Viet Nam set to further bolster community forest management
Community forest management in Viet Nam is expected to be strengthened through an initiative of the Viet Nam Forestry Administration with support from the World Agroforestry Centre and the ASEAN-Swiss Partnership on Social Forestry and Climate Change.
The Forest Protection Department and the Production Management Department of Viet Nam Forestry Administration (VNFOREST) could be potential bodies charged with supervising community management of forests, according to participants at a multi-stakeholder planning workshop in Hanoi on 16 January 2015 called Roadmap for Institutional Development of Community Forest Management in Viet Nam.
Participants at the workshop agreed on the key steps in the roadmap, particularly that VNFOREST within the next two years will assess the necessary functions and obligations of the suggested overseeing institution while at the same time clarifying legal documents related to community forest management, in collaboration with the World Agroforestry Centre, ASEAN-Swiss Partnership on Social Forestry and Climate Change, The Center for People and Forests and several others. Out of this process will come an institution with the overall responsibility for state management and supervision of forests managed by local communities.
The workshop noted that the establishment of a new, discrete institution solely devoted to community forest management at all levels would most likely be unnecessary and create difficulties, especially given the Government’s policy of reducing staff in the state apparatus. Rather, it would be wisest to adjust the functions of existing bodies of VNFOREST (national level), Forest Protection Department (provincial level), Forest Protection Unit (district level) and Local Forest (communal, village level) within an overarching structure.
Management of forests by local communities was officially recognized by the Government of Viet Nam in the Land Law of 2003 and the Law on Forest Protection and Development of 2004. Since then, the Government has gradually been allocating forests to local communities. However, development of community management of forests in Viet Nam is still limited, partly because no single state institution is responsible for it.
Now, thanks to the workshop participants and the committed efforts of VNFOREST, community forestry looks set to increase in strength in the future.