Sustainable forestry project wraps up in Viet Nam
Tuy Hoa City, Viet Nam, 10th August 2018—The Responsible Asia Forest Project phase 3 (RAFT3) ended this week, with an end of project meeting held in Tuy Hoa City.
RAFT3 aimed to boost sustainable forestry practices and trade in the Asia Pacific region and was implemented by partners including TRAFFIC, WWF, RECOFTC – The Centre for People and Forests, and the Vietnam Administration of Forestry (VNFOREST).
TRAFFIC focused on enabling enforcement officers to combat illegal timber trade through training sessions held in Hanoi, Da Nang, and Can Tho during the course of RAFT3. A total of 132 officers were trained and post-training surveys found some 78% of respondents reported an improvement in their capacity to control timber imports and exports.
Supporting the training was the TRAFFIC-VNFOREST produced Timber Identification and Handling Toolkit, which included an identification guide for various types of timber, especially those that are frequently traded in Viet Nam, and a reference guide for how to handle violations of the law. One thousand copies of the toolkit were distributed to VNFOREST and VN Customs officers nationwide.
“Thanks to the RAFT3 project, enforcement officers in Viet Nam are now better equipped to address illegal timber trade: we hope they continue to be diligent in their efforts,” said Sarah Ferguson, head of TRAFFIC’s Viet Nam office.
Other project successes included Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification of nearly 2,000 hectares of acacia forest managed by Bao Chau Company using sustainable forestry management practices. Bao Chau is the first company in Phu Yen Province to receive this globally recognised certification, which was made possible with training and technical support from WWF.
The RAFT project has also helped secure strong commitments to sustainability from plantation companies in Phu Yen, Ca Mau and Binh Dinh provinces. With support from the project, nearly 3,000 hectares of forest there is now certified by FSC contributing to the government’s target of 350,000 hectares of certified planted forest by 2020.
The project also contributed to changes in policy. RECOFTC, in collaboration with VNFOREST, reviewed existing sustainable forest management (SFM) regulations, and completed a report which identified gaps and made recommendations promoting SFM in Viet Nam. Based on the report, a policy brief on key SFM policy recommendations was produced, proposing the development of a new policy to come into effect in January 2019.
The Responsible Asia Forestry & Trade partnership (RAFT) brings together the skills and knowledge of seven leading organizations to provide capacity-building and knowledge-sharing services in support of the trade in responsibly harvested and processed commodities from forested landscapes across the Asia Pacific region. RAFT is supported by the Australian and US Governments, Norad and the Arcus Foundation, and is implemented by TNC, WWF, RECOFTC, TRAFFIC, the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES), the Forest Trust (TFT) and the Tropical Forest Foundation (TFF). In addition to these core partners, RAFT works with governments, industry, CSOs, IGOs and educational institutions from across the globe. www.responsibleasia.org