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Opportunities to provide advices to forest policy
24 | 06 | 2007
On 16/3/2007, at the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) of Dak Lak province, a workshop sponsored by the forestry development program of Vietnam and Germany (GTZ) was conducted to discuss the annual workplan.

Attending the workshop were the experts of GTZ project, the representatives of the Forestry Department (FD) and the Information Center of Institute of Policy and Strategy for Agriculture and Rural Development (IPSARD) and delegates from DARD of Dak Lak and the Truong Thanh private enterprise.

Policy issues are a major concern of local authorities and the donors

In his opening remarks, Dr. Laslo Pancel, the Chief Technical Advisor (CTA) of GTZ project suggested that with previous successful projects and its especially important position, Dak Lak continues to be selected by GTZ for implementing project activities on forestry matters, in which supporting in policy making would become one of the top priorities.

Many comments raised at the workshop suggested that at present, the forestry policy framework is still incomplete and need to be further revised and improved. Formerly, forestry policy was mainly developed by the central institutions and implemented by the localities. In a number of cases, the central government requested the localities to participate in policy making based on comments provided by local branches/sectors and people. However, this could not achieve with high efficiency due to fund shortages. In other hand, as the reality of life especially at local level was changing rapidly, new issues emerged requesting the revision of policy framework. In this context, new policies should be tested and policy making should be further enhanced and its efficiency be strengthened.

Mr. Nguyen Van Xuan, the Deputy Director of Dak Lak’ DARD said that Dak Lak has a large forest area, with about 604,807 ha and a cover of 46.1%. The resolution of the provincial People’s Council in 2007 set out a target to increase the forest cover to 47% and 50% in 2010. This raised a question on managing in a sustainable way the natural forests and every year, forest planting and rehabilitation should reach a target of 6000-8000 ha. Currently, the major activity of the DARD of Dak Lak is to provide advices to the province as well as MARD to develop and carry out a series of the following forestry policy matters:

  • Develop plans on forestry development at provincial, district and commune levels in accordance with the law on forest protection and development;
  • Review the three categories of forests, finalise their development plans before submitting to MARD and the government for the approval;
  • Review, consolidate and further improve the existing system of state-own forestry enterprises in accordance with the Decree 200/CP.
  • Implement the forestland allocation following the beneficiary mechanism 178/QĐ in addition to implementing forest protection contracts following the state plans.
  • Implement the poor forests improvement program in accordance with the Circular 99/BNN&PTNT of MARD including the introduciton into planting the new and high yield crop varieties and the application of advance science and technologies into forest plantation.
  • Develop a proposal on forestry product processing for the period 2006-2010,

Mr. Vo Dinh Tuyen, the specialist of Foresty Department (FD) of MARD said that the 2007 is an important year for the foresty sector and that the Prime Minister has recently signed a document called the national forestry development strategy. In 2007, FD must enhance its activities to fulfill three circulars on forest allocation, forest zoning and forest inventory. The major activities of GTZ project relate to providing supports to policy making in Dak Lak with an aim to:

  • Assist the province in developing and implementing planning on forest development and protection.
  • Develop the circular 56 to provide regulations on sustainable forest management and a circular on instructing the implementation of the forest price identification decree.
  • Establish a policy network covering both national and regional levels in order to enhance information and experiences sharing among the localities and between localities with the central government to promote the efficiency in policy making and enforcement.

For the private sector, Truong Thanh enterprise recommended that in developing the policy network, GTZ should make investment in establishing a data and information sharing system as well as the forum to link all major issues together.

Participation of IPSARP

Forestry is a relatively new research area for IPSARP. However, issues regarding to forestry development have placed a strong demand on policy making which become important not only for ministries/sectors but also for localities and the livelihood of people whose lives depend on and are closely associated with forest occupation as well as forest products and wood businesses. For this requirement, it is necessary that IPSARD should more actively participate in researches to provide policy recommendations for ministries and sectors. There are a number of forestry issues that could become research topics for IPSARD as below:

  • The reforms at the end of the decade 80 relating to policies implemented as top priority for agricultural sector while in this period the forestry sector faced with a lot of constraints on policy and mechanism.
  • Export of wood and forestry products has for some years now obtained a new breakthrough and a strong growth, achieving a value of about 2 billion USD, which is much higher than the values recorded for any other farm products. In this case, can the forestry sector become a strong forefront in the overall agricultural sector in the future? Issues relating to domestic market, sources of materials, international market, the sustainable growth and export prospect… are requiring in-depth analysis to be undertaken in a scientific way.
  • At present, a number of forestry policies enacted are found not reasonable and therefore demanding some revisions. To this respect, MARD in collaboration with donors and local authorities is carrying out a policy test in a number of localities. These tests, however need to be further analyzed, assessed and consolidated in order to support policy making and policy enforcement at larger scale.
In Dak Lak, some pilot projects on forestry are being implemented by GTZ commonly in the form of supporting trade activities, developing a forestry policy network, testing benefit sharing models in community-based forest development and other related policy models. The lessons-learnt developed from these practices should be further discussed, analyzed and updated to the leaders at different levels so as to enhance the institutionalization of these tests.

Pham Quang Dieu
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