From 27 to 28 November 2014, in Phu Gia hotel, Hoa Binh City, the VNGO-FLEGT Network had organized a Training workshop on Forestry Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) and the Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA). Participating in the workshop are 40 trainees, representing VNGO-FLEGT member organizations and forestry experts from international NGOs.
In the opening remark, Mrs. Vu Thi Bich Hop, director of the Centre for Sustainable Rural Development (SRD) and Chairwoman of VNGO-FLEGT Board of Management emphasized the importance of raising awareness on FLEGT-VPA among member organizations of the Network, as well as among local CSOs operating in the field of forestry in Vietnam, in order to promote an active participation of civil society in VPA negotiation and implementation process. Currently, Vietnamese government are carrying out negotiations on the content of VPA with the EU. However, there are still some obstacles in the negotiation process, in particular the lack of meaningful participation of civil society and communities, an important requirement of VPA. Therefore, it was expected that the training workshop will provide the member organizations of the Network a better understanding on FLEGT-VPA and the role of CSOs in FLEGT.
During the workshop, facilitated by three main instructors: Dr. Truong Quang Hoang (Lecturer, Hue Agricultural and Forestry University) , Dr. Phan Trieu Giang (Lecturer, Ho Chi Minh Agricultural and Forestry University & Forestry Advisor of VNGO-FLEGT) and Mrs. Pham Thi Bich Ngoc (SRD), the trainees were provided with a systematic introduction on FLEGT, EU Timber Regulation (EUTR), VPA and its mandatory technical annexes, in particular the timber legality definition (TLD), timber legality assurance system (TLAS), timber supply chain monitoring, FLEGT license and independent monitoring.
During the workshop, the trainees also listened to the presentations given by Vietnamese and international experts, who had extensive experiences and knowledge on EU Timber Regulation (EUTR), FLEGT, and independent forest monitoring (IFM). These experts were Ms. Ann Weddle, Chief Advisor of NEPCON; Mr. Edwin Shanks, FLEGT EFI facilitator; Mrs. Vu Thi Bich Hop, director of SRD; and Mrs. Duong Thi Lien (SFMI). Apart from these presentation, the trainees also participated in group activities to discuss topics such as the role of CSOs in timber supply chain monitoring.
It is certain that the experiences, knowledge and understanding gained from the training workshop will improve the capacity and faciliate the participation of member organization in further activities of VNGO-FLEGT Network.