The workshop on Forestry Law 2017 is organized by CIRUM, CARE and LandNet, funded by EU on May 4, 2018 in Cửa Lò town, Nghệ An province. There were more than 50 participants, including 30 representatives from eight ethnic minority groups: Mã Liềng, Vân Kiều, H'Mông, Tây, Nứng, Thái, Dzao, Bà Nà from provinces of Kon Tum, Quảng Bình, Hà Tĩnh, Nghệ An, Lạng Sơn, and Lào Cai. In addition, representatives from other partners (CIRD & RDPR in Quảng Bình province) attended the workshop.
Participants at the workshop
The workshop provides new rights for ethnic minorities’ communities that were absent before and are recognized in forestry law 2017 over their traditional forests as owners and as equal benefits as other forest owners (such as Protection Forest Management Board, Forestry Companies, etc.), as well as values of customary law in forest management and protection. The workshop is aimed to improve community representatives’ understanding of their rights and responsibilities in forestland management, use and protection. On the other hand, the workshop also contributes to raising awareness among local officials and leaders about their responsibilities in protection of the rights of households and communities.
In the recent years there have been many shortcomings in the enforcement of Law on Forest Protection and Development, while local households, individuals and village communities, especially ethnic minorities, face many constraints and obstacles in practicing the right to forest land allocation, getting benefits from forest, or obtaining support policy, such as forest environmental services. At the same time, people face many difficulties in solving problems, conflicts or disputes over forest and land. One of the main causes of this situation is that people and communities do not know and understand fully the right to forest land allocation, the right to use, protect and develop forest, the policies on forest development support, the procedures of land allocation, and disputes settlement.
Mr. Chao Van Chan, Red Dao ethnic group, said, “until now I have only heard about the law, but do not know the detail contents. Through this workshop, I know more concrete contents of the law, especially the rights and obligations of communities and households. Coming back my home village, I will share these results with people in my village”.
Mr. Chảo Vần Chẳn, Red Dzao presenting at the workshop
Mr. Nguyen Van Tien, Deputy Director of the Ethnic Affairs Department of the Nationality Council of the National Assembly said: “CIRUM quickly disseminates the Forestry Law 2017 to ethnic minorities throughout the country. The newly promulgated law has been informed to people for their immediate awareness of their rights in forest protection and development, and the right to a stable life. These activities are also ahead of government agencies; I highly appreciate this workshop because of its updated and practical characteristics”.
Mr. Nguyễn Văn Tiến – Deputy Director of the Ethnic Affairs Department giving speeches
Prior to this workshop, CIRUM and LandNet have provided comments and suggestions to amend the 2004 Law on Forest Protection and Development, and their contributions have been recognized in the Forest Law of 2017. In particular, the Forestry Law of 2017 endorses the rights of ethnic minorities who rely on forests for their livelihoods, respect for their living spaces, recognition of traditional forest management practices, the right to forest land allocation and cultivation or livelihood under forest canopy.