In Vietnam forest-related activities were in focus for Finland, in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the independence of the Republic of Finland and the Vietnam – Finland Friendship.
Throughout the year ‘Finland 100 years’ highlighted Finland’s belief in equality, democracy and taking good care of each other – under the theme “Together”. In Vietnam the jubilee year was celebrated in many important events across the country together with various actors.
Finland is known for its forest resources, industry and innovations. The Forest sector is also one of the long-term areas of cooperation between the two countries, as the first bilateral forest sector cooperation programme in Vietnam started in the mid 1990’s. Therefore, to mark the jubilee year, the Embassy of Finland, together with three partners in Vietnam, organized key forest-related activities linked to the celebration.
On 24 November the ‘Workshop on Plantation Forests and Timber Trade’, was organised in Hanoi in collaboration with ActionAid Vietnam, within the framework of the project “People’s participation in improving forest governance and poverty reduction” (PFG). The context for this was that in which Vietnam’s timber exporting potential is hindered by a shortage of supply while the domestic raw timber market is underutilized. The workshop created a platform for decision makers and stakeholders to discuss the current status, trends, and solutions to maximise the capacity of the domestic timber market, as well as the standards that domestic suppliers need to reach to meet the international market’s requirements.
According to a research report that will be presented by the Vietnam Forest Owner Association (VIFORA) presented at research which showed that, in the past 16 years, Vietnam’s timber products export turnover has increased from USD $311 million in 2000 to USD $6,926 million in 2016 – an amount 22 times larger. However, the quality of wood produced from domestic forests is still limited and a little quantity is available at the market point. These factors have impacted negatively the competitiveness of Vietnam’s timber products on the international market and prevented domestic timber exports from realising their potential.
The workshop will attract the participation of representatives from Vietnam Vifora, related Vietnamese government authorities, Finnish organisations and associations, forest rangers, Embassies and international organisations, forest-related projects, forest owners association, timber and forest products association, timber companies, forest owners, communities and media agencies.
Leading wood and forestry associations are involved, including Finnish Forest Owner Association, Handicraft and Wood Industry Association of Ho Chi Minh City (HAWA), Association of Vietnam Timber and Forest Product (VIFORES) and Vifora, participated in a panel discussion.
The project “People’s participation in improving forest governance and poverty reduction” (PFG) is funded by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland and ActionAid Vietnam. The Project aims to encourage people to participate in forest governance with the aim of creating an open and interactive forestry space. It provides opportunities for local people to participate in the national forest management information system, thereby enhancing accountability in forest governance and contributing to poverty reduction in Vietnam.
ActionAid Vietnam (AAV) is a member of the ActionAid International (AAI). AAV has implemented development programs in the poorest and most remote areas of Vietnam since 1989. AAV’s activities focus on raising the awareness, understanding and capacity of the poor and disadvantaged, so they actively participate in the economic, social and political lives of their families and their communities, to develop harmoniously, sustainably and equitably.
The PFG project works in harmony with the Forestry Sector Information System Development Project (FORMIS) which was implemented earlier – also with financial and technical assistance from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland.
The purpose of Formis (ending in 2018) is to develop a fully integrated Management Information System (MIS) for sustainable management of forest resources and in this way contribute to the alleviation of poverty in the socio-economic development framework of Vietnam.
Finland also held a launching ceremony (on 27 November) of a new Forest Resource Monitoring System (FRMS) in the forestry sector, under Vietnam’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD). FRMS has been developed under the framework of MIS, contributing to a more efficient forest resources monitoring and forestry management work nationwide.
Furthermore, a Tree Planting Ceremony was organized on 25 November. ‘100 Trees for Finland’ is an activity jointly organized by the Embassy of Finland in Hanoi and the Hanoi People’s Committee celebrating the jubilee year. The Finns have a saying: “Who has planted a tree has not lived in vain!” The organisers planted 100 trees at roundabout of Tran Thai Tong St., Ton That Thuyet St. and Pham Van Bach St. to highlight also the importance of green and sustainable cities.
Chairman Nguyen Duc Chung expessed his gratitude to Finland for donating 100 trees to Hanoi, and stated his hopes that with the efforts of the authorities and the people, Ha Noi will reach the target of planting 1 million trees by 2020.
“These 100 trees will be green in the near future, making a remarkable place of Finland in the heart of Hanoi. This will also be a symbol of good friendship and cooperation that the two countries will continue to develop and strengthen”, Mr. Nguyen. Duc Chung emphasized.
Speaking at the ceremony, H.E. Excellency ambassador Kari Kahiluto affirmed that planting trees is not only a traditional symbol of respect and continuity but also a practical action to protect the environment, contributing to the program of planting one million trees in Hanoi. This is also an action to mitigate climate change and improve the urban environment.
Mr. Kari Kahiluoto added that cooperation in forestry has been and will continue to be an important area of cooperation between Finland and Vietnam. At the same time, the planting of 100 trees will keep Hanoi a green city and a place to live for generations in the future.