On January 15, 2019, in Lao Cai province, the Provincial Forest Protection Department, Si Ma Cai District People's Committee and CIRUM organized a workshop on "Assessment of the review of overlapping forests in Sin Cheng commune". The workshop focused on the results of reviewing report and approving the draft Guidelines for Natural Forest Review according to the Forestry Law 2017.
Leaders of the Provincial Forest Protection Department, Department of Forest Management and Protection and Nature Conservation, District Forest Protection Department, Agricultural department, Environmental department, Protection forest management board, Leaders of People's Committees of Sin Cheng commune, Ban Me commune, Nam Sin commune, Man Than commune and village leaders of Sin Cheng commune along with CIRUM participated in the workshop.
Mr. Nguyen Dinh Thang, Officer of the Forest Protection Department presented the reviewing results. The review showed a number of issues in forest management. Firstly, the mapping system has not ensured strict standards on the cadastral maps, therefore, it is difficult for users to identify the corresponding plots on the ground. Secondly, forests have not been classified accordingly to Law on Forestry 2017. An example is in San Sao Pao village, where a community water source forest is actually designated as a production forest on its certificate of land use. Similarly, in Ban Kha village, a community ritual forest is designated as a production forest. It is noted that the Forestry Law 2017 classifies ritual forests as special-use forests, and water resource forests are considered to be protection forests.
Mr. Nguyen Huy Minh, Head of Si Ma Cai Forest Protection Unit
The review team proposed that the provincial and District People's Committees revoke the certificates of land use rights, which contain overlapping forests, and return the forest to the village communities of Ban Kha, Bang Giang and households of Ngai Phong Cho village from the Management Board. Participants agreed to request a transfer forestland areas currently managed by communal People's Committees to allocate and confirm land rights for village communities.
The draft Guidelines for Natural Forest Review according to the Forestry Law 2017 was presented by CIRUM expert, Mr. Phan Dinh Nha. The draft guidelines contain 7 steps namely preparation, preliminary review and planning, field review, internal processing, community consultations, district-level consultation, and approval. This proposal was agreed by all participants.
"These draft Guidelines will be continuously discussed and consulted by relevant agencies from the provincial level to the grassroots level", said Mr. Vu Hong Diep, Deputy Director of the Lao Cai Forest Protection Department.