February, 01 2013 09:24:00

Ecosystem service scheme shows promise as parties share profits


Forest coverage increased from 33.2 in 2009 to 39.7 per cent last year, which was close to the 40 per cent target.—File photo
HA NOI (VNS)— Viet Nam earned US$58 million from the collection of payments for eco system service (PES) schemes in 2012, the equivalent to the State budget allocation for the forestry sector.

Under the scheme, enterprises can offer the Government money to manage ecological services on its land. In many cases money has been provided for forest land which the Government has then invested in farmers to protect their plants from floods and other dangers.

Vice Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Ha Cong Tuan praised the news of the income. "This is an encouraging figure given that this scheme was put in place on a wide scale just a year ago. It has been proved that PES is a good scheme to raise funds for forest protection," he said in a briefing to foreign partners reviewing the sector's performance at the annual meeting of the Forest Sector Support Partnership held in Ha Noi yesterday.

In 2012, PES was collected from hydro-electric plants and water supply plants. The agriculture ministry is working on other potential sources including eco-tourism.

The ministry predicts that the collection for this year will be $47.6 million.

Some other key figures for the forestry sector have also been revealed. The export revenue of the timber processing industry last year was $4.6 billion, a 17-per-cent increase from 2011's figure.

Forest coverage increased from 33.2 in 2009 to 39.7 per cent last year, which was close to the 40 per cent target.

Last year also saw a remarkable increase in official development assistance (ODA) funding channeled into the sector. There were eight projects whose total financing was worth $117 million compared to about $29 million in 2011.

Deputy director general of the ministry's Forestry Department Vo Dai Hai said the sector would have to adjust itself to changes in the international market that may affect Viet Nam's export-based timber processing industry.

In the meantime, the focus is to ensure Vietnamese timber products meet the requirements of import markets, such as the European Union's Forest Law Enforcement and Governance regulations and the United States' Lacey Act, which ban the import of any wood products made from illegally harvested timber.

Hai said Viet Nam would need international assistance to ensure this is achieved.

The meeting was held by the ministry in co-operation with Japan International Co-operation Agency and German Agency for International Co-operation. — VNS



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