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Specified risks related to 16 sub-categories
Full Timber Legally Risk Assessment ENList of Applicable Legislation EN-VNTimber Mitigation Guide ENDocument Guide ENHướng Dẫn Giảm Thiểu Rủi Ro Tại Việt Nam VN
The forestry sector in Viet Nam contributed USD 12.5 billion to the economy in 2020. The forest sector is growing as Viet Nam becomes a major international manufacturing country.
Forest classification types
The 2013 Land Law classifies forest land as a type of agricultural land. Forests (including natural forests and planted forests) are divided into three main types based on the primary purpose of use:
According to the statistical data from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, 2020, the areas of each type of forest as of 2020 are as below:
Forest ownership and use rights
The Law on Forestry (2017) has institutionalized the concept of forest ownership (Article 7); accordingly, two categories of forest ownership are defined:
Besides, the new Law on Forestry (2017) defines "forest owner" as either an organization or a household, an individual or a local community to whom the State allocates or leases forest/ land for afforestation, restoration, development of forest by their own, who is transferred, donated, inherits a forest following legal provisions. There are 7 types of forest owners:
Forest owners can use forests allocated or leased to them and own planted production forests recognized by competent state agencies. Forest owners are responsible for managing, protecting, developing, the sustainable use of forests; and fulfilling financial and other obligations according to the law.
As of 2020, of the country's 14,677,215 ha of forests, natural forests account for about 70%, with the rest being planted forests, mostly for timber.
20% of the forests are managed by Communal People's Committees (CPCs). At the same time, the remaining forest have been allocated to groups such as forest management boards (35.5%), households/individuals (21.8%), economic organizations (except foreign-invested enterprises) (11.7%), village communities (8%), forestry-related science and technology, training and vocational education organizations (1.6%), armed units (1.3%) and foreign-invested enterprises (0.15 percent). This means that the private institutions of households and communities currently manage only just over 29 percent of forests, with the rest being dominated by state organizations.
Forest administrative management in Viet Nam is highly centralized. The Viet Nam constitution provides the fundamental and the highest-level law of the land. The government and the National Assembly issue all laws and policies. Currently, the forest management is governed by the Law on Forestry of Viet Nam, which was issued in 2017 and came into force on 1 January 2019, replacing the 2004 Forest Protection and Development Law (FPDL) . The new forestry law aims to improve forest governance, clarify the rights and responsibilities of different forest owners, provide for more extensive ownership for forest investors, and safeguard the rights of local communities to their spiritual or sacred forests. It will formalize the Payment for Forest Environmental Services (PFES) system policies and sustainable forest management and certification and restructure state management in the forestry sector.
Under the Law on Forestry, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) is the focal point in performing the state management of forestry. Currently, the Viet Nam Administration of Forestry (VNFOREST) is the agency under MARD, advising and assisting MARD in state management tasks on forestry and managing and instructing public service activities under their management scope. MARD works closely with other ministries, including the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MONRE), the Ministry of Public Security and the Ministry of National Defence in forest management and protection, and preventing and combating illegal activities about forestry. There is also a hierarchical system from the central to the provincial, district, and communal levels to guide and oversee the implementation and compliance of the legislation.
Deforestation in Viet Nam is largely driven by infrastructure improvements to support a rapidly developing economy and to make room for agricultural cultivation to support rural communities, which make up 65.6% of the population. Viet Nam had a total loss of 9.3% (625,810 ha) of the primary forest between 2001-2018. The total loss of primary forest was approximately 28,632ha/year between 2001 and 2010 and 46,014ha/year between 2011 and 2018 . Further underlying causes are poor governance, lack of tenure rights for local communities, ineffective enforcement of laws, and increasing market demand for crops and monoculture products .
The Viet Nam Government has been imposing a partial logging ban in natural forests since 1993. The logging ban aims to minimize forest degradation and prevent the conversion of natural forest land to other uses. Although there have been different stages and methods of implementation so far, the logging ban is still in force and has been institutionalized in the new Law on Forestry. In 2016, the Prime Minister extended the ban to include FSC-certified forests in the Central Highlands, a deforestation hotspot. On January 12th, 2017, the Party Central Committee issued Directive No. 13-CT/TW on strengthening the leadership of the Party at all levels in forest management, protection, and development. In this Directive, emphasis is given to the restriction of forest conversion (except those projects that serve either national defense and security or other special purposes decided by the Government); the logging ban on the country's natural forest is active.
Despite the logging ban in natural forests, there have been thousands of reported cases of rampant illegal logging, especially in the Central Highlands and even in national parks . This is mainly due to ineffective law enforcement and weak monitoring systems.
Corruption and governance
According to Transparency International's 2020 Corruption Perceptions Index, which measures perceived levels of public sector corruption in countries around the world using a score of 0–100 (where 0 is highly corrupt and 100 is very clean), Viet Nam is ranked 104th out of 180 countries assessed. It scored a corruption index of 36, meaning it has a high perception of corruption . Viet Nam has performed consistently poorly on Transparency International's Corruption Perceptions Index, although there has been some improvement given Viet Nam ranked 123 out of 176 countries in 2012.
Given a high perception of corruption and middle-low overall governance according to the World Bank Worldwide Governance Indicators (WGI), the risk of corruption on the forest sector is high, especially in the payment of forest environmental services (PFES), logging and conversion of forest use and forest land.
Corruption in forestry takes different forms: the participation and benefits from illegal timber logging and trading of state officials or the conversion of forest land usage to create personal benefits. Although Viet Nam has the legal framework and tools to control corruption, the lack of a monitoring system and transparent management tools for related forest resources leaves room for corruption. This also leads to most forestry-related complaints are about conflicts in land-use rights.
Illegal logging and trade in illegal timber is a serious problem in Viet Nam and several legality risks are present in Vietnamese timber supply chains. It has been estimated that 30,000-50,000 forest violations are reported per year, and the volume of high-risk imports in 2013 was estimated to be 2.3 million m3 (18% of the country’s wood-based imports) (Chatham House, 2014). Risks of illegal timber produced in Viet Nam are wide-ranging and relate to land tenure, taxes and fees, timber harvesting activities, and trade and transport. If you are sourcing timber from Viet Nam you should take care to ensure the risks identified are not present in your supply chains or have been sufficiently mitigated.
Timber harvest and imports
Wood sourced from Viet Nam forests mostly originates from plantations. According to MARD (2019), the Viet Nam "mass" plantation forests (i.e., not including scattered trees) produced about 16 million m3 of logs in 2019, which is mainly used for processing by the domestic industry. Species most used in forest plantations are Acacia (Acacia spp.), Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus spp.) , and rubber. Viet Nam imported more than 448 species of timber from over 100 countries and territories in 2020. In 2020, Viet Nam's wood processing industry imported round wood and sawn wood equivalent to nearly 5 million cubic meters.
Rubberwood in Viet Nam
Rubberwood is a major source of timber in Viet Nam. The amount of domestic rubberwood in Viet Nam meets more than 95% of the demand for rubberwood materials and about 6% - 14% of the total demand for timber from plantations in Viet Nam. Rubberwood also contributed up to 22% of total timber and timber products exports from Viet Nam in 2019. The rubber tree in Viet Nam is classified as a multi-purpose plant grown on forest land and other agricultural land. In 2019, the total rubber plantation area was approximately 941.3 thousand ha, 23.7% of which is on forest land, and the rest 76.3% is on another agricultural land.
Domestically harvested rubberwood originates from four producers: the state-owned Viet Nam Rubber Group (VRG); enterprises managed by Provincial People's Committee (PPC); households; and private companies. Among those, households (approximately 284 thousand households) are managing about 479.6 thousand ha of rubber plantations. In contrast, the other 461.7 thousand ha are managed by organizations (state-owned enterprises, private enterprises, and foreign direct investment (FDI) enterprises). The largest area of rubber plantations is managed by VRG (290,500 ha in 2019) and other state-owned enterprises (80.8 thousand ha in 2019). Private and FDI enterprises are managing the other 90.4 thousand ha of rubber plantations.
From 2016 to 2020, the annually harvested rubberwood was around 4.84 million m3 per year, and households contributed 28.2% to the total harvest. It is estimated that the annual supply of rubberwood for the period 2021-2025 will be 3.54 million m3 per year, based on the age of rubber plantations in the whole country. Regarding the legality of rubberwood, Viet Nam has no formal guidance in ensuring the legality of rubberwood. However, it is expected that the transportation, processing, and import/export of rubberwood/rubberwood products must comply with the same regulations relevant to other kinds of plantation timber. Rubber trees can be planted on either agricultural land or forest land (both are classified as a type of agricultural land), only the areas of plantation on forest land are required to comply with relevant legal requirements on forestry. VIEW LESS
VPA status: Implementing
Viet Nam and the EU began negotiating the Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) in November 2010.
In November 2016, Viet Nam and the EU agreed in principle on the content of the VPA. On 11 May 2017, they initiated the VPA to indicate that both Parties confirm that the wording contained in the document is the wording they agreed.
Viet Nam and the EU signed the VPA in October 2018. The Agreement entered into force in June 2019, after both Parties ratified it.
In November 2019, Viet Nam issued a Government Decision (no. 1624/QD-TTG) approving the plan for implementation of the VPA. Viet Nam is revising and developing new legislation to realize the commitments of the VPA.
The first piece of the new legislation is Decree 102/2020/ND-CP, dated 11 September 2020, on Viet Nam Timber Legality Assurance System, which came into force on 31st October 2020. This is the core component of a VPA,.
It is expected that there will be further new circulars and instructions to develop a fully functioning timber legality assurance system to meet the VPA requirements.
FSC certified area:
0.226 Mha, updated April 1, 2023