Hanoi, Viet Nam, 15th June 2017—40 Customs Department and Forest Protection Department (FPD) officers commenced a training programme today to increase their understanding of the requirements for a legal timber trade and how to distinguish regulated and prohibited timber in trade.
In the workshop, co-ordinated by TRAFFIC and the Viet Nam Administration of Forestry (VNForest), participants focused on the principles and policies relating to timber trade, and had the opportunity to practice their skills at identifying different timber species using the specifically developed timber identification guide.
Lê Văn Bách, Director of the Department of Forest Production Management, delivers his opening speech on the principles and policies relating to legal timber trade
The training, within the Responsible Asia Forestry and Trade 3 programme (RAFT3), was delivered at a critical time for Viet Nam as the country signed a major bilateral agreement to improve governance and promote the trade of legally produced timber and its products. As part of the implementation of the agreement, Viet Nam will need to meet new and revised requirements related to due diligence, legality frameworks and ensure its officials are trained to be able to correctly identify the difference between legal and illegal timber.
Le Van Bach, Director of the Department of Forest Production Management (VNForest), said at the programme opening, “We must recognize that to tackle the problems around timber trade, it is important to initiate a joint effort from many individuals and organizations. The trade in timber involves many different species, and for Customs and FPD to have the tools and expertise to identify a wide range of timber species comfortably will be highly valuable. This will continue to permit Viet Nam to play a key role in ensuring that only legal trade of species takes place. This will safeguard our children’s future, and their children’s children’s future to be able to continue to benefit from our beautiful (Vietnamese) forests.”
Madelon Willemsen, Head of TRAFFIC’s Viet Nam office added, “Wildlife trafficking is a global, multi-billion-dollar a year industry, with a significant amount of this revenue coming from the illicit trade of timber. Illegal timber harvesting destroys habitats, accelerates climate change, and funds criminal networks. Therefore, we, VNForest and the Responsible Asia Forestry and Trade (RAFT) partnership are working together to ensure that timber trade is legally and responsibly managed towards sustainable trade. While the officers have a sound level of proficiency in this line of work, the outcomes from this training programme will build on their skills to help strengthen the region’s progress in protecting forestry.”
The RAFT3 partnership works with partners in Viet Nam to strengthen policy and capacity for sustainable forest management and support Viet Nam’s role as a market for responsibly sourced timber. This includes helping Viet Nam’s burgeoning timber industry to boost its capacity to classify and identify legal timber for export to overseas markets.