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EU joins fight to stop illegal logging

Update: February, 19/2014 - 08:19
Rangers of the central province of Ha Tinh's Can Loc District patrol Hong Linh forest. Viet Nam and neighbouring countries will be given support to improve the sustainable use of forests under three projects funded by the European Union. — VNA/VNS Photo Dinh Hue

HA NOI (VNS)— Three projects funded by the European Union to help Viet Nam and neighbouring countries combat illegal logging were launched in Ha Noi yesterday.

The projects, which are also aimed at improving the sustainable use of forests, will cost US$4.1 million.

They will be implemented by European and Vietnamese Civil Society Organisations during 2014-17.

The head of a European Union delegation to Viet Nam, Dr Franz Jessen, said the three projects would help enable non-governmental organisations and small and medium-sized enterprises to participate in voluntary agreements on Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT).

The agreements aim to ensure that the timber and timber products imported into the EU are produced in compliance with the laws of partner countries.

The year-old EU Timber Regulation and partnership agreements are parts of an EU initiative to combat illegal logging and improve forest governance.

The first project, titled Promoting FLEGT in Southeast Asia through pro-active Civil Society Organisations is being implemented by a non-governmental organisation called the Forests and the European Union Resource Network (FERN).

According to Pham Thi Bich Ngoc on behalf of FERN, it will cost $2.8 million and is aimed at improving livelihoods, forest governance and respect for tenure rights of forest-dependent communities,

A Danish non-governmental organisation, NEPCon, has been assigned to implement the second project, is named Increasing the capacity of Civil Society Organisations and SMEs to implement FLEGT requirements.

Christian Schriver, regional manager for Southeast Asia, said the project was designed to encourage participation of civil society organisations and the private sector in the FLEGT process by strengthening the capacity of intermediary organisations that work to reach stakeholders in the Vietnamese timber industry.

It had also prepared a risk assessment and risk mitigation framework for Viet Nam, he said.

The Interchurch Organisation for Development Co-operation, a Dutch non-governmental organisation, will carry out the third project Promoting central Viet Nam NGOs in the FLEGT processes.

Viet Nam, which last year had a $5.5 billion export turnover in timber products, officially entered into FLEGT–VPA negotiations with the EU in May, 2010.

Three negotiation rounds have taken place so far. Technical sessions and stakeholder consultations are expected to be concluded by the end of the year. — VNS

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