THE PRIME MINISTER OF GOVERNMENT
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SOCIALIST REPUBLIC OF VIET NAM
Independence - Freedom - Happiness
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No: 18/2007/QD-TTg

Hanoi, February 05, 2007

 DECISION

APPROVING VIETNAM'S FORESTRY DEVELOPMENT STRATEGY IN THE 2006-2020 PERIOD

THE PRIME MINISTER

Pursuant to the December 25, 2001 Law on Organization of the Government;

Pursuant to the December 3, 2004 Law on Forest Protection and Development;

At the proposal of the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development in Report No. 3309/TTr-BNN-LN of December 12, 2006,

DECIDES:

Article 1.- To approve Vietnam's Forestry Development Strategy in the 2006-2020 period with the following principal contents:

1. Actual situation of the forestry sector

By December 31, 2005, the national forest area was 12.61 million ha, including about 10.28 million ha of natural forests and 2.33 million ha of plantation forests; forest cover was 37%. Total timber deposit was 813.3 million m3 (of which 94% was from natural forests) and there were about 8.5 billion bamboo trees. While the forest area increased, the quality of natural and plantation forests remained low, failing to meet production and protection requirements. Nationwide, the area of unused land was 6.76 million ha, including 6.16 million ha of bare land, accounting for 18.59% of the country's natural area, most of which was degraded land. This is a potential for as well as a challenge to forestry development.

2. Forestry production activities in the 1996-2005 period

- Major achievements of the forestry sector

Forest protection and development work in the whole country saw some progress in preventing degradation in forest area and quality. The forest area increased from 9.30 million ha in 1995 to 11.31 million ha in 2000 and 12.61 million ha in 2005 (an average increase of 0.3 million ha a year). At present an average of about 200,000 ha are afforested annually. The annual output of timber harvested from plantation forests reaches about 2,000,000 m3, which was supplied as raw materials for processing forest products for export and domestic consumption.

The wood and forest product processing industry saw vigorous developments, step by step meeting domestic demands, making increasing contributions to export turnover and creating opportunities for the development of raw-material supply plantation forests. The export turnover of wood products rose from USD 61 million in 1996 to USD 1,035 million in 2004 and USD 1,570 million in 2005.

The forestry sector's production activities saw vigorous changes as the sector switched from a state-run sector operating under a centralized planning mechanism to a socialized one with a multi-sectoral economic structure and operating according to the mechanism of a commodity production economy. As a result, the forestry sector made active contributions to creating jobs and improving living standards for nearly 25% of Vietnam's population living in forested mountainous areas, ensuring political and social security and creating an impetus for national development in the past years.

- Problems and weaknesses

Though the forest area increased but the quality and biodiversity of natural forests continued to decrease; in some places, forests were further destroyed and the planting of production forests under Project 661 failed to keep to its schedule.

The forestry sector grew at a low rate and in an unsustainable manner, with low productivity and profits and weak competitiveness, failing to exploit all natural forest resources, particularly non-timber forest products and eco-environmental services.

3. Viewpoints, objectives and general tasks of the Forestry Development Strategy in the 2006-2020 period

Forestry is a specific econo-technical sector embracing all activities related to the production of forest commodities and provision of forest services such as protection, planting, harvest, transportation, production and processing of forest products and environmental forest services. At the same time, the forestry sector plays a very important role in protecting the environment, conserving biodiversity, and eradicating poverty and reducing poverty, especially for mountainous inhabitants, contributing to social stability, security and defense.

a/ Development viewpoints

- Forestry shall be developed in a coordinated manner from management, production, development and reasonable use of natural resources, plantation, improvement and enrichment of forests to harvest and processing of forest products, environmental services, ecotourism, etc.

- Forestry shall be developed to make considerable contributions to economic growth, hunger eradication and poverty alleviation, and environmental protection.

- To manage, use and develop forest in a sustainable manner is the foundation of forestry development.

- Forestry development shall be based on accelerating and deepening the socialization of afforestation, and attracting resources for investment in forest protection and development.

b/ Objectives toward 2020

To establish, manage, protect, develop and use in a sustainable manner 16.24 million ha of land planned for forestry; to increase the rate of land with forests to 42-43% by 2010 and 47% by 2020; to ensure wide participation of all economic sectors and social organizations in forestry development in order to make more and more contributions to socio-economic development, eco-environmental protection, conservation of biodiversity and provision of environmental services, contributing to hunger eradication and poverty alleviation and raising of living standards for rural and mountainous inhabitants and preservation of security and defense.

c/ Economic tasks

- The production value of the forestry sector (including forest product processing industry and environmental services) will grow at from 3.5% to 4% a year, striving for the target that the sector's GDP will account for 2-3% of national GDP by 2020.

- To establish, manage, protect, develop and use in a sustainable manner forests of three types, including 8.4 million ha of production forests, of which 4.15 million ha are plantation forests covering consolidated forests supplying industrial raw materials, non-timber forest products, etc., 3.63 million ha of production forests being natural forests and 0.62 million ha of regenerated natural forests for combined agro-forestry production (striving for the target that at least 30% of the area with forest certificates); 5.68 million ha of protection forests and 2.16 million ha of special-use forests.

- To afforest 1.0 million ha by 2010 and 1.5 million ha afterwards. To reforest 0.3 million ha following exploitation a year. To carry out dispersed plantations with 200 million trees a year.

- The domestic timber output will reach 20-24 million m3 a year (including 10 million m3 of big timber), basically meeting the raw materials needs of forest product processing and pulp industries and export. To meet the needs for fuel wood mainly in rural areas and maintain the level of 25-26 million m3 a year.

- The value of exported forest products will reach over USD 7.8 billion (including USD 7 billion of timber products and USD 0.8 billion of non-timber forest products).

- To increase revenues from forest environmental value through the clean development mechanism (CDM), protection of water sources, ecotourism, etc., (up to USD 2 billion).

d/ Participation in solving social problems

- To create more jobs for laborers (in the processing of timber and non-timber products and in fine-arts and handicraft villages).

- To generate incomes, contributing to eradicating poverty and reducing the number of poor households in key forestry areas.

- To complete the allocation and lease of forests and forestland to organizations, enterprises, households, individuals and village communities before 2010.

- To increase the percentage of trained forestry workforce to 50%, especially ethnic minority and poor households and women in deep-lying and remote areas.

e/ Assurance of environmental stability

- To protect forests and conserve the nature and biodiversity in order to make effective contributions to watershed protection, coastal and urban protection, natural disaster mitigation, erosion prevention, water source preservation, protection of habitats and generation of revenues from environmental services (environmental charges, reduction of carbon dioxide emissions, ecotourism, etc.).

- To increase forest cover to 42-43% by 2010 and to 47% by 2020.

- By 2010, to have new 0.25 million ha of protection and special-use forests.

- To minimize violations related to forest natural resources and restrict the slash-and-burn farming practice.

4. Development orientations

a/ Orientations on the planning for the structure of three types of forests and forestland

- For protection forests: To review and rearrange the system of national protection forests of about 5.68 million ha, including 5.28 million ha of watershed protection forests; 0.18 million ha of wavebreak and sea encroachment protection forests; 0.15 million ha of windbreak and sandbreak forests and 70,000 ha of protection forests in service of environmental protection for big cities, industrial parks and national border areas. Depending on the level of importance, it is necessary to combine protection with agro-forestry production, commercial operation of landscape sites, resort and eco-environmental tourism, and other benefits of protection forests.

- For special-use forests: To review and strengthen the system of existing national special-use forests with a total area not exceeding 2.16 million ha toward raising forest quality and biodiversity value.

- For production forests: The total area of planned production forests will be 8.4 million ha, including 3.63 million ha of natural forests and 4.15 million ha of plantation forests; importance will be attached to establishing consolidated industrial raw-material supply forest zones and managing their sustainable use for multiple purposes. The remaining area of land of 0.62 million ha planned for development of production forests will be used for forest regeneration and combined agro-forestry production.

b/ Orientations for forest management, protection, development and use

- Forest management: The entire area of 16.24 million ha of forests and forestland shall be uniformly managed on the basis of establishing permanent national forest estates according to the system of sub-areas, compartments and lots on the map and in the field. By 2010, basically all forest and forestland areas shall be allocated or leased to forest owners of all economic sectors according to the plannings and plans approved by competent authorities and to state mechanisms and policies. To modernize forest management work on the map and the field based on the wide application of information technologies, aerial photos' in forest management, statistics, inventory and monitoring of changes in natural forest resources and forestland.

- Forest protection: To determine forest protection as protection of an ever developing ecosystem while ensuring regeneration and optimal use of forests on the principle of development for protection. To attach importance to propaganda and raising awareness for administrations at all levels, all branches and everyone.

People's Committees at all levels shall organize forest protection and take responsibility for the occurrence of violations of the Law on Forest Protection and Development in localities under their management. To enhance the capacity of, and strengthen full-time and part-time forest protection forces of forest owners and village communities to be able to handle violations of forest law and cope with natural disasters such as forest fires and pests. To attach importance to inspection of the process of exploiting forest products in forests. To inspect and control the circulation and consumption of forest products is just a measure for forest protection.

To reorganize and rearrange the forest ranger force along the line of enhancing its role of giving advice to provincial, district and commune-level administrations in forest protection and forestry law enforcement. To adopt policies and regulations to prioritize and encourage the strengthening of local forest ranger forces which shall collaborate with local administrations in providing guidance for inhabitants to protect forests in each lot or compartment.

- Forest development:

+ To plan, classify and develop forests of three types (special-use forests, protection forests and production forests), combine conservation and protection with development of ecotourism, resort tourism and other environmental services.

For special-use forests, the major development orientation is to conserve forests in their original state, creating the best environmental conditions for conserving and developing endemic fauna and flora species and specific ecosystems in order to conserve gene sources and biodiversity to meet the requirements of national socio-economic development in the current period and the future.

For protection forests, planning and development aim to ensure protection requirements to the utmost, contribute to conserving biodiversity, preserving a stable balance of soil environment (preventing erosion, desertification and toxic chemical residues), water environment and climate, fighting natural disasters and ensuring sustainable socio-economic development and perpetuation of the nation.

For production forests, planning and plans shall be drawn up for their in-depth development, creation of medium and large consolidated raw-material supply zones where intensive cultivation is practiced with a view to supplying sufficient raw materials for processing industries and increasing the effectiveness of land use, productivity and quality; agro-forestry and fishery shall be combined.

+ The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development shall assume the prime responsibility for, and coordinate with other ministries and branches in, promulgating policies to encourage all economic sectors to invest in developing forests for commercial purposes, policies to prioritize and support development researches into plant varieties, wild animal species, intensive cultivation and animal raising techniques, building of forestry infrastructures, systems of prevention and fight of forest fires and prevention and control of forest pests, etc., in accordance with international commitments in which Vietnam has participated in.

To apply scientific and technological advances and perpetuating silvicultural experience of local inhabitants; to conduct forest development researches in the two major directions of improving forest tree species and applying silvicultural measures.

+ To attach importance to strongly developing dispersed plantations to promptly and effectively meet on the spot local inhabitants' needs for timber for household use and fuel wood, especially in delta and coastal areas. To step up the planting and development of non-timber forest products (rattan, bamboo, pharmaceutical materials, etc.) to meet the needs for raw materials for the production of highly competitive handicraft and fine-art goods for domestic consumption and export.

- To use forests and develop the forest product processing industry

+ Forest exploitation and use:

To rationally exploit and use forests is a silvicultural measure to regenerate forests and improve their quality; at the same time to exploit to the utmost forest environmental services to generate revenues for forest protection and development. To use natural forests in a sustainable manner according to forest management plans.

For production forests that are natural forests, to attach importance to further zoning them off for tending, improvement and enrichment in order to increase their quality to create sources of supply of big timber, other forest products and provision of environmental services after 2010. To apply the major exploitation method only to forests with rich deposits. For forests with medium and poor deposits, to attach importance to applying the exploiting, tending and enriching method; to accelerate the planting, development and use of non-timber forest resources, focusing on such advantaged product groups as rattan, bamboo articles, pharmaceutical materials, resin oil and foodstuffs; to encourage the breeding and raising of wild animals; to apply a mechanism of guiding forest owners to lawfully exploit and use non-timber forest products.

To encourage the use of fuels made of by-products from plantation forests (thinly pruned top branches, etc.), by-products of agriculture and other sources of substitute fuels with a view to minimizing the use of fuel wood from natural forests.

+ To develop the forest product processing industry

Forest product processing and trade must become the spearhead of forestry economy, develop according to the market mechanism on the basis of advanced technologies, and be highly competitive to meet export and local consumption demands. To encourage all economic sectors to actively invest in and promote the development of the forest product processing industry.

To strongly develop advantaged products in export processing. From now to 2015, to concentrate efforts on reviewing, strengthening and upgrading small- and medium-sized forest product processing industrial establishments; to develop the industry on a large scale after 2015.

To build and expand forest product processing industrial parks in areas where sufficient raw materials can be supplied in a stable manner. To step up modernization of the processing industry on a large scale, step by step develop and modernize small-scale processing industries in rural areas and traditional craft villages. To accelerate the processing of artificial boards, gradually reduce the processing of paper chips for export. To encourage the use of products from artificial boards and plantation forest timber.

+ To set orientations for export of forest products.

+ To properly organize the import of forest raw materials to meet the needs of production in service of domestic consumption and export, while increasing the plantation of forests supplying raw big timber and non-timber forest products to urgently meet the needs for raw materials for processing industries and gradually reduce dependence on imported raw materials.

+ To conduct research and training in the designing of household wood articles, renew technologies of manufacturing and processing forest products, diversify and continuously increase the quality and designs of processed products to cater for various domestic and foreign customers' tastes; to accelerate the issue of forest certificates and develop trademarks for export goods.

5. Solutions to implementing the Strategy

a/ Policy and law-related solutions

- Forest and forestland management

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