The National Assembly's Ethnic Council held a workshop on the implementation of laws and policies on land and forest allocation to ethnic minority communities and households, which took place in Da Nang city on September 27, 2017. The workshop focused on discussing and evaluating the achievements, problems and appropriate solutions as a basis for contributing to the amendment of the Law on Forest Protection and Development 2004. The National Assembly will discuss this draft revised law in the fourth quarter of 2017. Mr. Ha Ngoc Chien, Member of the Party Central Committee, Chairman of the Ethnic Council chaired the workshop.
The conference scene
There were 96 participants representing for The Ethnic Council of the National Assembly; The Central Mobilization Department; Department of Ethnic Minorities, representatives of MARD, Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, The Ministry of Finance; Northwest Steering Committee; Central Highlands Steering Committee; Border Guard Command; Representatives of the National Assembly delegations from 11 provinces; CIRUM, LISO and LandNet representatives from 10 village communities of Northern, Central regions and Central Highlands.
Mr. Ha Ngoc Chien opening the workshop
Mr. Ha Ngoc Chien, Chairman of the National Assembly's Ethnic Council stated that, this workshop was an opportunity for the National Assembly's Ethnic Council and related agencies to discuss and evaluate the results, challenges and causes of difficulties arising from the laws, policies and implementation and responsibilities of central and local state agencies in land allocation to ethnic minority communities and households in the last 10 years. It was expected to propose measures to improve policies and laws, contribute to the protection and development of forests and improve the livelihoods of people living in forests.
Delegates attending the conference
There were 13 presentations and 5 among 17 opinions from ethnic community representatives (LandNet) who actively addressed the community concerns and the actual shortcomings in the land and forest allocation to communities and households. Representatives of communities have boldly put forward policy recommendations to meet the needs of each ethnic group in accordance with local customary laws
LandNet and LISO members participate in the workshop
Representatives of CIRUM presented the topic “Existence, causes and solutions for legislation, policy and implementation of land allocation, forest protection and development for Ethnic minorities based on practical lessons over the past 10 years”. The workshop organizers and participants appreciated the practical and persuasive characters of the presented lessons learned, which should be reflected in the revised Law on Forest Protection and Development.
The workshop participants cited the results of land allocation throughout the country. A remarkable achievement is that after ten years of forest land allocation (FLA), households and communities have proven their economic, environmental and social benefits.
In closing remark, Mr. Ha Ngoc Chien concludes that: (i) FLA for ethnic minority communities and households should be considered as a national policy and priority policy of the Party and the State; (ii) Priority should be given to allocation of land and forest currently managed by the Communal People's Committees to ethnic minority communities and households; (iii) Reviewing and adjusting forest land allocation procedures in line with reality and with the benefit of the people; (iv) Relevant Ministries and localities should allocate adequate funds for the coming 2-year FLA program for ethnic minority communities and households; (v) Recommend the Government to review 10 years of FLA program.
These proposals and recommendations will be synthesized to propose to the National Assembly for the amendment of the Law on Forest Protection and Development; to propose to the Government to complete policies on land and forest allocation.
10 case studies representing different regions and ethnic minorities supported and advised by CIRUM / LISO Alliance. Especially, the documentary film "Forests of the Village" which is produced by CIRUM has been approved by the National Assembly’s Ethnic Council and officially presented at this workshop. These documents are practical evidence of the community’s role and customary law in the safe, fair and effective use and management of forest and land resources.