On 22 June 2018, RECOFTC Viet Nam Country Program (VCP) in collaboration with VNFOREST and supported by RAFT, held a Consultation Workshop on the draft Circular on sustainable forest management guidance. This is a new Circular replacing Circular 38 on sustainable forest management which was issued in 2014. The event was attended by participants from The Vietnam Administration of Forestry (VNFOREST) – the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the Provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, forest enterprises, stakeholders from the private sector and forestry projects, relevant NGOs, and forest owners and practitioners.

After an in-depth review of forest-related policies and action plans existing in Vietnam (2015-2020), gaps and contradictions were identified and participants agreed on the need to formulate a new Circular to replace Circular 38. The new Circular must be one that is in line with international standards on Sustainable Forest Management, and that responds at best to current country needs and requirements. Emphasis was put on SFM plans for households, communities and individuals, and the need to simplify verification processes, as well as separate SFM plans for specialised forests, protection forests and production forests.

The next steps forward towards an updated national policy will include the collection of national comments on the new Circular within 60 days before its finalisation. Its entering into force is expected on 1 January 2019.