February, 24 2014 08:10:00

NGO role in climate change fight strengthened

HA NOI (VNS) — Nearly 100 civil organisations and 20 poor communities in 23 cities and provinces will benefit from a project strengthening the role of Vietnamese non-governmental organisations in climate change communications and policy advocacy.

Vu Thi Bich Hop, director of the Centre for Sustainable Rural Development (SRD) and head of the Network of Vietnamese Non-Governmental Organisations and Climate Change (VNGO & CC), announced the project at a workshop in Ha Noi on Tuesday.

Conducted by the SRD, the Centres for Marine Life Conservation and Community Development, Community Health Research and Development, Rural Development in Central Viet Nam and the Research Institute for Climate Change, the initiative will focus on the Mekong Delta, the Red River Delta and provinces vulnerable to climate change.

Viet Nam is one of five countries projected to suffer the most severe effects of climate change, according to the United Nations.

"With a total budget of more than AUD224,000 (US$200,000), including over AUD200,000 funded by the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID), the project aims to improve the efficiency of response to the impacts of climate change by improving the ability of the Chief Security Officer (CSO) and strengthening NGOs' participation in policymaking on climate change," said head of the Climate Change Department under the SRD Pham Thi Bich Ngoc.

It will also help the VNGO & CC work more effectively by improving the organisational and coordination structure of operations, Ngoc said.

Also in Ha Noi, the SRD held a workshop on Wednesday on behalf of the management board of the Network of Vietnamese Non-Governmental Organisations and Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (VNGO-FLEGT). The meeting focused on Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade Voluntary Partnership Agreements.

"Approved in 2003, FLEGT was one of the European Union's responses to international concerns about illegal logging and trading; the document sets out supply-and-demand measures to combat the problem. Meanwhile, Viet Nam is currently one of the 15 largest timber-exporting countries in the world, with two major markets in North America and European," Hop said.

The FLEGT VPA develops control and licensing procedures in countries that produce and process timber in order to ensure that only products made from legally-harvested timber can enter the EU.

Participation will help the country maintain the two large markets, while reducing illegal logging and trading and encouraging afforestation, according to Hop.

The EU has so far concluded a FLEGT VPA with five African countries and one Asian country, Indonesia. It is currently negotiating with other countries including Malaysia, Gabon and the Democratic Republic of Congo.— VNS

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