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Việt Nam improves the legality of imported timber

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Workers package furniture for export at a factory in Việt Nam. Việt Nam and the EU agreed the Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA/FLEGT), and the Vietnamese Government has carried out various activities to enhance timber legality in the supply chain. Photo courtesy Lê Thị Mỹ Thuyên

ĐÀ NẴNG – Germany’s International Co-operation Agency (GIZ) launched an e-training course on the due diligence system (DDS) for timber imports into Việt Nam, promoting principles of due diligence and its application in business activities of timber operators.

The training course comprises a combination of theory and exercises developed based on real-life cases, and the Volunteer Partnership Agreement on Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (VPA/FLEGT).

GIZ said the online course is commissioned by the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), and co-financed by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) of the United Kingdom.

It is a joint initiative implemented by GIZ and Preferred by Nature – an accredited research organisation in the forestry sector formerly known as NEPCon. 

“Many countries, including Việt Nam, require enterprises to exercise due diligence. Due diligence requires enterprises to be responsible for their timber supply chains and to respect legality requirements. Taking the DDS e-training course will enable participants to learn about the Viet Nam Timber Legality Assurance System (VNTLAS). The course also gives participants practical insights on how to set up due diligence systems for their own enterprises,” said Anja Barth, Project Coordinator and Chief Technical Advisor of the GIZ/Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD)’s project.

As the representative of the timber industry, the Việt Nam Timber and Forest Product Association (VIFOREST) is supporting the Government to build capacity for timber enterprises, helping them to meet international standards on sustainable development.

“By signing the VPA/FLEGT, the Government of Việt Nam has committed to eliminate illegal timber. Each Vietnamese enterprise should be well equipped to practise due diligence for the sake of their own survival and of the timber community in Việt Nam,” said Ngô Sỹ Hoài, Vice-chairman and Secretary General of VIFOREST.

The Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA/FLEGT) between Việt Nam and the EU entered into effect in June 2019. Since then, the Vietnamese Government has carried out various activities to enhance timber legality in the supply chain. The issuance of Decree 102/2020/ND-CP on the Vietnam Timber Legality Assurance System (VNTLAS) in October 2020 was a crucial milestone of the VPA process in Việt Nam. It is expected to raise the reputation of Vietnamese timber products in international markets while promoting the industry’s development. However, implementation of the Decree is facing challenges due to new requirements under the VNTLAS and the VPA.

GIZ is collaborating with the Việt Nam Administration of Forestry to support Vietnamese stakeholders through various capacity building activities.

GIZ and VIFOREST organised five pilot training modules on due diligence for more than 200 participants from timber enterprises and associations in key timber processing hubs, such as Nghệ An, Bình Định, Đồng Nai, Bình Dương and HCM City between December of 2020 and April of 2021. Based on the participants’ feedback, the training modules were improved and converted into the free DDS e-training course, which is accessible to anyone with an interest in the timber trade.

The free online course offers a sustainable capacity building solution available to a wide range of timber operators and other stakeholders. Verification agencies, including forest protection departments and customs authorities, are encouraged to take the course. Their active participation in enforcing the legal compliance of timber importers is an integral part of the VPA process in Việt Nam.

The project is implemented by GIZ and the Việt Nam Administration of Forestry (VNFOREST).

Source: https://vietnamnews.vn/environment/1035877/viet-nam-improves-the-legality-of-imported-timber.html

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USAID-funded Mekong Delta Coastal Habitat Conservation project launched

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A view of Phú Quốc island in Mekong Delta’s Kiên Giang Province. — VNA/ Photo 

HÀ NỘI — A workshop took place both virtually and in-person in Hà Nội on Thursday to launch the Mekong Delta Coastal Habitat Conservation project, which was announced during US Vice President Kamala Harris’ visit to Việt Nam in August.

The workshop was co-organised by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), and the Directorate of Fisheries under the Vietnamese Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

With a planned budget of up to US$2.9 million provided by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the project, running from August 2021 to July 2024, aims to protect key coastal habitats in the Mekong Delta region of Việt Nam to increase the sustainability of fisheries, enhance climate change adaptation, and improve biodiversity conservation.

By partnering with businesses, provincial governments, the management board of Phú Quốc Marine Protected Area (MPA) of Phú Quốc National Park in Kiên Giang Province and fishing communities, the project will work to mitigate threats to coastal biodiversity and fisheries, and enhance coastal resilience in the region.

IUCN Việt Nam Country Representative Jake Brunner said the project would help pilot and build new policies as well as open up new opportunities on finance.

Geographically, the project’s activities will focus on the delta’s lowest lying and most vulnerable coastlines along the East and West Seas, Phú Quốc MPA, and three small island clusters of Hải Tặc, Bà Lụa and Nam Du.

The Mekong Delta and its islands are home to 70 per cent of Việt Nam’s mangroves and 90 per cent of its seagrass beds. Fed by the sediment and nutrients from the Mekong River, these habitats support Việt Nam’s richest fishing grounds, but are also under growing threat.

The delta’s mangrove forests, which provide nursery habitat for sea bass, snapper, and other commercially important species, and important protection for coastal communities from storm surges, are declining due to sea level rise.

The delta’s crucial fishery habitats are further threatened by environmental pressures including prolonged droughts, rising temperatures, and aquaculture demand for groundwater, and intensive near-shore fishing which has depleted fish stocks, causing cascading ecological damage.

The main components of the project include strengthening management of Phú Quốc MPA for more effective habitat and species conservation; establishing a network of locally managed marine areas to protect coral reefs, seagrass beds in three island clusters; and exploring solutions to conserve and expand mangrove forests to increase fish nursery habitat and coastal biodiversity.

It is expected that the project’s outcomes will contribute to addressing the systemic threats in the Mekong Delta, in support of ongoing measures being taken by the Government of Việt Nam, such as the revised Fisheries Law, 2018 Resolution 36, Resolution 120, and 2019 Planning Law.

Director of the Directorate of Fisheries Trần Đình Luân said one of the current challenges was to protect the marine environment without affecting the livelihoods of local people.

The project was among concrete steps to raise people’s awareness of sustainable development in coastal areas, he stated.

Quảng Trọng Thao, Deputy Director the Kiên Giang Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said the implementation of the project would be of great significance as it would look toward the engagement of many stakeholders in protecting the living environment, such as the community, local businesses, international organisations, managers, and scientists. —

Source: https://vietnamnews.vn/environment/1063738/usaid-funded-mekong-delta-coastal-habitat-conservation-project-launched.html

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Hanoi faces waste storage crisis

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Xuan Son Landfill in Hanoi’s Son Tay Town stopped receiving waste from October 6 due to overloading. Local authorities have had to move all rubbish to the Nam Son Landfill in Soc Son District which is also reaching full capacity.

Xuan Son Landfill has closed due to overloading


The city is facing a rubbish treatment crisis.

In an urgent report announced by the managers of the Xuan Son Landfill, all three tailings ponds built to contain wastewater from buried rubbish at the landfill have already reached their capacity. The ponds now contain about 54,000 cubic metres of wastewater while some 3,000 cubic metres more are kept in temporary containers.

“We’ve been trying to collect the wastewater spill from the overloaded tailings ponds,” the report said. “The problems have been temporarily curbed and we have started a 10-day pilot plan to receive 500 tonnes of waste a day from October 20.”

The managers have also proposed to build more tailings ponds on a 5.6-hectare area in Ba Vi District.

Over the past two weeks, authorities in Son Tay Town have had to gather rubbish in temporary areas while the Xuan Son Landfill closed. Families in some areas have been asked to keep rubbish in their homes as there were no public places to put the waste.

At present, the capital has two landfills, Xuan Son and Nam Son, which are all treating waste by burying. Both of these landfills have constantly operated beyond their capacity and are now already overloaded.

The Xuan Son Landfill used to deal with 1,400 tonnes of rubbish a day which was 230 tonnes higher than their capacity.

In an effort to deal with the problem, Hanoi People’s Committee Vice-Chairman Nguyen Trong Dong has asked the construction department to build a new 2.2-hectare dumping site in Ba Vi District.

Meanwhile, the Soc Son Waste-to-Energy project in Nam Son Waste Treatment Complex which was expected to deal with 90 percent of waste at the Nam Son Landfill failed to finish construction as expected in September.

The project was approved in late 2017 with a total investment of VND7 trillion (USD303 million). Once completed, it will be the largest in Vietnam and the second largest in the world with a capacity of handling 4,000 tonnes of dry solid waste per day.

Speaking with the Tien Phong Newspaper, a representative from the project investor, the Hanoi-based Thien Y Environmental Energy JSC, said that they faced difficulties in employing staff due to the recent Covid-19 outbreak.

Vice-Chairman Nguyen Trong Dong urged the investor to try to put the plant into operation by March next year.

Source: Dtinews

Source: https://vietnamnet.vn/en/sci-tech-environment/hanoi-faces-waste-storage-crisis-785070.html

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Investigation launched to find killers of endangered langurs in Quảng Ngãi

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The corpses of five grey-shanked douc langurs (pygathrix cinerea) who are one of the world’s 25 most critically endangered primates. — Photo courtesy of Chí Đại 

QUẢNG NGÃI — Local ranger and police forces have been tracking illegal hunters who killed five grey-shanked douc langurs (pygathrix cinerea). The remains of the critically endangered species were found at Kon Căng forest in Kon Dốc commune of the central province’s Ba Tơ District.

The grey-shanked douc langur is listed on the International Union for Conservation of Nature red list as one of the world’s 25 most critically endangered primates. The primates can only be found in Việt Nam.

Head of Ba Tơ forest protection section, Ngô Vĩnh Phong, said remains of the five endangered primates were found by a patrol on October 8. The local rangers, police and militia recovered valuable evidence left behind by the hunters which they hope will aid their investigation. 

He said hunters had left the forest when rangers came, leaving the five corpses, one motorbike, an air tank, 53 dust shots and a silencer at the site.

Phong said the illegal hunters used handmade air guns to kill the primates, based on an examination of the bodies.  

The forest is under the management of Ba Tơ forestry private company, he added.

It’s the worst illegal hunting case of endangered wildlife in the province since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to Frankfurt Zoological Society, some 1,000 grey-shanked doucs have been found in forests of Quảng Nam, Quảng Ngãi, Bình Định, Kon Tum and Gia Lai.

According to the provincial forest department, at least three illegal logging cases have been found in protected forest areas in Phổ Phong Commune of Đức Phổ Town, Sơn Long Commune of Sơn Tây District and Long Môn Village in Minh Long District between late September and early October.

The province plans to allocate 6ha of coastal forest protection area for the development of the Dung Quất-Sa Huỳnh Road. —

Source: https://vietnamnews.vn/environment/1063234/investigation-launched-to-find-killers-of-endangered-langurs-in-quang-ngai.html

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