New forest law excludes disadvantaged groups


Update: April, 21/2017 – 09:00
Residents of Mường Nhé District in the northern province of Điện Biên grow pineapple trees on land given to them by the Government. — VNA/VNS Photo Anh Tuấn
HÀ NỘI — Disadvantaged groups are not benefiting from the new Law on Forest and Development, experts said at a conference Wednesday in Hà Nội on amendments to the fifth draft of the Law on Forest and Development.

Although altered five times, the draft has not regulated the rights of disadvantaged groups to own and use forests, especially of the ethnic minorities who will be most affected by the law, said Lương Thị Trường, director of the Centre for Sustainable Development of Mountainous Areas (CSDM).

Her opinion was supported by Nguyễn Thế Dũng, a project coordinator from the Mekong River basin. “None of the draft law’s articles have clarified how they would protect disadvantaged groups’ access to forest resources,” he said.

The draft law only regulates forest ownership of households and communities that have been given forest areas by the Government, meaning only two million of 18 million people who live in or near forests and make their living out of them.

How to ensure the rights to own and use forests for the remaining 16 million people should be considered when making amendments to the law, he said.

His opinions touch on Article 257 of the 2015 Civil Code that came into effect on January 1, regulating the right to exploit and enjoy benefits of assets owned by others for three years, he said.

Community forestry

Statistics from the Centre for People and Forests (RECOFTC) show that some 1.5 million households and individuals in the country have received forest areas from the Government, as well as some 600 organisations and 10,000 communities.

The forest area managed by households and residential communities accounts for some 46 per cent of the country’s total.

However, as of March 2017, only 0.35 per cent of this forest area was certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), meaning that the majority of households and communities have not received proper support and incentives from the Government and enterprises for better forestry production, said Lương Quang Hùng, a RECOFTC representative.

The notion of community forestry has only appeared in pilot projects and has not been legalised in any legal document, said Nguyễn Quang Tân, another RECOFTC representative.

The significance of community forestry has not been realised since knowledge on the subject is limited, he added.

On the other hand, traditional forest management methods should be legalised to encourage residents’ participation in forest management and community forestry, he added. — VNS

This entry was posted in Economics - Kinh tế and tagged , , , , by Trần Đình Hoành. Bookmark the permalink.

About Trần Đình Hoành

I am an attorney in the Washington DC area, with a Doctor of Law in the US, attended the master program at the National School of Administration of Việt Nam, and graduated from Sài Gòn University Law School. I aso studied philosophy at the School of Letters in Sài Gòn. I have worked as an anti-trust attorney for Federal Trade Commission and a litigator for a fortune-100 telecom company in Washington DC. I have taught law courses for legal professionals in Việt Nam and still counsel VN government agencies on legal matters. I have founded and managed businesses for me and my family, both law and non-law. I have published many articles on national newspapers and radio stations in Việt Nam. In 1989 I was one of the founding members of US-VN Trade Council, working to re-establish US-VN relationship. Since the early 90's, I have established and managed VNFORUM and VNBIZ forum on VN-related matters; these forums are the subject of a PhD thesis by Dr. Caroline Valverde at UC-Berkeley and her book Transnationalizing Viet Nam. I translate poetry and my translation of "A Request at Đồng Lộc Cemetery" is now engraved on a stone memorial at Đồng Lộc National Shrine in VN. I study and teach the Bible and Buddhism. In 2009 I founded and still manage on positive thinking and two other blogs on Buddhism. In 2015 a group of friends and I founded website CVD - Conversations on Vietnam Development ( I study the art of leadership with many friends who are religious, business and government leaders from many countries. In October 2011 Phu Nu Publishing House in Hanoi published my book "Positive Thinking to Change Your Life", in Vietnamese (TƯ DUY TÍCH CỰC Thay Đổi Cuộc Sống). In December 2013 Phu Nu Publishing House published my book "10 Core Values for Success". I practice Jiu Jitsu and Tai Chi for health, and play guitar as a hobby, usually accompanying my wife Trần Lê Túy Phượng, aka singer Linh Phượng.

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