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Việt Nam improves the legality of imported timber

Update: September, 21/2021 - 14:40

 

Workers package furniture for export at a factory in Việt Nam. Việt Nam and the EU agreed the Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA/FLEGT), and the Vietnamese Government has carried out various activities to enhance timber legality in the supply chain. Photo courtesy Lê Thị Mỹ Thuyên

ĐÀ NẴNG – Germany's International Co-operation Agency (GIZ) launched an e-training course on the due diligence system (DDS) for timber imports into Việt Nam, promoting principles of due diligence and its application in business activities of timber operators.

The training course comprises a combination of theory and exercises developed based on real-life cases, and the Volunteer Partnership Agreement on Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (VPA/FLEGT).

GIZ said the online course is commissioned by the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), and co-financed by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) of the United Kingdom.

It is a joint initiative implemented by GIZ and Preferred by Nature - an accredited research organisation in the forestry sector formerly known as NEPCon. 

“Many countries, including Việt Nam, require enterprises to exercise due diligence. Due diligence requires enterprises to be responsible for their timber supply chains and to respect legality requirements. Taking the DDS e-training course will enable participants to learn about the Viet Nam Timber Legality Assurance System (VNTLAS). The course also gives participants practical insights on how to set up due diligence systems for their own enterprises,” said Anja Barth, Project Coordinator and Chief Technical Advisor of the GIZ/Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD)'s project.

As the representative of the timber industry, the Việt Nam Timber and Forest Product Association (VIFOREST) is supporting the Government to build capacity for timber enterprises, helping them to meet international standards on sustainable development.

“By signing the VPA/FLEGT, the Government of Việt Nam has committed to eliminate illegal timber. Each Vietnamese enterprise should be well equipped to practise due diligence for the sake of their own survival and of the timber community in Việt Nam,” said Ngô Sỹ Hoài, Vice-chairman and Secretary General of VIFOREST.

The Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA/FLEGT) between Việt Nam and the EU entered into effect in June 2019. Since then, the Vietnamese Government has carried out various activities to enhance timber legality in the supply chain. The issuance of Decree 102/2020/ND-CP on the Vietnam Timber Legality Assurance System (VNTLAS) in October 2020 was a crucial milestone of the VPA process in Việt Nam. It is expected to raise the reputation of Vietnamese timber products in international markets while promoting the industry’s development. However, implementation of the Decree is facing challenges due to new requirements under the VNTLAS and the VPA.

GIZ is collaborating with the Việt Nam Administration of Forestry to support Vietnamese stakeholders through various capacity building activities.

GIZ and VIFOREST organised five pilot training modules on due diligence for more than 200 participants from timber enterprises and associations in key timber processing hubs, such as Nghệ An, Bình Định, Đồng Nai, Bình Dương and HCM City between December of 2020 and April of 2021. Based on the participants’ feedback, the training modules were improved and converted into the free DDS e-training course, which is accessible to anyone with an interest in the timber trade.

The free online course offers a sustainable capacity building solution available to a wide range of timber operators and other stakeholders. Verification agencies, including forest protection departments and customs authorities, are encouraged to take the course. Their active participation in enforcing the legal compliance of timber importers is an integral part of the VPA process in Việt Nam.

The project is implemented by GIZ and the Việt Nam Administration of Forestry (VNFOREST). VNS

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