Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI — Việt Nam has improved its policy framework on forest land tenure, but contradictions and implementation weaknesses persist, experts said at a workshop yesterday.
The workshop was held to review a three-nation ongoing project on “Strengthening forest tenure for sustaining livelihoods and generating income”.
The project, supported by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), began implementation in October 2014 in Việt Nam, Cambodia and Nepal.
Hoàng Liên Sơn, director of the economic research centre under the Việt Nam Academy of Forest Sciences (VAFS), said progress has been made in acknowledging the rights of forest growers and managers.
Prof. Võ Đại Hải, VAFS president, also said that protection of forest tenure has significantly improved in Việt Nam since the passing of the Land Law and Law on Forest Protection and Development.
With “intensive legal reform on land and forest tenure”, the forest area has expanded, he said.
He said Việt Nam’s forest area has increased from 28 per cent in 1990 to 41 per cent in 2015, and the value of wood-based products increased from US$1.6 billion in 2006 to $6.8 billion in 2015.
Small forest growers manage about 20 per cent of the nation’s forest area, he noted.
He also said that annual revenue from environment protection fees was $60 million, and this is set to double in 2017.
However, Hải added that forest tenure in Việt Nam continues to face several limitations and challenges that need to be addressed by the Government.
This is an important task because secure tenure has lifted out of poverty millions who depend on forests for their livelihood. It has also contributed to sustainable forest management, he said.
Jong Ha Bae, FAO Country Representative in Việt Nam, said improved governance of forest tenure was essential for food security, poverty eradication and to creating an enabling environment for responsible investment in forest-based enterprises.
“Improved governance of tenure is critical as it reflects the interest of citizens, and ensures people’s ability to exercise the tenure rights and duties,” he said.
Yurdi Yasmi from the FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific said existing forest tenure policies in all three nations still had several shortcomings, resulting in reduced benefits for the community.
The shortcomings include contradictory and complicated policies, and weak implementation, he said.
Officials from the Forestry Administration of Cambodia and the Ministry of Forests and Soil Conservation of Nepal attended the workshop.
All the participants shared their experiences as well as results of policy and institutional capacity assessments related to forest tenure.
Forest tenure includes ownership, tenancy and other arrangements for the use of forests. It’s a combination of legally or customarily defined forest ownership; and of rights and arrangements to manage and use forest resources. — VNS