Prime Minister calls for greater efforts to protect forests

Saturday, 2017-10-14 16:54:09
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PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc speaking at the conference
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NDO - Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has urged relevant authorities to step up their efforts to protect forests and hold those failing to prevent forest destruction accountable as he chaired a national conference on forest management on October 14.

According to official reports, Vietnam’s total forest area in 2016 increased by nearly 316,000 hectares from the previous year, but the forest area in the Central Highlands continued to dwindle.

During the 2012-2017 period, the area of forests destroyed illegally accounted for 11% of total forest loss due to both illegal logging and forest conversion into other purposes.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development said that illegal forest destruction remains a grave issue in a number of provinces with many large-scale forest clearing incidents going undetected over a long period of time, especially in the Central Highlands.

The ministry pointed out several reasons for this situation, including the forest owners’ loose management and dishonest reports on forest loss as well as local authorities’ failure to fulfil their duties adequately.

Speaking at the conference, Prime Minister Phuc stated that Vietnam’s forest coverage has improved, but expressed his concerns over on-going deforestation in the Central Highlands and excessive forest conversion in some places.

He reaffirmed the role of forests in economic development, national defence and environmental protection, adding that protecting and growing forests are a major task for the authorities at all levels.

Therefore he called measures and sanctions strong enough to restore law and order in forest protection.

PM Phuc also asked relevant authorities to take necessary action to achieve the forest coverage ratio of 42% by 2020, urging authorities to strictly comply with the government’s order to close all forest and not exploit natural forests.

Other actions include halting projects that convert natural forests into agricultural farms or small hydropower plants and revoking licences of economic projects that fail to plant replacement forests or withhold payments for forest environmental services.