In recent months, RECOFTC – The Center for People and Forests Viet Nam Country Program (VCP) has played an important role in policy improvement for replacement of Circular 38 on sustainable forest management (issued in 2014). Most recently, under policy component of the Responsible Asia Forestry & Trade (RAFT) project, VNFOREST and RECOFTC co-organized a consultation workshop on the upcoming Circular, which will replace Circular 38. Participants included members of VNFOREST’s department, provincial departments of Agriculture and Rural Development, private sector, certain forest enterprises, relevant NGOs, and forest owners.
Within RAFT 3, there are four implementing partners: Viet Nam Administration of Forestry (VNFOREST), World Wide Fund for Nature in Viet Nam (WWF-Viet Nam), RECOFTC – The Center for People and Forests, and TRAFFIC International in Viet Nam.
The workshop was the final in a series of activities conducted by VNFOREST and RECOFTC since 2016 under the RAFT 3 project, which seeks to ensure that legal and responsible logging is conducted and that Sustainable Forest Management (SFM) can become more robust in Viet Nam. As part of a larger analysis of four policies, the findings came to a conclusion that it is a necessity to formulate a new circular to replace Circular 38 in order to meet the requirements of SFM in Viet Nam.
The workshop began with a brief summary of Circular 38’s implementation, which recognized the positive and negative influences of the policy. Following the discussion, the new circular was introduced in which recommendations from the policy review have been included. The new Circular emphasized that there are separate SFM plans for specialized forests, protection forests, production forest; there are plans for households, communities, individuals and for forest owners of more than 2 forest types as well. Furthermore, the circular includes a detailed guideline for SFM plan building, verification and approval.
To ensure a participatory reflection, inputs were collected from the workshop’s participants, including comments on the SFM plans for households, communities and individuals. Additional comments were made regarding the simplification of procedures as well.
For the next 60 days, the circular is open for national comments. The official circular is tentatively set to activate on 1 January 2019.