Vietnam commits to forest certification and PEFC

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“Our goal is to significantly increase the number of certified hectares in Vietnam,” said Ha Cong Tuan, Vietnam’s Vice Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD), prior to the launch of the Vietnam Forest Certification Office (VAFS) last week in Hanoi, Vietnam.

The Vietnamese government has formulated a Forestry Development Strategy to help achieve this goal. This includes the target to establish, manage, protect and sustainably use 16.2 million hectares of forestland by 2020, and to certify at least 3 million hectares by 2025.

“Sustainable forest management is a key focus of the Vietnamese government. We are prioritizing sustainable forest management in accordance with international practices, in order to increase the certified forest area by 2025,” Vice Minister Ha Cong Tuan confirmed.

The newly established office will coordinate forest certification activities in Vietnam and manage the national forest certification system, including its application to PEFC for endorsement.

Smallholders at the core of certification in Vietnam

“I am delighted about the establishment of a new Vietnamese Forest Certification Office, and we are looking forward to Vietnam becoming the 50th national member of PEFC,” commented Ben Gunneberg, CEO of PEFC International.

“We are glad to have been able to support the country in addressing a number of challenges within the forestry sector, and to assist in the development of Vietnam’s forest certification system. It is great to see that the Vietnamese system will make certification accessible to small forest owners and companies, which has been one of the challenges in the past.”

The launch of VAFS follows the approval of a project on sustainable forest management and forest certification by establishing the national forest certification system, in line with PEFC international requirements, by the Vietnamese Prime Minister last year.