PM asks for clarifying responsibility in forest management

Hanoi (VNA) – Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has
asked for clarifying specific responsibilities of local authorities, Party
units, collectives and individuals in forest management and protection via
strict measures.

Chairing a nationwide teleconference on October 14, the PM lauded
the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD), the Ministry of Natural
Resources and Environment, agencies and localities for protecting and expanding
forest coverage. The forestry value rose an average of 6.75 percent while
forest wood cultivation increased three-fold and wood export hit 7.3 billion
USD.

He expressed his concern over illegal logging in the Central
Highlands due to loose management and irresponsibility of several officials and
cadres.

According to the MARD, there were 14.37 million ha of
forests nationwide in 2016, up 315,826ha from 2015. However, forest coverage in
the Central Highlands fell by 3,170ha annually to more than 2.55 million ha in
2016.

From 2012-2017, as many as 4,218ha of forests were cut down
illegally, accounting for 11 percent of the total lost via legal violations and
forest-use change. In the first nine months this year, 1,697 cases of illegal
logging were discovered, 757 of them were in the Central Highlands. Up to 418ha
of forests were damaged in the region, up 53 percent year-on-year from 2016.

In the Central Highlands province of Dak Nong alone, 225ha
of forests were destroyed in nine months, up 99ha from 2016.

About future tasks, the PM asked departments and agencies to
closely follow the Resolution on sustainable forest protection and development
adopted by the 12th National Party Congress, considering it as an important
solution to create jobs, improve local income and raise forest coverage by 42
percent by 2020.

He requested continuing to shut down natural forest gates,
strictly monitor projects on forest-use change in line with Decree No.13 of the
Secretariat and the PM’s directions, suspend changing natural forest use to
cultivation of industrial and agricultural trees and construction of small
hydropower plants, among others.

Localities were required to direct inspecting, investigating
and dealing with violations in line with the law and free migration, especially
in the Central Highlands.

The PM asked for determinedly revoking licenses, halting
socio-economic projects that fail to fulfil forestation duty and pay forest environment
fees, particularly in the region.-VNA



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