The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA)’s technical cooperation in natural resource management in Vietnam has really helped as the country’s forest coverage rose significantly over the past years.
The integration of JICA’s past and on-going cooperation in this sector has been largely shown through Sustainable Natural Resource Management (SNRM) project that is aimed to promote multiple benefits to about 25 million people involved in five provinces of Dien Bien, Lai Chau, Son La, Hoa Binh, and Lam Dong.
Results from the five-year project (August 2015-January 2021) include (1) Managing and conserving forest resources with the participation of local people; (2) Tracking forest changes effectively by applying the latest technology; (3) Implementing forest management and improving livelihoods through cooperation with Japanese private enterprises; and (4) Managing forests in the role of responding to climate change and making use of external funds to perform that role.
Representatives of JICA, Vietnam’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD), Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MONRE), project recipients, international organizations, and Japanese private firms have shared the aforementioned results at a workshop on Friday.
The project’s overall purpose is to enhance the national capacity for sustainable natural resource management by focusing on forests, biodiversity, and people who depend on them.
Accordingly, SNRM focuses on supporting policies for storing biodiversity information in a National Biodiveristy Database System (NBDS) which is indispensable for implementation of biodiversity conservation policy; sharing knowledge in Forest Resources Monitoring System (FRMS); building capacity that enables full implementation of REDD+ activities at the national level as well as the provincial level; and supporting the implementation of collaborative management on biodiversity.
Role of forest in Vietnam
Vietnam possesses the diversity of forest ecosystem that includes evergreen broad-leaved forests, semi-deciduous forests on high and low mountains, mixed evergreen coniferous forest, angroves, bamboos, among others.
But the over-exploitation and unsustainable management of forests have resulted in the sharp fall of forest area from to 28% in 1995 43% in 1943.
Since then, the government has paid due attention to afforestation and restoration that prompt the forest area to nearly 40% so far. Although the forest area is on the rise, it is necessary to improve quality of the forest and to realize sustainable forest management and importance of biodiversity conservation.
Given the fact that nearly 25 million people are living in the forest areas and depending partly or largely on the forest resources for their livelihood, SNRM is important not only to environmental aspects such as biodiversity conservation, watershed protection, disaster prevention and climate change mitigation and adaptation, but also to green growth, development of rural area and poverty alleviation.
At the Vietnamese National Assembly’s month-long plenary in October 2020, deputies called on the government to work more on forest restoration while Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc highlighted the importance of forest in preventing natural disasters.
In 2010-2015, JICA had also carried out technical support for Sustainable Forest Management in the Northwest Watershed Areas (SUSFORM-NOW) project in Vietnam.
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