13:41 | 19/12/2015 Society
(VEN) - Environmental service payments for forested land were agreed as a policy back in 2011. However, it has yet been fully recognized by related sides while being implemented.
Forest environmental service payments are used for forest management activities
The policy has been implemented since 2011 and the annual payment for environmental services for forested land has reached VND1-1.3 trillion, meeting 22-25 percent of national forest management expenses. Nearly 349,000 households and more than 5,700 household groups that have participated in the management of nearly five million ha of forest across the country currently earn VND1.8-2 million per year per household.
The payment for environmental services of forests is considered as vital funding for local forest management activities, including recruitment of forest management staff. Quang Nam Province, for example, can only cover management costs for about 30,000ha of more than 410,000ha of forest in need of management across the province. Thanks to this payment, the province can now cover management costs for more than 282,000ha, said Nguyen Hai Van, a PanNature staff member, at a workshop to evaluate the effectiveness in the implementation of payment for environmental services of forests and the involvement of local participants.
However, there are no provincial statistics on the payment for current forest environmental services and the evaluations are based on forest density rates and forest violation figures provided by related ranger offices. About 95 percent of policy beneficiaries in Lao Cai, Quang Nam and Kon Tum are wondering why they have received the payments and 85 percent of asked beneficiaries were not fully aware of the impact of the evaluations on the sums to receive.
According to Nguyen Ba Ngai, the Deputy Director General of the Vietnam Administration of Forestry under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, payers for environmental services of forests are limited to hydropower, tourism and clean water companies. In addition, forest environmental services have not been provided in all forested areas.
The lack of a payment monitoring system for forest environmental services is also a cause for less effective implementation of the policy while discouraging participants in forest management, said Vice Chairman of the Vietnam Union of Scientific and Technological Associations (VUSTA) Nghiem Vu Khai.
According to PanNature Deputy Director Nguyen Viet Dung, the propaganda for the policy has been viewed as superficial and should be made more concrete in the coming time especially in terms of responsibilities and obligations of the related sides. In addition, independent assessments on the payments should be made by local trustworthy organizations and inpiduals.
The payment for environmental services of forests will be improved in terms of efficiency, transparency, equality and sustainability, said Nguyen Ba Ngai.