The second meeting of the Sub-Regional Ministerial Steering Committee on Transboundary Haze Pollution in the Mekong Sub-Region (MSC Mekong) was held in Hanoi on February 29.
The event was attended by delegates from Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar and Vietnam, as well as representatives from the ASEAN Secretariat.
Ha Cong Tuan, Deputy Director General of the Directorate of Forestry under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD), said that many severe natural disasters occur more often due to climate change, which can be minimized by developing forests. Therefore, he said, Mekong Sub-region countries should focus on forest development and protection.
Tuan stressed that over the years, Vietnam has made great efforts in boosting forestation to increase its forest coverage to 40 percent, thus reducing haze pollution. The country aims to raise the figure to 45 percent in the near future, he added.
Nguyen Huu Dung, Head of the MARD’s Forest Management Department, said that Vietnam has taken measures to develop forestry and actively cooperate with regional countries to deal with dry season haze pollution. However, he said it is essential to build an early warning system and a classification system for forest fires to be able to take suitable measures to deal with them.
Delegates at the meeting agreed on the goal to reduce the number of forest fire hotspots to 50,000 by 2015 from last year’s figure of 78,321.
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