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Press release project closing workshop

EU                                 FERN                   VNGO                        srd

Project "Promoting FLEGT in Southeast Asia through Proactive Participation of CSO Engagement"


Hanoi, March 30, 2017

Since 2010, Vietnam Forestry Administration (VNFOREST), on behalf of Vietnamese Government, has been negotiating a Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) on Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) with the European Union (EU). The aims of the VPA are to ensure that timber and timber products exported from Vietnam are legally sourced; at the same time, to increase the volume of exported timber and wooden products from Vietnam to the EU. The EU expects all stakeholders, especially local communities whose livelihoods depend on forests to have a voice in the negotiation, to ensure local people and forest-dependent communities benefit.

With funding from the EU, Fern has been "Promoting FLEGT in Southeast Asia through Proactive CSO Engagement" since 2014 focussing on five countries, but mainly Vietnam, Laos and Malaysia. In Vietnam, the work is coordinated and implemented by the Centre for Sustainable Rural Development (SRD) in the position of the Chair of Steering Committee of VNGO-FLEGT, a network of 61 Vietnamese CSOs. Currently, the network steering committee consists of three organisations, including: SRD, Research Institute for Sustainable Forest Management and Forest Certification (SFMI), and Consultative and Research Centre on Natural Resource Management (CORENARM).

To share results and discuss the future plan, the VNGO-FLEGT Network organised the Closing workshop on April 04, 2017. This workshop is co-chaired by the leader of The Vietnam Union of Science and Technology Associations (VUSTA), representative of the Network steering committee and a representative from Fern and attended by around 70 representatives from relevant government agencies, international organizations and donors, VNGO FLEGT members and mass media agencies.

Apart from updates on achievements, a plan for maintaining and replicating such results after the completion of this project will be developed and agreed.

According to Mr. Hoang Thanh, representative from EU, "The project has been implemented in the context of 03 rounds of official negotiation between EU and Vietnam on VPA-FLEGT. A number of emerging issues were discussed, including the requirements for consultation with relevant stakeholders, such as: enterprises, VNGOs/CSOs and local people, who are to be affected by the VPA. Through the coordination and capacity building for the members of VNGO-FLEGT Network and local communities as well as advocacy campaigns at central and local levels, the project has actively raised the awareness of its partners on the efforts made by EU and Vietnam during the negotiation process. At the same time, the project helps the VPA-FLEGT negotiators have better understanding the issues raised by VNGOs/CSOs in the negotiation process".

Fern, an European-based international organisation has continuously advocated for full participation and contribution of CSOs/NGOs to the negotiations. According to Mr. Rudi Kohnert, a representative from Fern: "For the sake of Vietnamese forests and people, the FLEGT/VPA has to be credible, sustainable and endorsed by all stakeholders. In Vietnam, the VPA has provided conditions for some CSO participation in important decisions about forest management and trade. The test for the future is whether there will be more meaningful participation, and if the Vietnamese VPA will maintain the high standards set by VPAs elsewhere".

The Vietnam Union of Science and Technology Associations (VUSTA), a think-tank an "umbrella organisation" of a wide range of Vietnamese CSOs/NGOs with the responsibilities of consultancy, social feedback and monitoring, , has been actively supporting many CSOs/NGOS participating in the VPA process The Vice President Mr. Nghiem Vu Khai suggests: "In the coming time, when the VPA is implemented, SRD and the VNGO-FLEGT Network should actively provide support to the forest-dependent communities. Especially, SRD and the Network should focus on the assessment of VPA-FLEGT's impacts on livelihoods of such communities so as to timely bringing the feedback to relating authorities, ensuring that local people will not suffer but benefit from the Agreement".

SRD has successfully supported CSOs in the VNGO-FLEGT Network to bring the voices and expectations of people from grassroot level to the negotiation table through action research and community consultations. Ms. Vu Thi Bich Hop, Executive Director and Chair of the Steering Committee of VNGO-FLEGT Network, shares her opinion: "Established since 2012, the duty of VNGO-FLEGT Network is to circulate relating policies and information on Forest governance and the VPA/FLEGT negotiation process of Vietnamese Government to Vietnamese Non-government organizations at provinces across Vietnam, where livelihoods of many poor remote ethnic minority people and local communities are mainly depended on forests. At the same time, the Network helps to bring the voices of vulnerable target groups to the negotiators for timely and effectively actions".

For more informatio, please kindly contact:
Mrs. Vu Thi Bich Hop,
Chair of the Management Steering Committee of VNGO-FLEGT Network, cum the Executive Director of SRD
Address: No. 56, Lane 19/9 Kim Dong Street, Hoang Mai district, Hanoi
Mobile phone: 0904649791 - Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Mr. Tran Ngoc Tue,
Manager of FLEGT program, the Centre for Sustainable Rural Development (SRD), Project Coordinator
Address: No. 56, Lane 19/9 Kim Dong Street, Hoang Mai district, Hanoi
Mobile phone: 0912760930 - Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Hanoi, March 30, 2017


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