VNGO-FLEGT Network launchced 3 VPA/FLEGT related projects

With the commitment to combat illegal logging and trading, in 2013, the European Union (EU) presented its Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FELGT) Action Plan. The plank of this Action Plan is the negotiation and implementation of Volunteer Partnership Agreement (VPA) in timber-exporting countries, with the aim of ensuring that only certified legal timber and timber products are exported into the EU.   

On February 19, 2014, the Centre for Sustainable Rural Development, on behalf of the Steering Committee of Vietnamese Non-governmental Organizations and Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (VNGO-FLEGT) organized the Launching and Planning Workshop of 3 VPA/FLEGT related projects of the network. The workshop attracted participants from international and local NGOs, international donors such as FAO, EU, FERN, related governmental agencies as well as media agencies.

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Participants at the workshop

The workshop incorporated presentations of overview of the projects and discussions on the projects’ workplans. The 3 projects are as follows:

i) Project “Implementing FLEGT: Promoting Good Governance in the Forest Sector”, part of a regional project funded by DFID via FERN, awarded a total fund of EUR 132,000;

ii) Project “Strengthening the capacity of CSOs and forest-dependent communities to effectively participate in the VPA process, awarded a total fund of over EUR 127,000 by EU FAO FLEGT Program;

iii) Project “Promoting FLEGT in Southeast Asia through proactive CSO engagement”, awarded a total fund of over EUR 437,000 by the EU.

In addition, the findings of 2 researches conducted by VNGO-FLEGT network in 2013 including i) Livelihood Impact Assessment on the livelihood of vulnerable communities (LIA) and ii) Research on the implementation of Laws on Forest Protection and Development 2004 related to forest allocation to households and village-level communities were presented and brought up for discussion.vngocc2

Ms. Vu Thi Bich Hop, SRD’s Executive Director cum Head of VNGO-FLEGT’s steering committee and Mr. Jong Ha Bae, FAO’s Chief Representative in Vietnam

Entering in VPA negotiations in 2010, Vietnam is expected to conclude the negotiations by the end of 2014. Following every step of this process, VNGO-FLEGT has made meaningful contributions to raise people’s awareness of the VPA/FLEGT, promote consensus among different stakeholders especially forest-dependent communities as well as minimize potential negative impacts of VPA/FLEGT.

As having experience in implementing community-level activities, NGOs have become a dynamic actor in bringing the voices of forest-dependent communities to policy makers. "NGOs like ants crawling all over the place to bring knowledge and policies closer to the community. In the framework of these project, we hope to help the community better understand VPA/FLEGT as well as enhance information sharing and connection among relevant stakeholders.”, said Ms. Vu Thi Bich Hop, SRD’s Executive Director cum Head of VNGO-FLEGT’s steering committee at the workshop.

Ms. Nguyen Tuong Van, Deputy Director of the Department of Science, Technology and International Cooperation of Vietnam Administration of Forestry highly valued NGOs’ role in social critics and in facilitating consultation with different stakeholders. "The participation of NGOs in VPA / FLEGT negotiation and implementation process is not only the requirements of the EU but also is the desire of Vietnam’s Government", she said.

You can download workshop photos here and documents here.

-SRD-

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