Chủ Nhật, 19 tháng 3, 2017

Social News In Brief

Northwestern culture converges at Dien Bien Ban Flower Festival


March is the month when Ban (Bhauhinia) flowers bloom in Vietnam’s northwest and Dien Bien province organizes its Ban Flower Festival to honor, preserve, and promote local culture and boost its tourism.
The ban flower is typical of Vietnam’s northwestern region. The flower symbolizes the culture, soul, and pride of people in Dien Bien, Son La, Lai Chau, Lao Cai, Yen Bai, and Hoa Binh province.
Targest Ban flower growing area, Dien Bien province, in recent years has held an annual ban flower festival in March to introduce its landscape, culture, and people and boost local tourism. 
Taking place from March 11th to 14th this year, the festival coincides with the 5th Dien Bien Culture, Sports, and Tourism Days. It features a range of cultural and sports activities plus a special opening performance on Sunday at the May 7 Square. 
Le Van Quy, Vice Chairman of the Dien Bien Provincial People’s Committee, said “The opening of the festival features a combination of the contemporary and traditional cultures of Dien Bien province and the beauty of ban flowers. There are a range of activities taking place in the city, districts, townships, and villages during the Ban Flower Festival and Dien Bien Culture and Tourism Days.”
During the Ban Flower Festival is was an exhibition featuring the culture and tradition of ethnic minorities in Dien Bien, performances of local songs, dances and musical instruments, and showcases of ethnic folk festivals and rituals. 
Mr. Quy said Dien Bien province has 21 ethnic groups and each of them has its own customs and culture which create a colorful picture for the festival.
He said “At this year’s festival, we organized a number of new activities including a beauty contest which drew contestants from 8 northwestern provinces. Organizing this contest, we wanted to introduce Dien Bien, its land and people. The contest created an opportunity for 8 northwestern provinces to share experience in boosting tourism. We will also organize a series of cultural events including a celebration of the historic Dien Bien Phu victory on May 7th to attract more tourists.”
At the Ban Flower Festival, visitors were invited to sample local food including dishes made from flowers such as the ban flower salad of the Thai.
Lo Thi Tieu Oanh of Noong Chun village in Dien Bien city said “The Thai people make various dishes from ban flowers, but the most popular one is ban salad. The taste of the flower can be mixed with vegetables and  bamboo shoots to create a very special flavor.”
At this time of the year, ban flowers are in bloom. Their pink and white colors and fragrance pervade the roads to Dien Bien drawing tourists to the northwestern region.
Registration opens for upcoming Red Cross classes
The Hanoi Red Cross in collaboration with REACH has announced that registration is now open for free training classes for disadvantaged youth who meet the eligibility requirements.
Training is available for the six vocations of food and beverage; housekeeping; sales and marketing; web and graphic design; nail art; and hairdressing, makeup and personal grooming.
In addition, there are classes for those interested in becoming a local tour guide in Hanoi or providing home-stay services. Class lengths vary from three to six months and are provided free of charge including room and board. 
Class sizes are limited with registration on a first come, first served basis. For those interested in finding out if they qualify or to obtain more information about the classes or to register please visit
National Futsal qualifier opens with 3-3 draw
Hosts Hoàng Thư Đà Nẵng were held to a 3-3 draw by visitors Sài Gòn FC in the qualifying round of the National Futsal Championships at the city’s Military Zone 5 gymnasium yesterday.
In a later match, Hải Phương-Phú Nhuận of HCM City crushed Kim Toàn Đà Nẵng 4-1.
Văn Định scored twice for Hải Phong-Phú Nhuận, and Quốc Hưng added one more goal to help the HCM City team to 3-0. Xuân Minh of Kim Toàn Đà Nẵng scored an own goal to make it 4-0.
Striker Duy Nhầt of Kim Toàn Đà Nẵng pulled back a goal for Đà Nẵng in the last minute of the game.
The qualifying round, which has five teams – Sài Gòn FC, Hoàng Thư-Đà Nẵng, Hải Phương-Phú Nhuận, Sanest Tourist Khánh Hòa and Kim Toàn Đà Nẵng, will play in the preliminary two-leg round robin format till March 31..
Four top teams from the qualifying round with the six top-ranked teams from the national championship last year will compete in a two-leg round robin format in the second stage at the Military Zone 7 Gymnasium in HCM City from April 8 to June 24.
Shooters face ammunition shortage ahead of SEA Games 29
With less than five months from the biggest sporting event in Southeast Asia, members of Vietnam’s shooting team still find themselves short of bullets to practice for the competition.
The 29th Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games 29) will be held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia from August 19 to 31 2017, where athletes from 11 countries in Southeast Asia will gather to compete in 38 sports.
Since shooter Hoang Xuan Vinh made history for Vietnam at the 2016 Rio Olympics by winning the country’s first-ever gold medal at an Olympic Games, the sport has gained popularity among Vietnamese athlete-wannabes and attracted significant attention from local sport officials.
However, media attention towards Vinh’s success has revealed that Vietnam’s national shooting squads have been faced with a serious shortage of practice bullets in recent years, forcing shooters to hone their skills while using as few rounds of ammunition as possible, or without any at all.
Last year, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc ordered that the bullet shortage be solved as soon as possible, but the task has proven tougher than expected, even after a military-run firm had been assigned official supplier of bullets used in sports.
According to Tran Quoc Cuong, a member of Vietnam’s shooting team to compete in Kuala Lumpur this August, the squad was still “going without” bullets during training sessions as the competition neared.
Usage of the few bullets they had in store had been extremely economical, as the squad needed to save however many they had left for the real competition, according to Nguyen Thi Nhung, the team’s head coach.
Meanwhile, Vietnam’s top shooters like Hoang Xuan Vinh and Tran Quoc Cuong are having it no better, as they are also practicing without bullets to prepare for the upcoming World Shooting Championships in Germany in May.
Huynh Phuong Loan, head of Ho Chi Minh City’s shooting team, said a couple of the team’s members have been forced to retire after two or three years of practice due to the serious ammunition shortage.
Starting December 2013, under a joint decree issued by the Ministry of Public Security and its sports counterpart, companies must pass the bidding process to be able to supply sporting weapons in Vietnam.
In 2016, a military-owned corporate won the bid to supply sporting ammunition to Vietnamese teams, but the shortage has not been much improved since.
An official from the General Department of Sports and Physical Training attributed the country’s strict regulations on the import of ammunitions to the delay in purchasing bullets from foreign suppliers.
“According to quotas stipulated under a government decree, the country may import only VND46 billion [US$2.05 million] worth of sporting ammunition in 2016,” the official said.
“On average, an ammunition order takes 45 days to complete."
"It will not be until the end of March that the first shipment of bullets will arrive in Vietnam for distribution to local teams," he said.
Quảng Nam beat Cần Thơ, remain second
Quảng Nam came from behind to beat Cần Thơ 2-1 in an early match of the V. League’s 10 round yesterday.
The visiting side’s Nsi Amogou Jose opened the score in the first minute which excited supporters throughout the game.
Henry was a solo on the right flank before sending the ball in. Jose escaped from Quảng Nam’s defenders to net the ball.
Quảng Nam who are at the second place in the ranking were not easy to be bullied.
They responded with consecutive attacks and grabbed the equaliser in the additional time of the first half. Hà Minh Tuấn’s straight shot found the net.
The hosts continued to dominate the match after the interval and their effort resulted at the 63rd mark by Đình Thắng.
The win helped Quảng Nam come level at 19 points with the leader FLC Thanh Hoá but are at the second position due to a goal difference.
Cần Thơ on the other hand stay at second from the bottom with only five points.
Hanoians, joyeux International Francophonie Day!
Celebrations are under way in Hanoi and all around the globe this week to enjoy International Francophonie Day on March 20.
French speakers and non-French speakers alike from Vietnam to the Caribbean to Canada have gathered in celebration of the French language and the culture of French-speaking nations.
Many Hanoians are celebrating by buying French pastry from bakeries while others are taking long strolls throughout the city streets, which are dotted with buildings featuring architecture that’s very reminiscent of France.
Still others are going to bookstores where there is always a large selection of new and used French books. Of course, many fine restaurants in the capital city serve quality French fare in a beautiful bistro.
Starting March 17, the Hanoi Opera House has been hosting activities including musical concerts sponsored by the Wallonie-Bruxelles Delegation to Vietnam, Organisation internationale de la, the Swiss Embassy in Hanoi and the Institute for Culture Exchange with France.
Maiden river buses set for June launch in HCM City
The first two river bus lines in Ho Chi Minh City will open in June to offer locals an alternative traffic-free means of public transport.
The project’s developer, Thuong Nhat Ltd., is taking over piers and wharfs along the city’s iconic Saigon River to commence building stations for the upcoming river bus routes, according to the Division of Water Traffic under the municipal Department of Transport.
The first route, Bach Dang-Linh Dong, will take passengers on a 10.8 kilometer trip along the Saigon River and Thanh Da Canal, connecting Bach Dang Port in District 1 to Linh Dong Ward in Thu Duc District.
There will be seven bus stops along the first route, located in District 1, Binh Thanh and Thu Duc Districts.
The second route, Bach Dang-Lo Gom, sails off from Bach Dang Port in District 1 and travels along the Saigon River before turning into Ben Nghe Canal and Tau Hu Canal to reach Lo Gom Port in District 6.
The 10.3-kilometer route will include seven stops in Districts 1, 4, 5, 6 and 8.
Each route will employ one 80-seat boat in the June inaugration, with plans to eventually expand the fleets to six boats each, according to the municipal Department of Transport.
The department noted that bus takers will not be required to wear life vests as the boats are designed to ensure maximum safety for passengers.
The river bus routes have received a total investment of VND125 billion (US$5.58 million), under a build-operate-transfer (BOO) contract.
Ten fishermen saved after boat collision
Ten fishermen were rescued after their boat was hit by a cargo ship 24 miles offshore the southern province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau on March 17.
The KH 93968 boat from Khanh Hoa province was broken when colliding with the Panama-flagged Koralia freighter.
Receiving SOS signal from the sinking fishing vessel, a nearby fishing boat arrived and saved the fishermen on board. They are now in good physical and psychological condition.
Relevant authorities are conducting investigation into the case.
Foreign diplomats join friendship spring tour in Hanoi
HUFO Chairwoman Nguyen Lan Huong
About 300 delegates, who are government officials and representatives of diplomatic missions and international organisations in Vietnam, visited Tay Phuong pagoda, a special relic site in Hanoi, as part of a friendship spring tour on March 18.
The event was jointly held by the Vietnam Union of Friendship Organisations, Hanoi Department of Tourism and Thach That district People’s Committee.
According to Nguyen Lan Huong, Chairwoman of the Hanoi Union of Friendship Organisations (HUFO), the tour is organised annually to introduce Vietnam’s historic relic sites and tourist attractions to international friends.
It helps promote exchanges and mutual understanding between Vietnam and foreign countries, Huong highlighted.
On behalf of the international delegates, Saddi Salama, Palestinian Ambassador to Vietnam, spoke highly of HUFO’s initiatives for organising activities pushing solidarity and cooperation between Vietnam and other nations.
The trip ended with a show of ao dai (traditional long tunic) and dancing and singing performance.
PM inspects waste-to-energy technology model in Ha Nam
Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc on March 18 inspected a waste-to-energy (WTE) technology model – a made-in-Vietnam invention successfully applied in Dong Van 2 industrial park in the northern province on Ha Nam. 
Engineer Nguyen Gia Long, Director of Hydraulic Machine Ltd Company (HMC) and WTE inventor, said at the core of the WTE technology is a process known as gastification which converts wastes into a synthesis gas (syngas) used as a fuel to generate electricity. 
The WTE model has been successfully experimented by the Ministry of Science and Technology (MoST), the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, and the provincial People’s Committee since September 21, 2016, during which, 208 tonnes of unclassified solid wastes were processed to generate sufficient power for the lighting system in the Dong Van 2 IP to run during 10 days. 
The Vietnam Environment Administration’s Centre for Environmental Monitoring reported that emissions from the process meet the standards of Vietnam and the World Health Organisation. 
At the working session with the PM, Long expressed wish that the government would help the company to ensure WTE patent right and facilitate its wide application. 
PM Phuc, for his part, lauded the engineer and his staff for their hard work over the past 16 years to research and pilot the WTE model. He asked ministries and agencies to continue to support the company in perfecting the technology, with a view to put it to commercial use nationwide. 
The leader suggested Ha Nam allows HMC company to handle part of the waste volume in the province during one month in order to compare the cost of the new technology with that of the conventional waste treatment of burying, thus making a detailed report on the economic efficiency of the technology. 
The Ministry of Industry and Trade and the Electricity of Vietnam will evaluate the technical aspect, connectivity, stability, volume and quality of power generation using the WTE technology. 
The PM also hoped that HMC would strive to raise the WTE power generation capacity to more than its existing 0.5MW and complete procedures to commercialise the technology. 
According to Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Tran Hong Ha, an average 23 million tonnes of solid wastes are buried in more than 500 landfills nationwide per day, with only 26 of the facilities capable of classifying and recycling wastes.
Kon Tum: New waterworks built in border district
Construction of a waterworks kicked off on March 17 in Plei Kan town in Ngoc Hoi border district, Central Highlands province of Kon Tum, which is expected to supply sufficient clean water to about 20,000 local people.
With a total investment of 90 billion VND (4.1 million USD), the plant has a capacity of 5,000 cu.m of water/day in the first phase. Its capacity will be increased to 10,000 cu.m of water in the second phase (2020-2025).
The waterworks is expected to begin operation in November 2017, helping improve living conditions and ensuring health for locals in the district.
Currently, Plei Kan only has a small waterworks with a capacity of 400 cu.m per day, failing to supply enough safe water for over 13,000 local households in Plei Kan town.
Forum discusses journalists’ occupational ethics in digital era
Occupational ethics of journalists in the digital era was the topic of a forum held on the sidelines of the National Newspaper Festival 2017 in Hanoi on March 17, drawing a large number of representatives from press agencies, journalists and readers.
Participants agreed that journalists should be aware of the importance of occupational ethics amidst the country’s deeper global integration and a boom in social networks and smart-phone apps.
Tran Trong Dung, Editor-in-Chief of Ho Chi Minh City Police Newspaper, highlighted the pioneer role of editors-in-chief of newspapers in strictly following occupational ethics in press activities.
Editors-in-chief must have a firm political stuff and extensive professionalism, thus leading their newspapers in line with the registered guidelines and purposes, and protecting the country’s and people’s interests, Dung said. 
In sensitive areas, editors-in-chief must have clear stances and put the interests of the community higher than the interests of their newspapers and the interests of their newspapers higher than the interests of individuals and themselves, he stressed.
Meanwhile, Trinh Quoc Dung from the Vietnam Journalists’ Association held that the provision of information is now no longer a special privilege of the traditional press, as the social media has enabled individuals to directly provide information to the community in the fastest way. 
Therefore, journalists joining the social media should show their professional skills and role by sharing accurate, objective and responsible information, he said, adding that this is also an important factor that makes journalists different from the social media.
Minh Nam from the Journalist Magazine, said that in the fierce race of information between the press and social networks, press agencies should build up the trust of readers who still need high-quality articles instead of sensational news.
Also on the fringe of the festival, the Vietnam Journalists’ Association’s Journalism Photograph Club hosted an exhibition to introduce 60 works capturing different aspects of the life across the country.
Symposium looks into Vietnamese’s conception of happiness
A symposium was held in Hanoi on March 17 to gain an insight into Vietnamese people’s conception of happiness, an activity in response to the International Day of Happiness (March 20).
Speeches at the event, held by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism and the Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences, focused on theories and academic viewpoints on happiness; the necessity of research on happiness; the conceptions of happiness from the religious, ethnological and gender angles; feasible solutions to design family-related criteria and build family happiness; social welfare and literature and arts’ impacts on the happiness of Vietnamese people.
Deputy Minister Dang Thi Bich Lien said the International Day of Happiness was designated in June 2012 and Vietnam has been organising activities to respond to the day since 2013 with a view to building happy families, happy communities and a happy society.
The study of Vietnamese people’s happiness and the building of a happiness index will help affirm the country’s commitment to the world and demonstrate its cultural identities amid international integration. That will also help policy makers to devise development strategies and manage the society’s development, she added.
Assoc. Prof. Le Ngoc Van from the Institute for Family and Gender Studies said though happiness research has become a science in the world, it is still new in Vietnam. The country should study and measure the conception and the enjoyment of happiness and make a happiness index for Vietnamese people.
Hoang Sa, Truong Sa exhibition comes to Thanh Hoa
An exhibition titled “Hoang Sa, Truong Sa belong to Vietnam – Historical evidence” opened in the mountainous district of Lang Chanh, the north central province of Thanh Hoa, on March 17.
On display are more than 200 items, documents and maps related to Vietnam’s sovereignty over the two archipelagos. 
The exhibited materials are in Nom (Vietnamese ideographic script), Vietnamese and French languages issued by Vietnamese feudal states, the French government in Indochina (on behalf of the then Vietnamese state), and other foreign states.   
The exhibits showed how the country had continually asserted, exercised and protected its sovereignty over the two archipelagos through history.
The event aims to raise awareness of the importance of Vietnam’s sea and islands and citizens’ responsibility in safeguarding the country’s sea and island sovereignty among local residents, especially young people.
The exhibition welcomes visitors through March 20 and will come to other localities of Thanh Hoa province.
Vinh Phuc factories thirsty for female workers
The thirst for female workers is real at industrial parks in northern Vinh Phuc province where the more foreign direct investment (FDI) projects arrive, the more demand for female workers rises, as they are believed to be more skilled at certain jobs.
According to the trade union of Vinh Phuc’s industrial parks, the number of FDI enterprises in Vinh Phuc rose 54.5 percent from 90 in early 2014 to 139 by March 2017. These companies have recruited 37,790 employees to date, a jump of 86.6 percent from three years ago with an estimated 65-70 percent of them women.
Local factories have been crying out for workers with recruitment ads hung on the entrances looking for hundreds of employees. For example, JAHWA VINA Electronics from the Republic of Korea has been looking for 5,000 workers while its peers from the RoK, AMOVINA, Vina Circuit and Cammsys have been seeking 500.
Most of these recruiters seemed to favour female over male candidates as women are considered to be more skilled and suitable for work in textiles, packing and assembling which account for a large proportion of the positions needed.
The recruitment has been not that easy as the female workforce has not grown as fast as the factories’ labour demand.
Many benefits have been given by the FDI companies to encourage female workers to stick around, including building residential halls, kindergartens and schools for them and their children near the industrial parks; and providing them with higher payment, return shuttle buses and insurance.
However, more effective measures, from not only the FDI companies but also local authorities, should be developed to help the companies meet their workforce needs.
Binh Duong bolsters cooperation with Cambodian women’s association
Authorities of the southern province of Binh Duong on March 16 received a delegation of the Cambodian women for peace and development of Kratie province.
At the meeting, Tran Thanh Liem, Vice Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee briefed the guests on the socio-economic development of Binh Duong.
Binh Duong and Kratie have cooperated in various fields and set up a good friendship, Liem said.
A representative of the delegation said that the women’s association of Kratie province wants to study and exchange experience in socio-economic development with Binh Duong province and deepen Vietnam – Cambodia relations.
The delegation also wishes to study Binh Duong province’s experience in activities of women’s association, education, culture and communications for the socio-economic development of Kratie province.
Exhibition on Vietnam’s sovereignty over Hoang Sa, Truong Sa islands
A three-day exhibition on historical and legal evidence affirming Vietnam’s sovereignty over Hoang Sa (Paracel) and Truong Sa (Spratly) archipelagoes opened on March 17 in Phu Quoc island district of Mekong Delta province of Kien Giang.
The exhibition, jointly held by the Ministry of Information and Communications and the High Command of Coast Guard Zone 4, showcased a large number of documents, items and publications as well as nearly 100 maps published in different periods by international and domestic researchers.
The event also introduced documents in Han and Nom (Chinese characters and ancient Vietnamese scripts) as well as Vietnamese and French issued by feudal dynasties as well as French administration in Indochina between the 17th and 20th centuries, which proved the process of setting up, implementation and protecting of Vietnam’s sovereignty over the archipelagoes.
At the same time, various versions of administrative documents issued between 1954-1975 highlighting the continuous exercise and safeguarding of the archipelagoes are also on display.
Visitors to the exhibition will also have a chance to study various relevant documents and publications published by some western countries in 18th and 19th centuries and a collection of 65 maps issued since the 17th century that certified Vietnam’s sovereignty over Hoang Sa and Truong Sa.
The exhibition is expected to help raise awareness, spirit of solidarity, confidence and responsibility of soldiers, officers and locals in Phu Quoc island district in safeguarding the country’s sacred sovereignty over seas and islands.
Lang Son holds bird flu prevention drill
The northern border province of Lang Son held a drill on dealing with outbreaks of A/H7N9 and other high-pathogenic avian influenza viruses in Cao Loc district on March 17. 
According to Director of the provincial Department of Health Nguyen The Toan, the drill aims to assess local preparedness in coping with the threat and preventing avian influenza virus from transmitting to humans. 
It also helped enhance coordination among sectors in disease fighting and prevention, and improve skill of medical and veterinary workers in handling situations related to suspected cases of A/H7N9 avian flu.
In the simulation scenario, local authorities detected A/H7N9 avian flu virus on a poultry flock and a person was suspected of being infected by the virus.  
The medical centre of Cao Loc district quickly brought the patient to an isolated area in a polyclinic in Dong Dang town. Meanwhile, the district’s veterinary station was responsible for stamping out the outbreak.
The police and border guard force coordinated to ensure traffic safety and order in the district.
The three-day drill contributed to raising public awareness of the importance of preventing the spread of the disease, thus protecting community health. 
Vice Chairman of Cao Loc District People’s Committee Lieu Van Chien said Cao Loc shares over 74km of borderline with China, where outbreaks of the A/H7N9 avian flu virus have happened recently. 
The district is also a hot spot for smuggling, including cross-border poultry illegal trade, which is posing a high risk of the virus being transmitted into Vietnam. 
Deputy Director of the provincial Department of Health Trieu Cao Tan said the drill has met set requirements, stressing that Lang Son’s relevant sectors and forces need to further enhance coordination in the work.
Japanese experts help Can Tho improve climate change adaptability
Experts from the UN Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) and Japan met at a seminar in the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho on March 17 to discuss the application of emission-reducing technology in urban economic development and enhancement of climate change adaptability. 
Director of UN-Habitat Vietnam Nguyen Quang said the rate of urbanisation in Vietnam now reaches 34 percent but urban areas account for 70 percent of the total emissions, which has seriously degraded natural resources and polluted the environment. 
Most major urban areas such as Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Hai Phong, Da Nang and Can Tho are in plain and coastal areas. With such rapid urbanisation, they are vulnerable to the impacts of climate change due to weak technical and social infrastructure. 
The Mekong Delta is sinking by 2cm compared to sea water level each year while weak water supply and drainage system exposes regional urban areas to the threat of flooding and traffic congestion during the rainy season, he said. 
To counter such problems, Japan’s Taiho Metals company introduced a system of water-proof doors and flooding shields with 4D design and shock-resistant materials. 
At the event, scientists also raised their concern about the shortage of fresh water in the region due to drought and saline intrusion – the consequences of gas emission and pollution from unsustainable urbanisation. 
Participants suggested developing buffer zones to protect coastal urban areas, planting mangrove forests to block waves and reduce erosion, limiting groundwater exploitation and preventing water surface pollution. 
Norishika Matsuo from Japan’s Daiken Corporation presented an underground reservoir model capable of holding 100 tonnes of water used for daily life and vegetable cultivation. It could be set up within a week at low cost and is suitable for apartments. 
A number of opinions proposed developing green buildings and building ecological urban areas in order to reduce emissions, making it easier for urbanites to adapt to climate change. 
In urban areas at risk of saltwater intrusion, Japanese experts suggested using seawater desalination technology. 
A representative from Kyowakiden company said its sea water desalination system uses pressure-retarded osmosis to process more than 50,000 cu.m per day, adding that it is being widely used in Japan and China. 
Vice Chairwoman of the municipal People’s Committee Vo Thi Hong Anh lauded the feasible and practical use of the Japanese technologies introduced at the event, and vowed to outline a strategy to the make the best use of local partnership with Japan. 
She informed that Can Tho has devised a project to use energy effectively and economically, including facilitating the use of renewable energies, solar radiation, geothermal, tidal wave and biogas instead of coal. 
Can Tho is building a climate change-resilient urban development planning and strategy, under which, a proper water drainage system will be built, among others.
Ministry strives for sustainable forestry sector development
The forestry sector will work to increase its average production value to between 5.5 and 6 percent a year, forest coverage rate to 42 percent, and export value to at least 8 billion USD annually from now to 2020.
The goals were proposed at a conference to review the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development’s forest protection and development between 2011 and 2016 and set out tasks for 2016-2020 held on March 17. 
As heard at the function, during the 2011-2016 period, which was set for forestry restructuring, forestry production value grew 6.57 percent per year on average, while the rate of forest coverage inched up from 39.7 percent to 41.19 percent. 
The average forestry export value between 2011 and 2015 stood at 6.52 billion USD per year, more than doubling that of the previous five-year period. It hit 7.3 billion USD in 2016.
Participants pointed to obstacles facing the sector during the period, such as illegal logging, timber trafficking, and ineffective implementation of forest planting plans.
The contribution of the forestry sector to the national economy is still low, far from its potential, they added.
These issues had various causes, including mild penalties imposed on violations in some localities, as well as troublesome forest land planning and impractical scientific research and technology transfer in others.
Based on those facts, goals were set for 2016-2020, targeting the development of a sustainable forestry sector, with a total budget of nearly 59.6 trillion VND (2.6 billion USD).  
Addressing the conference, Deputy Prime Minister Trinh Dinh Dung acknowledged the sector’s achievement between 2011 and 2016 and urged the ministry to press ahead with completing the 2016-2020 target programme on sustainable forestry development.
He ordered the ministry and involved State agencies to tighten the management of forest land planning, mobilise capital from society in implementing the programme, and complete policies and mechanisms on forest protection and development, among other tasks.
He stressed that efforts must be made to realise the common goals of increased productivity and quality, climate change adaptation, and poverty alleviation.
The agricultural ministry took the occasion to propose that the Government arrange capital for forest protection and expansion projects, prioritise ODA-funded forestry projects, particularly in the Central Highlands, as well as soon approve a report on the feasibility of the sustainable forestry programme and a forest restoration project for the Central Highlands. 
Binh Duong bolsters cooperation with Cambodian women’s association
Authorities of the southern province of Binh Duong on March 16 received a delegation of the Cambodian women for peace and development of Kratie province.
At the meeting, Tran Thanh Liem, Vice Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee briefed the guests on the socio-economic development of Binh Duong.
Binh Duong and Kratie have cooperated in various fields and set up a good friendship, Liem said.
A representative of the delegation said that the women’s association of Kratie province wants to study and exchange experience in socio-economic development with Binh Duong province and deepen Vietnam – Cambodia relations.
The delegation also wishes to study Binh Duong province’s experience in activities of women’s association, education, culture and communications for the socio-economic development of Kratie province.

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