’s project.

The Vietnam Timber and Forest Product Association (VIFOREST) supports the government to build capacity for timber enterprises, helping them to meet international standards on sustainable development.

Ngo Sy Hoai, vice-chairman and secretary general of VIFOREST, said, “By signing the VPA/FLEGT, the government of Vietnam has committed to eliminate illegal timber. Each Vietnamese enterprise should be well equipped to practise due diligence for the sake of their own survival and of the timber community in Vietnam.”

The VPA/FLEGT between Vietnam and the EU has been in effect since June 2019. The Vietnamese government carried out various programmes to improve timber trade legality since then, and the issuance of Decree 102/2020/ND-CP on VNTLAS in October 2020 was a crucial milestone of the VPA process. This decree is expected to raise the reputation of Vietnamese timber products in international markets, but due to the new requirements under the VNTLAS and VPA, the decree is facing challenges in implementation.

Beyond that, GIZ and Vietnam Administration of Forestry (VNFOREST) have collaborated to support Vietnamese stakeholders through various activities.

For instance, they organised give pilot training modules on due diligence for more than 200 participants from timber enterprises and associations in key timber processing hubs, such as Nghe An, Binh Dinh, Dong Nai, Binh Duong and Ho Chi Minh City between December 2020 and April 2021.

Source: Viet Nam News