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Vietnam Today

Opportunities on offer from sustainable management of natural forests

Released at: 10:38, 09/08/2017

Opportunities on offer from sustainable management of natural forests

Illustrative image (Source: baoapbac.vn

Hanoi forum hears of myriad benefits to come from sustainable natural forest management.

by Linh San

National experts and enterprises presented and discussed their experience, opportunities, challenges, and recommendations for the sustainable management of natural forests while exploring economic opportunities including ecotourism, medicinal plants, and non-timber forest products during a forum held in Hanoi on August 7.

The forum on realizing the economic opportunities on offer from the sustainable management of natural forests was held by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the Party Central Committee for Economics, and the United Nations, with support from the UN-REDD Program and other partners including the Vietnam Private Sector Forum.

The meeting was attended by representatives from the government, ministries, business associations, enterprises, financial institutions, international organizations, and forest owners.

“Forest protection and development is the first important solution that Vietnam needs to and can implement in order to ensure the sustainable development of the national economy,” said Mr. Cao Duc Phat, Vice Chairman of the Party Central Committee for Economics. He also emphasized that there must be awareness and active participation from the community and businesses.

The forum introduced Vietnam’s Target Program for Sustainable Forest Development for the 2016-2020 Period as well as the National Action Program on the Reduction of Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation, Sustainable Management of Forest Resources and Conservation and Enhancement of Forest Carbon Stocks (REDD+) by 2030.

One of the main recommendations coming out of the forum relates to the need to develop markets and partnerships for natural forest-based economic models. Financial resources should be mobilized and revenue and expenditure regulations directed towards encouraging businesses to invest in such economic models.

Other recommendations included improving national policies and strengthening the monitoring and evaluation systems at the local and national levels on economic models and forest products.

“A major transformation will be required to build an enabling environment for domestic and international businesses to thrive in and benefit from investing in sustainable natural forest development.” Mr. Kamal Malhotra, the United Nations Resident Coordinator in Vietnam, told the forum.

Forests cover some 41 per cent of Vietnam’s territory, with 71 per cent natural forests and 29 per cent plantations. According to experts, the contribution of forests to the national economy has not been fully captured by the national accounting system. Indeed, forest contribution as currently accounted in national GDP is very modest, at approximately 1 per cent. The country has set targets for increasing the value of forest production to about 3.5 per cent per year, and for forestry to account for 2 to 3 per cent of national GDP.

Natural forests provide valuable timber and non-timber products and offer many invaluable services to critical sectors, including water and soil protection for agriculture, electricity production, urban consumption, and the mitigation of climate change, by capturing CO2.

They also help increase the resilience of vulnerable rural communities in the face of the dramatic impacts of climate change.

The UN-REDD Program, jointly convened by the UN Development Program (UNDP), the UN Environment Program (UNEP), and the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization, has been working closely with the government over the development of relevant policies, mechanisms and overall readiness and action plans for implementation.

“The UN will remain an important strategic and committed partner of the government, to further strengthen the sustainable management of forests in collaboration with the domestic and international business sectors to achieve mutual benefit,” Mr. Malhotra said.

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