The workshop was attended by representatives of the US Forest Service, experts from the US, representatives of the Institute of Management for Agricultural and Rural Development 1, 2, and the branch of the Vietnam National University of Forestry in Dong Nai, together with leaders of the Forest Protection Departments of the northern provinces.
The delegates were informed of the survey results and assessment of training demands in some northern provinces and the Central Highlands. They also had access to interdisciplinary approaches to forest law enforcement.
At the same time, the delegates discussed, shared, and contributed to finalizing the draft “Memorandum of Understanding between the Forest Protection Department and the US Forest Service” and developed a list of training materials and law enforcement training for Vietnamese forest rangers.
Representatives of the Forest Protection Departments of the Northern provinces openly pointed out the shortcomings and limitations in the work related to human resources and professionalism as well as difficulties in the implementation of legal documents.
These shortcomings and limitations include difficulties in investigating and handling violations in forestry, the number of jobs increases but the human resources decrease, violators are poor people, difficult to assess, and lack of present evidence,…
Commenting on this issue, the representative of the US Forestry Department acknowledged the efforts of the Vietnamese forestry sector. Simultaneously, the representative thinks that the problems that local forest rangers faced have also happened in the United States. These are simple problems and can be solved completely.
The United States has a large forest area of up to hundreds of millions of hectares, concentrated in the West. The US also faced difficulties in terms of human and financial resources to serve the management and protection of forests.
“The content you shared is very familiar to us and the land and forest management agencies in the United States. We have the experience and core training materials to handle this.” Mr. Eric Joshua Rosenfield, law enforcement officer, US Forest Service said.
Mr. Nguyen Quoc Hieu, Deputy Director of the Forest Protection Department, said that the workshop is one of 9 activities in the Letter of Intent signed between the Forest Protection Department and the US Forest Service in 2019.
The Vietnam Forest Protection Department and the US Forest Service have coordinated with each other to organize survey teams, produce a report, and identify priority tasks to develop the most standard set of documents to serve the training of forest rangers in the localities.
This is a big step forward in the cooperation relationship between the US Forest Service and the Forest Protection Department to develop a standardized training program on law enforcement for Vietnamese rangers.
This is reflected in the development of professional training plans for forest rangers to the development of programs and documents, pilot implementation of training, and capacity-building training for forest rangers. The two organizations also coordinated in organizing training courses to guide the implementation of legal documents in the forestry sector and finally standardized this training program nationwide.
Currently, recruiting staff into the forestry sector faces many difficulties, each year they are required to reduce the quota by 10%, then the force retires, …leading to a shortage of resources, difficulties in sending cadres to the area, and difficulty in performing tasks.
The workshop came up with a set of materials for training grassroots rangers to achieve good skills in performing tasks and more effective communication skills. This is also to encourage people to actively participate in forest protection, helping people improve efficiency in the production and trading of forest products.
“Over the past time, with legal documents having been promulgated, training and deployment to localities should also be carried out methodically. In particular, we would like to have the support and objective review from the US Forest Service to be able to come up with a set of professional and practical training materials" said Mr. Hieu.
In April 2019 in Washington D.C, the US Department of Agriculture and Forestry and the Forest Protection Department signed a Letter of Intent to cooperate in the field of forestry. "Training forest rangers, advocating policies, solving problems of illegal logging, wildlife hunting, and illegal trading of forest products" is one of the nine cooperation topics with importance emphasized in the Letter of Intent.
In November 2019, USFS Deputy Director Lenise Lago visited Vietnam and met with leaders of the Vietnam Administration of Forestry and the Forest Protection Department. She expressed the desire to realize the Letter of Intent by supporting the development of a Law Enforcement Training Program for Vietnamese Rangers.
Ms. Lenise's visit laid the first foundation for a good cooperation relationship between the US Forest Service and the Forest Protection Department. It marked the beginning of a series of coordination activities between the two agencies to develop training programs.
Translated by Hoang Duy
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