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PROSPER project closing workshop

On February 10, 2023, the Association of Smallholder Forest Certification Groups of Quang Tri (SFCG) and MCNV jointly held a closing workshop for the project “Promoting sustainable partnerships between CSOs and enterprises for sustainable forestry management in the context of climate change” (PROSPER project) co-funded by the European Union and MCNV.

After three years of implementation, PROSPER project has achieved a number of significant outcomes that profoundly impact the implementation of sustainable forestry development plan of Quang Tri province.

The Quang Tri SFCG Association, consisting of 43 member units and community groups are deeply involved in the process of reducing emissions and paying for forest environmental services. With about 2,880 hectares of FSC® certified acacia plantations, annually the Association’s member units directly contribute to emissions reduction through changes in silviculture techniques of forest owners. The Quang Tri SFCG Association is also the first association of this model in Vietnam that has linked member units of planted forests and community-managed natural forests to participate in the FSC certification system.

Thanks to PROSPER project, 2,145 hectares of natural forests of five member units in the mountainous area, which contribute to sequestrating 7,000 tons of CO2 annually, were granted FSC certification for ecosystem services.

With over 5,000 hectares of acacia plantations and natural forests certified with FSC, more than 3,700 farmers from lowland and upland communities, smallholder groups and cooperatives have participated in supplying raw materials to the FSC market, including acacia wood and non-timber forest products such as bamboo, tung seeds, black locust and dried bamboo-shoots.

Quang Tri province has approved the Plan 237/KH-UBND on the development of production associated with processing and consumption of tung oil in the period of 2023 – 2026 with a vision to 2030, with the target of producing about 4,000 tons of tung seeds, equivalent to a commercial value of about 50 billion VND per year for farmers in the mountainous areas.

Five SFCG Association’s member units in the mountainous areas are approaching the voluntary payment for 7,000 tons of CO2 with a rate of 10 Euros for one ton of CO2, totally equivalent to about 1.5 billion VND per year. This model can be replicated to create opportunities for communities managing natural forests to better perform their tasks in emission reduction and forest development.

With an output of about 30,000 tons of FSC-certified bamboo, Quang Tri province has the opportunity to create a raw material area for WWS enterprise to produce about 10,000 tons of bamboo biochar per year. This will create a commercial value of about VND 50 billion for farmers and contribute to the long-term sequestration of 20,000 tons of CO2 annually in the form of biochar.

The community-based tourism model based on community-managed natural forests certified with FSC for ecosystem services opens up opportunities for community livelihood development associated with sustainable forest management. The initial results have contributed to Resolution No. 02-NQ/HU on conservation and promotion of cultural values of ethnic minorities in Huong Hoa district.

MCNV Vietnam Country Director, Pham Dung, speaks at the workshop.

In his opening speech, MCNV Vietnam Country Director, Mr.Pham Dung said: The PROSPER project represents an effort of MCNV in expanding the organization’s assistance for Quang Tri, one of the organization’s strategic partners, to the field of climate change response.

Mr.Pham Dung highlighted PROSPER as a key project of MCNV, in the context of increasing replication of forest smallholders FSC certification in various localities. This is a model which has been pioneered by Quang Tri, in order to effectively implement the Government’s policy on land and forests allocation to the community for management.

On this occation, MCNV Country Director expressed sincere thank to EU, Quang Tri SFCG Association, Quang Tri Provincial People’s Committee, People’s Committee of Huong Hoa district and other participating districts and communes; management agencies such as the provincial Department of Agriculture and and Rural Development, the provincial police force and border guards; the Department of Foreign Affairs; the Committee for Ethnic Minority Affairs, Forest Management Board, fellow NGOs such as WWF, enterprises.

He especially appreciated the participation of forests smallholders, groups, families and individuals for their excellent contribution to PROSPER project! “Your participation is the critical factor that decides the success of the project!” he said.

Mr.Pham Trong Ho, Vice Chairman of Huong Hoa district’s People’s Committee, gives his speech at the workshop.

Speaking at the workshop, Mr.Pham Trong Ho, Vice Chairman of Huong Hoa district’s People’s Committee, expressed his appreciation for MCNV’s unwavering support for the people of Quang Tri in 55 years.

He emphasized that despite being implemented in a short period of time, PROSPER has generated breakthrough outcomes for Huong Hoa district, paving a new path in the field of community forest management, livelihood development for mountainous communities, development of planted forests along with protection forests and especially contributing to carbon emission reduction.

“We think that PROSPER has generated models that worth replicating via incorporating into national target programs, as well as mobilizing resources from development projects and enterprises working in the provinces”, he said.

A field visit to the ‘Tungs tree and indigenous tree plantation model” made prior to the closing workshop.

Quang Tri has been a pioneering province in engaging smallholders in SFM and FSC. In 2014, the Quang Tri Smallholder Forest Certification Group (SFCG) Association became the first smallholder in Vietnam that was recognized as a legal entity and certified for FSC.

PROSPER project was co-funded by the European Union (EU) and MCNV with total value of EUR 800,000 (USD 898,000), February 2020 – February 2023 period, aiming to promote sustainable partnership between CSOs and enterprises for sustainable forest management in the context of climate change.

In Vietnam, sustainable forest management (SFM) and forest certification (FSC) are two among five areas of the global and national Action Plan of Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD+).

Sustainable management of natural resources in the context of climate change requires good governance and commitment of local communities to engaging in environmentally responsible plans for land and forest use./.