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PM acts promptly to protect natural forests

Update: July, 04/2016 - 11:54
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Viet Nam News 

Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc has ordered the closure of about 2.2 million hectares of natural forests in Central Highlands localities on June 20. The move aims to avoid the over-harvesting of wood after statistics from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development recently showed that about 300,000 ha of natural forest had been cleared during 2010-14. A lot of policy-makers, heads of localities and experts have applauded the Prime Minister’s decision. Tin tức (News) newspaper sat down to listen to comments on how to increase the effectiveness of forest management and protection in the coming time.

Ngô Ðông Hải

Ngô Ðông Hải, deputy head of the National Economic Committee

I highly agree with the Prime Minister’s direction of closing natural forests as well as solutions to recover and develop our natural forests. I submit to the Government a request to quickly adjust regulations and policies regarding the management and protection of natural forests in order to fit with the current situation. For example, we need to concretise rules on the rights and obligations of individuals and organisations in exploiting and protecting our natural forests. Only when the rules are concretised will we have a foundation to force individuals and organisations to take more responsibility in forest protection. The Government is also advised to issue specific sanctions on localities’ heads if they fail in protecting and developing natural forests as committed.

Trần Việt Hùng

Trần Việt Hùng, standing deputy head of Central Highlands Steering Committee

I think people’s committees of all Central Highlands provinces should price their forestry land. Then based on theses assessments they can force individuals or organisations to pay compensation if they were given responsibility for a natural forest but failed to protect and develop it. The assessments would also be a foundation to calculate benefits that an individual or organisation could receive if they increased the timber volume in the forest area they are given to grow and protect. Raising the effectiveness of forest protection and improving the capability of forest management boards, forest rangers and relevant agencies are all key factors that the Government should pay more attention to in the coming time.

Phạm Ngọc Nghị

Phạm Ngọc Nghị, chairman of the People’s Committee of Central Highland Đắk Lắk Province

Our current system of managing and protecting natural forests has some shortcomings. Thus, I propose that the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development specifically instruct localities to implement policies on forest management under the Government Decision No 07/QĐ-TTG issued in 2012. The ministry is required to quickly release legal documents to clearly regulate the rights and obligations of State agencies in managing and protecting forests. The legal documents are expected to ensure higher effectiveness of managing and protecting forests throughout the country.

Nguyễn Ngọc Lung

Nguyễn Ngọc Lung, formerly head of the Việt Nam Administration of Forestry under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development

The State and the Government actually started to close natural forests in 1992. At that time, the ratio of natural forest cover was only about 27 per cent of the total forest area across the country. The forestry sector reported to the Government that it had failed to maintain the sustainable development of the national forests. In response to this situation, the Government decided to invest about US$52 million to green our forests.

At present, according to reports from the agricultural ministry, deforestation and changes in forest usage are to blame for the loss of forests. Some localities have chopped down natural forests to plant rubber and other industrial trees. Other localities have shifted into building hydro-power plants and transport works. To end the problem, authorised agencies have to join hands and take cohesive measures.

Cao Chí Công

Cao Chí Công, deputy head of the Việt Nam Administration of Forestry under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development

Before closing the natural forests in the Central Highlands area, all other natural forests in the country were closed. Now with the newly-issued decision of  the Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc, all our natural forests have been closed.

Until 2014, there were only three State-owned companies allowed to exploit wood from natural forests under the green light of the Government. The units included the Trường Sơn Forest Enterprise’s branch in central Quảng Bình Province, the Đắk Tô Forestry Company based in Central Highlands Kon Tum Province and the Đại Thành Company located in Central Higlands Đắk Nông Province. The companies were permitted to exploit a total of 18,500 cubic metres of timber each year.

However, the agriculture ministry has submitted a proposal to remove permission to these companies at least for the next five to ten years, aiming to raise the quality of our natural forests. The movement is also hoped to bring illegal logging under control. — VNS


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