Foreign donors back forestry vision

(VNS)- International donors and non-government organisations yesterday backed Viet Nam’s forestry development strategy and promised financial and technical assistance to help it become reality. Nineteen international organisations will pour funds into nine key areas of the Forest Sector Support Programme (FSSP), although they have yet to put a figure on the actual sum.
The donors are the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation, the European Union, the United Nations Development Programme, Japan’s Bank for International Co-operation, and governments of the Netherlands, Finland, Sweden, Switzerland, Germany, and Denmark.
Non-government organisations committed to involvement are Birdlife International, Oxfam Great Britain, the World Conservation Union, CARE international in Viet Nam, SNV-Netherlands Development Organisation, World Wide Fund for Nature and Fauna and Flora International in Viet Nam.
These organisations yesterday confirmed their commitments made in a memorandum of understanding in November last year.
The 2001-10 forestry development strategy will cover six key development programmes.
The five million ha reforestation programme, already underway, is critical as it aims to increase national forest cover to 43 per cent.
Two million hectares of protective and special-use forests will be planted as part of this goal, with a further 3 million ha given over to productive forests used for paper, timber, industrial cash crops and fruit trees.
The plan-aims to use any denuded land for scattered tree plantation and thereby meeting the increasing demand for industrial and domestic materials. A sustainable development programme aims to break Viet Nam’s forests into two types: 6 million ha of protective forests and 2 million ha of special-use. A wood and forest product development programme aims to develop the timber industry and replace the use of natural forests with plantation trees. Planners want to create a forest resource inventory, to keep better track of statistics and disseminate them more widely among policy-makers and concerned industries.
A forest seed development programme will ensure a sufficient supply of high quality seeds of leading species, apply new and traditional technologies, use hybridisation to maintain bio-diversity and gradually apply bio technology in seed development.
Finally, a human resource development programme will train skilful workers and ensure that forest owners and households can handle new science and technology.
Finland has already pledged assistance to the FSSP office and other donors will make additional financial contributions on a voluntary basis.
The World Conservation Union will work on environmental economics and cross-sectoral environmental impact issues with the ministries of Science, Technology and the Environment and Planning and Investment.
The FSSP framework will be updated regularly and used to direct joint government-donor efforts to improve the quality of forestry in Viet Nam. The entire process will be reviewed in 2003 and again in 2006.
The World Bank, ADB and government of the Netherlands and Germany have said they will work in building policy and a legal and institutional framework to harmonise regulations governing forest land and resources.
Germany said it would take the Jead in coordinating donor support from the ADB, the UNDP and others to forestry sector administration reform at the central level.
The World Conservation Union, the Netherlands and Sweden elected to work on the sustainable use and conservation of indigenous forest flora and fauna.
They hope to have at least 80 per cent of all nurseries turning out some indigenous species by 2008.

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