FOREST SECTOR SUPPORT PARTNERSHIP

FSSP Newsletter
Vol. 36 - 37, December 2012

MINISTRY OF AGRICULTURE AND RURAL DEVELOPMENT

IN FOREST MANAGEMENT AND PROTECTION

THE ROLE OF COMMUNITY

©WINROCK International

INSIDE
Community forestry: Overview and practice in Viet Nam Co-management and Community forestry, are they similar or different? Role of Community forest management in Sustainable forestry in Viet Nam The importance and implementation progress of the Project “Strengthening Communitybased Forestry in Viet Nam” Co-management in special-use forests of Viet Nam Applying free prior and informed consent in Viet Nam and the role of community in REDD+ Table: Forestland under community management in the ASEAN Enhancing the involvement of communities in forest management - JICA’s experiences from Dien Bien and Kon Tum 2 6 9 12 14 17 20 21

COMMUNITY FORESTRY: OVERVIEW AND PRACTICE IN VIET NAM
Nguyễn Quang Tân, RECOFTC – The Center for People and Forests

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Overview of Community Forestry in the World ommunity forestry was defined by FAO as “any situation which intimately involves local people in a forestry activity. It embraces a spectrum of situations ranging from woodlots in areas which are short of wood and other forest products for local needs, through the growing of trees at the farm level to provide cash crops and the processing of forest products at the household, artisan or small industry level to generate income, to the activities of forest dwelling communities.” (FAO 1978). Over the last decades, the definition of community forestry has evolved from a narrowly defined technical field to a broader concept that includes all aspects, initiatives, sciences, policies, institutions, and processes that are intended to increase the role of local people in governing and managing forest resources. It consists of informal, customary and indigenous, and formal or government-led initiatives. Community forestry covers social, economic, and conservation dimensions in a range of activities including indigenous management of sacred sites of cultural importance, small-scale forest-based enterprises, forestry outgrower schemes, companycommunity partnerships, and decentralized and devolved forest management (RECOFTC 2008). Although community forestry is old as history, it is often referred to as the recent process in which forest management by local commu-

Forest is connected with animal raising and livelihoods nity receives legal, technical (and financial) supports from external sources. Becoming prominent in the mid-1970s, the recent wave of community forestry has continued to evolve over the last decades in a growing number of countries. Various reasons exist to justify the advocate for community involvement in forest management on the ground, including (adapted from Brown 1999): - Proximity to the resource: local communities live in or near the forest areas and thus are best-placed to ensure its effective husbandry. - Impact: local communities are the ones whose livelihoods impact most on the local forest resources and therefore should be involved in their management. - Equity: forests should be managed by local community to ensure adequate resource flows to them. - Livelihoods: Forest resources play important roles in the livelihoods of local communities. Their involvement in forest management

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is expected to lead to substantial changes in the ways forests are managed, ensuring the safeguarding and/or diversification of their multiple benefits. - Improvement of forest capacity: involvement of local communities in forest management may help improve the forest resource better than the government. - Biodiversity: multiple purpose management of forests by communities is likely to lead to better conservation of biodiversity than industrial management. - Cost-effectiveness: The cost of exclusive direct management by the state may be prohibitively high, and local management may be an important way of cutting costs. - Adaptation: the growing recognition of cultural and livelihoods diversity encourages an approach centered on local participation and contextual adaptation. - Governance: Involving communities and community institutions FSSP Newsletter
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By law and in formal writings, ‘community forestry’ or ‘Lam nghiep cong dong’ in Viet Nam is often referred to the narrow concept of the area of forest under collective management (by whole village). In reality community forestry is practiced also in the area under individual households as the local people manage the forest collectively.
in forest management may help to introduce discipline into the management of the sector and offer significant checks and balances on otherwise unregulated public services. - Development philosophy: community forestry is likely to fit in well with the wider development assistance strategies of the international community. These give high priority to principles of local

Major milestones in community forest management in Viet Nam 1976: Nationalization of forest resources, marking a period of state forestry. 1991: Forest Protection and Development Law passed, marking the involvement local people in forest protection and development 1993: Land Law passed, stipulating the rights of title holders to lease, exchange, inherit, mortgage, and transfer land-use titles 1990s: Forest tenure reform and pilots of community forest management in the whole country 2003: Land Law passed, recognizing the legal status of communities in land tenure 2004: Forest Protection and Development Law passed, recognizing common property as a legal forest management arrangement 2000s: Forest tenure reform and pilots of community forest management continued. National pilot project on community forestry

participation, decentralization and ‘subsidiarity’, as well as to the promotion of civil society. In reality, community forestry is manifested in different forms, including joint forest management (JFM), collaborative forest management, forest co-management, social forestry, and the likes. Other terms found in literature include community based forest management (CBFM) and participatory

forest management (PFM). It, whatever form it is, is apparent that community forestry has become a major component of most internationally supported forestry programs/ projects in the tropics, and a significant part of forest policy and practice on a global scale (Brown 1999). It indicates the recognition of the important roles of forests in rural livelihoods, particularly the poor and forest dependent communities, and the needs to involve these communities in decision-making and implementation of activities related to the management of forest resources (Arnold 2001). Community Forestry in Viet Nam and Key Issues for Consideration Community forest management is not new in Viet Nam. Various studies indicate the existence of traditional practices in forest management by rural communities in the forest areas in different parts of the country (Le 2001; Nguyen 2005, Nguyen et al. 2008; Pham 2004). With the forest tenure reform policy in early 1990s and supported by the national and international development projects in forestry

©RECOFTC Bambooshoots from forests is part of the local daily diet

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sector (see Box), the involvement of local communities in forest management has been increased. In early 2000s, legal recognition of communal tenure rights provided further incentive to the development of community forestry. In general, the government has created strong foundations for the development of community forest management through land tenure reform. The transfer of tenure rights to local communities is a critical and necessary precondition for them to manage forests sustainably, derive benefits and participate in democratic decision-making. By the end of 2011, around 26% of the total forest area in the country is under the management of local people, either per individual households or collectives. However, tenure rights are not enough. The transfer of tenure leads to desirable environmental, economic, political and cultural outcomes only if local communities can realize the rights given to them in legislation. In addition, the rising significance of new policy frameworks, such as PFES and REDD+, requires innovative approaches to linking communities with new forms of forest governance. Similarly, the need for community participation in the management of protected areas and discretionary decision-making over norms of forest governance are important considerations.

Although community forestry has gained significant recognition as a critical component of Viet Nam’s forest policy and forest management on the ground, the strong progress has slowed down over the past few years due to various reasons. For the development of community forestry in the future, the following issues are to be taken into account (Sikor and Nguyen 2011): - Revise procedures for forest management planning and benefit-sharing: It is recommended that the Government facilitate negotiations between local communities and authorities within national safeguards. Such a benefit-sharing policy would facilitate negotiation of forest management and benefit-sharing with local authorities. Yet it would also require local communities and authorities to adhere to framework conditions set by the national government. - Make communities partners in the upcoming PFES and REDD+ programs: The government should enable voluntary, performance-based contracts about the provision of forest ecosystem services and carbon capture. Local communities would negotiate environmental service contracts with relevant state organizations at district level, under which they define the required performance in forest management and associated rewards. - Expand forest land allocation to local communities: It is recommended that the government develop and apply allocation procedures that respond to the needs and situation at the local level. National policymakers would need to put procedural and substantive safeguards in place to avoid elite capture throughout the process. - Regulate local forest governance: The government should introduce procedures for the negotiation of shared forest governance between communities and local authorities. Local communities would be empowered to develop their own forest regulations within certain procedural requirements defined by the government. - Provide support to local communities managing forests: It is recommended that the government provide an enabling legal and financial framework for the operation civil society organizations (CSOs). Though CSOs may not always possess the strongest technical knowledge about forest management, they often hold a comparative advantage over governmental agencies through their organizational flexibility and ability to respond to local communities’ requirements and aspirations. To conclude, it is important to remind ourselves of FSSP Newsletter
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©RECOFTC RedBook as the official recognition of rights to forest land by community

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some key reasons why community forestry should be promoted and why it can contribute to key policy objectives in Viet Nam (Sikor and Nguyen 2011): - Traditional community forest management works on the ground: Local communities are managing significant areas of forest in practice with or without formal recognition by the government, for the benefit of the environment and themselves. - An option to alleviate poverty in the upland forest areas: Forests provide a variety of resources for local people, both to cover their own subsistence needs and to generate income. Community forestry provides a platform for community members to discuss and agree on pro-poor benefit sharing and management strategy. - Community forest management strengthens local democracy: Community forestry can support ongoing efforts by the government to strengthen grassroots democracy. Giving people tenure rights to forests and devolving some decisions over forest management to them would enhance their participation in decisions affecting their own lives. - Recognition of local culture through community forestry: Forests are a critical element of local cultures in many places, and their use and management of forests is closely tied to people’s values and their visions of a desirable landscape and appealing future. Expanding support for community forestry would enhance the government effort to recognize the existence of local culture. - Community forest management and international commitments: The promotion of community forestry would help Viet Nam to fulfill its international commitments, such as the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), and the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).
References Arnold, J. E. M. (2001). Forests and people: Twenty - five years of community forestry. Rome, Italy: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Brown, D. (1999) ‘Principles & Practice of Forest Co-Management: Evidence from West-Central Africa’, EU Tropical Forestry Paper No.2, London: ODI. FAO. 1978. Forestry for local community development. Forestry Paper 7. Rome. Le, H. T. V. “Institutional Arrangements for Community-Based Mangrove Forest Management in Giao Lac Village, Giao Thuy District, Nam Dinh Province, Vietnam.” IDS Bulletin 32(2001): 71-7.

Nguyen, T. Q. What Benefits and for Whom? Effects of Devolution of Forest Management in Dak Lak, Vietnam. V. Beckmann & K. Hagedorn (eds). Aachen, Germany: Shaker Verlag, 2005. Pham, P. X. Bao Cao Thuc Trang Quan Ly Rung Cong Dong O Viet Nam Va Nhung Van De Dat Ra (Report on the Present Status of Community Forest Management in Vietnam and the Arising Problems). 2004. Hanoi. RECOFTC (The Center for People and Forests). People and Forests in A Time of Rapid Change: Strengthening Capacities for Community Forestry to Respond – RECOFTC Strategic Plan 2008-2013. 2008. Bangkok, Thailand. Sikor, T. and T. Q. Nguyen (eds.). Realizing Forest Rights in Vietnam: Addressing Issues in Community Forest Management. 2011. Bangkok, Thailand

RECOFTC – The center for people and forests RECOFTC was founded in1987 with the original name of “The Regional Community Forestry Training Center for Asia and the Pacific” and the Headquarter in Bangkok, Thailand. Since 1989, RECOFTC has strongly engaged in capacity building activities at regional level. In 2009, RECOFTC changed its name to “RECOFTC – The Center for People and Forests” to reflect the breakthrough of the organization, from a training center to a leading hub for knowledge management, information sharing, capacity building, advocacy and other assistance in community forestry. Although RECOFTC started its activities at the country level in Viet Nam in 2006, the year 2010 marked the official introduction of RECOFTC Viet Nam Country Program Office. With the mission to enhance capacities at all levels to assist the people in developing community forestry and managing forest resources for optimum social, economic, and environmental benefits, the Viet Nam Country Program has provided training courses, conducted studies and assessments, as well as fostered the policy reforms in community forestry in Viet Nam. RECOFTC focuses on the following thematic areas: - Maintaining and expanding community forests - People, forests and climate change - Transforming conflicts - Livelihoods and market

 

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CO-MANAGEMENT AND COMMUNITY FORESTRY,

ARE THEY SIMILAR OR DIFFERENT?

Dr Klaus Schmitt, Chief Technical Advisor, Management of Natural Resources in the Coastal Zone of Soc Trang Province

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f you look into the literature you will find many different definitions for co-management and community forestry; and, particularly for community forestry, the definitions vary from country to country. It is therefore not possible to compare two simple and widely accepted definitions in order to answer the question are forest co-management and community forestry the same or are they different. To answer this question we need to look at the key elements of the definitions and compare them. Co-management
©GIZ Co-management group meeting in Vo Thanh Van village, Cu Lao Dung, Soc Trang

One of the most comprehensive and up-to-date papers about comanagement has been written by Borini-Feyerabend (2011). She summarises the advances of international conservation polices and agreements over the last 15 years and concludes that they not only talk about participation, culture and equity, they also deal with governance. Governance – in contrast to management which is about what to do – is about who decides what to do. Therefore, the term shared governance should be used when talking about co-management to avoid a one-sided focus on what to do and to include the important element of who decides what to do. In this article, the term co-management is used with a clear understanding that it includes shared governance. Shared governance or co-management is the type of management/ governance in which decision making power, responsibility and accountability are shared between

governmental agencies and other stakeholders, in particular the indigenous peoples and local communities, who depend on the natural resources culturally and/or for their livelihoods. Co-management can be seen along a continuum in between a situation of full control by a state government (such as a National Park managed by a state authority) and a situation of full control by local actors (see table 3 page 27, Dudley 2008). Co-management can be achieved through a process of negotiation where representatives of governments, communities and other actors meet, exchange their views, find an accord about aims and solutions and develop a more or less formal co-management agreement about sharing authority, responsibility and accountability regarding the territory, area or natural

resources at stake. A shared governance institution will ensure that stakeholders not only deal with technical and practical matters when implementing the agreement (what to do about the natural resources at stake), but also about decision making processes and institutions. Co-management is an approach widely adopted throughout the world. However, the forms that negotiations can take vary enormously, as well as the agreements and institutions they produce. Many examples from all over the world can be found in Borrini-Feyerabend et al. (2004) and an example from the Mekong Delta in Viet Nam is provided by Lloyd (2010) and Schmitt (2011). The key elements or characteristics of co-management compared with other forms of governance and FSSP Newsletter
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factor. Community forestry has a clear emphasis on management and, in addition in Viet Nam, on forest land allocation. In community forestry the government’s role is often that of a technical advisor, not a joint decision-maker – it is not about shared governance, it is about management. However, in recent years, issues related to governance have become more and more important in community forestry. In Viet Nam, the only governance structure recognised from a legal perspective is forest management by a whole village or village forest management (Sikor and Nguyen 2011). Therefore, community forestry can also be described as a form of community governance (Borrini-Feyerabend et al. 2010) which is different from co-management which is joint management or shared governance. Another distinguishing factor is that community forestry and land allocation does not work effectively in every situation. Sikor and Nguyen (2011) conclude that transfer of tenure to communities possesses little value if forest protection obligations are more important than rights to forest management. This for example is the case when looking at mangrove forests. Here co-management is an effective way of maintaining and enhancing the protection function of the mangrove forest while at the same time providing livelihoods for local communities (Schmitt 2011). In such a situation community forestry does not work. Community forestry (community governance) in Viet Nam and comanagement (shared governance) are different forms of management and governance which should both be applied wherever appropriate in an integrated and site spice approach to natural resource management.

©GIZ Meeting during the co-management planning process in Cu Lao Dung, Soc Trang

management can be summarised as: (1) a negotiation process; (2) a co-management agreement; and (3) a pluralistic governance institution/management board. Community forestry Most definitions of community forestry stress the importance of participation and benefit-sharing. Community forestry is often seen as a process of increasing the involvement of and rewards for local people, of seeking balance between outside and community interests and of increasing local responsibility for the management of the forest resource. Like in comanagement it is often also considered a learning experience for all parties involved. Community forestry was initially defined by FAO in 1978, and can be defined as an umbrella term for a wide range of activities which link rural people with forests and the products and benefits derived from them. In Viet Nam, community forestry (rừng cộng đồng, or lâm nghiệp cộng đồng) refers to a wide range of managerial arrangements for forest management. It includes traditional indigenous management and forest management by unions FSSP Newsletter
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and cooperatives. Land use rights are provided through traditional recognised land use, contractual arrangements (green book, annual protection contracts), or legal long-term land titles in the form of red books (Wode and Huy 2009). These authors define community forestry as “any managerial arrangements in which local people are jointly engaged in managing natural forest resources inside their community boundaries for which long-term utilisation rights have been handed over to its managers.” This does not include community forestry arrangements where local people are only involved in forest leasing or contracting (green books) while the land use certificate remains with a forest company or a state entity. In summary, community forestry in Viet Nam is forest management with a focus on silviculture including timber and non-forest timber product utilisation, enrichment of natural forests, afforestation of bare land and benefits from environmental services. Conclusion When comparing the key elements of co-management and community forestry it is obvious that governance is the main distinguishing

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References Borrini-Feyerabend, G., Pimbert, M., Farvar, M.T., Kothari, A. and Renard, Y. (2004). Sharing Power – Learning by Doing in Comanagement of Natural Resources throughout the World. IIED and IUCN/CEESP/ CMWG, Cenesta, Teheran. 456 pp. http:// www.iucn.org/about/union/commissions/ ceesp/ceesp_publications/sharing_power. cfm Borrini-Feyerabend, G. et al. (2010). Biocultural Diversity Conserved by Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities – Examples and Analysis. ICCA Consortium and Cenesta for GEF SGP, GTZ, IIED and IUCN/CEESP, Theheran. 71 pp. http://www.iccaforum.org/ images/stories/Database/ea%20icca%20english.pdf Borrini-Feyerabend, G. (2011). Keynote Paper: Co-management and Shared Governance – the “Effective and Equitable Option” for Natural Resources and Protected Areas? pp. 5-25. In: Spelchan, D.G, Nicoll, I.A. and Nguyen, T.P.H. (eds.): Co-management/Shared Governance of Natural Resources and Protected Areas in Viet Nam. Proceedings of the National Workshop on Co-management Concept and Practice in Viet Nam, Soc Trang, 17-19 March 2010. Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, Management of Natural Resources in the Coastal Zone of Soc Trang Province, Vietnam. http://czmsoctrang.org.vn/en/Publications.aspx Dudley, N. ed. (2008). Guidelines for Applying Protected Area Management Categories. IUCN WCPA, Gland (Switzerland). 86 pp.

http://data.iucn.org/dbtw-wpd/edocs/PAPS016.pdf FAO (1978). Forestry for Local Community Development. Forestry Paper 7, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Rome. http://www.fao.org/docrep/ t0692e/t0692e00.htm Lloyd, R. (2010). Co-manage ment in Au Tho B Village: A Pilot Test for the Coastal Zone of Soc Trang Province. Deutsche Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ) GmbH, Management of Natural Resources in the Coastal Zone of Soc Trang Province. 91 pp. http://czm-soctrang.org.vn/ en/Publications.aspx. Schmitt, K. (2011). Effective Mangrove Conservation through Co-management in the Mekong Delta, Vietnam, pp 89-102. In: Spelchan, D.G, Nicoll, I.A. and Nguyen, T.P.H. (eds.): see Borrini-Feyerabend (2011). http:// czm-soctrang.org.vn/en/Publications.aspx Sikor, T. and Nguyen, Q.T. eds. (2011). Realizing Forest Rights in Vietnam: Addressing Issues in Community Forest Management. RECOFTC The Center for People and Forests, Bangkok, Thailand. 59 pp. http://dl.is. vnu.edu.vn/bitstream/123456789/392/1/ AF574d01.pdf Wode, B. and Huy, B. (2009). Study on State of the Art of Community Forestry in Vietnam. Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ), Hanoi.104 pp. http://www.socialforestry.org.vn/Document/DocumentEn/ CFM%20State%20of%20the%20Art%20 -%20ENG%20-%20June%202009.pdf

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As a federal enterprise, the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH supports the German Government in achieving its objectives in the field of international cooperation for sustainable development. We have been working with our partners in Viet Nam since 1993 and are currently active in three main fields of cooperation: 1) Sustainable Economic Development and Vocational Training; 2) Environmental Policy, Natural Resources and Urban Development; and 3) Health. We run projects commissioned by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU). We also cooperate with the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID), the European Union (EU) and KfW Entwicklungsbank.

nsuring that Viet Nam’s forests contribute to the sustainable development of the country requires fundamental reforms in policy and practice. At this point, policy is far ahead of practice, especially in the areas of PES, REDD, participatory protected area management, and the inclusion of smallholder tree farmers in the legal timber supply chain. Capitalizing in these opportunities requires, among other things, significant improvements in the ability of communities to organize themselves and to manage their forest resources cooperatively. With this in mind, the following paragraphs summarize the results of a workshop on community forest management (CFM) organized by IUCN, International Union for Conservation of Nature, and RECOFTC, The Center for People and Forests, in June 2011. The discussion focused on six issues. 1. Legal status of communities Many studies have recommended that the 2005 Civil Code be amended to recognize local communities as legal entities in, thereby bringing the Code into line with the 2004 Forest Law. But when asked, none of the participants could think of another country in FSSP Newsletter

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Vol 36 - 37, December 2012

ROLE OF COMMUNITY FOREST MANAGEMENT IN SUSTAINABLE FORESTRY IN VIETNAM
Jake Brunner, Programme Coordinator, IUCN, Hanoi, Viet Nam

Asia where individual villages are legal entities. Participants were highly skeptical that the Civil Code would ever recognize communities. It was pointed out, however, that what matters is not whether communities themselves are legal entities but whether the law allows them to establish legally recognized bodies such as a management committee or association that can open a bank account, sign contracts, etc. Decree 151 issued in 2007 allows communities to do this and GIZ, for example, used this decree to set up a forest management board in Soc Trang to negotiate a mangrove co-management agreement with local authorities. This approach would also be appropriate if not all community members want to participate in forest management. In these conditions, groups of households could come together to form a legal entity to manage the forest. This more flexible approach would not only comply with the law but may also offer MARD a forest management model that poses few perceived risks. 2. Government concerns about CFM FSSP Newsletter
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In response to the question of why, after 15 years of piloting, is MARD still so divided over CFM, several issues were raised. First, different pilots have used different methods, so there is no standard methodology for MARD to follow. Second, there are no successful examples of introduced CFM without longterm external support, so largescale CFM implementation would require MARD to shoulder new and additional responsibilities. Third, many government officials simply don’t trust communities to manage their forests properly. There are also bad memories of the agricultural cooperatives, which were apparently prone to elite capture. (Although not raised at the workshop, another reason may be that CFM introduction requires only a small capital investment but consumes a lot of time, so is unattractive to government officials.) Whatever the validity of these reasons, there appears to be a constituency within MARD that is uncomfortable with scaling up CFM. 3. Harvesting guidelines A criticism of the first phase of the MARD CFM pilot project was that the harvesting guidelines were unduly complex and resource intensive for communities. KfW

has had a similar experience in Quang Ngai because the national guidelines require the harvesting plan to be prepared by a forestry company. The cost of preparing this plan, plus the delays in getting it approved, reduced income to the point where harvesting barely broke even. This meant there was not enough money for routine forest protection tasks, calling into question the overall viability of the project. But MARD has recently issued new guidelines that allow local communities to prepare their own harvesting plan and require district authorities to approve the plan (or not) within 10 days. Previously they had taken months to respond. Now that these barriers have been removed, the economics of CFM are more positive and the model can be replicated (at least in good quality forest). 4. CFM as a niche forest management system It was clear from the KfW 6 project and others that under certain conditions CFM has the potential to be socially and economically viable beyond the life of a project. But the range of suitable conditions is narrow: KfW project

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sites were deliberately selected to include sufficiently large areas of well-stocked forest where there was strong support from local authorities and where there was a tradition of CFM. Quang Ngai (and the other three provinces in Central Viet Nam with KfW project activities) also has good market access. Under these conditions, CFM is cheaper than natural forest management by households because the costs of boundary demarcation, inventory, law enforcement, etc. can be shared between multiple households. Other advantages include the potential for a more equitable benefit distribution system and the ability to manage a forest covering several administrative units as a single unit. But most of the forest that has been allocated to communities is of poor quality, and much is remote from roads and markets. In other words, a CFM model that depends on timber harvesting pays to finance its management costs can only be applied in a few cases. The question was raised about the viability of CFM in areas without good quality forest. According to many villagers interviewed for the IUCN/RECOFTC study, the transaction costs of participating in CFM exceeded the financial benefits. This has been observed elsewhere. A study of CFM in Tanzania, for example, concluded that CFM may lower transaction costs (i.e., costs incurred by individual households in attending meetings and implementation of decisions to enforce community property rights

over local forests) for government, but that a large proportion of these costs are borne by poorer members of the community, and that transaction costs are critical factors in the success or failure of CFM (Charles K. Meshak et al., Transaction Costs of Community-based Forest Management: Empirical Evidence from Tanzania, African Journal of Ecology, 2006). This will become a growing issue in Viet Nam because most of the 2.7 million hectares of forest under Commune People’s Committee control and scheduled to be allocated by 2020 is of poor quality. 5. CFM/REDD One approach to the issue of poor quality forest would be to use REDD to provide financial incentives to communities to allow forests to recover through natural regeneration. The justification for REDD financing (assuming that the scope of REDD can be expanded to include AF/AR once the Kyoto Protocol ends in December 2012) is that regenerating forest sequesters carbon rapidly (unlike mature forest). Developing a financing strategy for degraded forest restoration is particularly important because MARD, under pressure from influential businesses, has issued Circular 58, which allows the clearing of forest with less than 100 m3/ha of standing timber (according to FAO, the average volume of standing timber in Viet Nam is 65 m3/ha) to plant rubber plantations. There are also reports of clearing degraded forest

for acacia plantations. 6. MARD CFM pilot phase 2 The second phase of the MARD CFM pilot project has a budget of over €2M to be spent between now and the end of 2012. A recurring theme from the IUCN/RECOFTC study and others is that introducing CFM takes time; you cannot “buy” CFM that will last beyond the life of project. So the question is: what can be achieved in so little time? Judging from the discussion, there is a need, first, to build a constituency within the MARD leadership favors scaling up of CFM under the right conditions, and, second, to explore how REDD can finance the transaction and opportunity costs for communities of restoring degraded forest. The results of the IUCN/RECOFTC study along with other RECOFTC studies (e.g., in Hoa Binh and Dak Lak) and lessons learned from other CFM projects in Viet Nam will feed into a review to be undertaken as part of the MARD CFM pilot project. In addition, RECOFTC will prepare a review of CFM in Viet Nam that will shape its support to the future development of CFM in Viet Nam. 7. Observations In conclusion, Matthew Markopoulos, IUCN’s forest governance thematic leader, made three observations: • If communities are given new authority, they may be tempted to FSSP Newsletter
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harvest as much as they can, as quickly they can (“cut and run”), before policy changes and they are shut out of the forest again (the same phenomena has been seen in China where household forest allocation was followed by surges of deforestation). Policy and tenure stability are therefore vital, as is a political culture that doesn’t punish intelligent risk-taking by local government officials. • There are relatively few technical barriers to CFM. The greatest threats are from internal conflicts over leadership accountability, benefit sharing, etc. and from external political and economic pressures. These are much harder for donors and other outsiders to tackle and they highlight the key (new) roles that government needs to play as facilitator and impartial adjudicator. Internal conflicts will inevitably evolve in response to changes in markets and other external conditions. • Ultimately, the debate over CFM should not be driven by ideology or personal opinion. Viet Nam should reach an informed decision on what economic, social, and environmental goods and services it wants from its forests, and then put in place the management systems (whether they be individual, household, community, private business, state, etc.) that can best deliver those outcomes in different conditions.

IUCN has a long history in Viet Nam since it supported the government in the preparation of the first National Conservation Strategy in 1984. Since then, IUCN has made significant contributions to biodiversity conservation and environmental protection, particularly through the development of laws and policies. IUCN’s global mission is: “To influence, encourage, and assist societies throughout the world to conserve the integrity and diversity of nature and to ensure that the use of natural resources is equitable and ecologically sustainable.” As defined in its 2007-2010 Strategic Framework, IUCN Viet Nam’s mission is: “To influence, encourage, and assist Viet Nam’s biodiversity conservation and equitable sustainable use of natural resources for improving its people’s quality of life.” Its vision is: ”To become the leading knowledgebased conservation and environmental organization, working in partnership with the government of Viet Nam, civil society, and the private sector in order to promote best practices for sustainable development; maintain environmental integrity; and support sustainable livelihoods for it people.”

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THE IMPORTANCE AND IMPLEMENTATION PROGRESS OF THE PROJECT

“Strengthening Community-based Forestry in Viet Nam”
Dr. Nguyễn Nghĩa Biên, Nguyễn Hồng Lý, Department of Planning and Finance, VNFOREST

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ince 2006, the Trust Fund for Forests has supported the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to piliot the project on community forestry management (CFM) named ”Commumity-based forestry management program, the pilot phase 2006 – 2009”. The project was implemented at 64 hamlets, 38 communes of 10 provinces, including: Dien Bien, Son La, Lang Son, Cao Bang, Yen Bai, Nghe An, Quang Tri, Thua Thien Hue, Gia Lai and Dak Nong. It created a foundation for community forestry management in Viet Nam, consisting of providing a preliminary guidance on CFM which was supported by a legal framework on land use planning, forest land allocation, agreement of benefit sharing, forest management and financial management. However, due to short duration, it was impossible to test the guidelines on community-based forestry management in reality for verification and draw lessons-learnt. In order to further improve the project results in the pilot phase and institutionalize policies on community-based forest management in Viet Nam, the project ”Strenthening community-based forest management” has been developed as the phase 2 of the pilot project. It continues to be implemented at 59 communities (in 35 communes) of 9 provinces: Dien Bien, Son La, Lang Son, Cao Bang, Yen Bai, Nghe An, Quang Tri, Thua Thien Hue and Dak Nong. The duration is from May 2012 to December 2013. Project objectives: Overall objective: To promote the active participation of local communities of Viet Nam in equiptable and sustainable management of natural resource forest in ecological terms and contributite to increasing income and reducing poverty for forest-dependent communities.

Specific objectives: 1. To review and evaluate models of community forest projects that have been operating for the purposes of documentation, dissemination and replication. 2. To strengthen the effectiveness of activities and the success of the project phase 1 to achieve sustainability and social equity at higher level. 3. To finalize and institutionalize a number of legal documents supporting the community forest management in Viet Nam, including CFM technical guidelines, a Decision of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development on CFM implementation and a draft Decree of the Prime Minister. 4. To raise awareness on CFM and improve capacity/ knowledge for related stakeholders on PFES, REDD, FLEGT and community forests related to forest management and social equity. 5. To develop CFM knowledge management system for organizations and individuals who are working in the fields, doing researches, training and learning at home and abroad, including the process of practical application of forestry officials, local communities and wide range of people. Outputs: The outputs of the Project will create basis for community forestry management in Viet Nam, ranging from the development of legal framework and technical guidelines to other promotion solutions to make contributions to sustainable forestry management. Meanwhile, the Project will contribute to implementing one of the important tasks of the forest sector in the FSSP Newsletter
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coming years which have been identified in the Forest Protection and Development Plan (2011 – 2020) that is to allocate over 2 million hectares of existing forest land being managed by local People’s Committees to be managed and used sustainably in a long term by local communities and households. Thus, the project can contribute to address a number of issues such as social equity, benefit sharing, gender equity, and economic difficulties of people living close to the forests in connection with poverty reduction goal. Project progress and initial results: According to the project progress, in October – November 2012, the models of community forestry projects have been evaluated in the field (activity 1). The results will be summarized and shared at the international workshop ”Sharing experience on community forest management” to be held in the first quarter of 2013. Attending the workshop, there will be CFM programs and projects being implemented in Viet Nam and around the world. In order to support the sustainable community forestry development, and continue to strengthening the Project activities and progress:
Main activities

results of phase 1 and integrating with programs and projects in the implementing provinces (activity 2), in October 2012, there were reviews and evaluation of the use of forest protection and development fund (VNFF) which were supported in the phase 1 to determine which communities used the funds effectively so as that they can recieve additional funds from the project through VNFF. Meanwhile, provinces have also identified and proposed models to increase income for local people from forests and reduce adverse impacts on forests. Based on evaluation results and appropriate proposals, the project will support the implementation of the models in the coming time. The project also has been reviewing community forestry-related policy mechanisms, CFM technical guidelines and documents, so that policies and legal documents supporting the implementation of CFM model at national level will be finalized and institutionalized (activity 3). In addition, the project is in collaboration with other forestry projects in Viet Nam, domestic and international organisations, especially RECOFTC, to implement project activities in line with the approved plan.

Timeframe

1. Review and evaluate models of community forest projects August-December 2012 that have been operating for the purposes of documentation, dissemination and replication

2. Support the sustainable community forestry development, October 2012 to November 2013 continue to further strengthen successful activities of the project phase 1 and integrate with other programs, projects at provincial level

3. Finalize and institutionalize policies and legal documents to October 2012 to December 2013 support the implementation of CFM model at national level October 2012 to October 2013

4. Improve capacity for related stakeholders at different levels

5. Develop CFM knowledge management system or database for January-December 2013 national benefits

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VIETNAM CONSERVATION FUND: FINANCIAL MECHANISM TO ENHANCE

CO-MANAGEMENT IN SPECIAL-USE FORESTS
Researches of Viet Nam Conservation Fund (VCF) since 2009 in 74 special-use forests (SUFs) across the country have shown that: the situation of illegal timber logging in most SUFs has improved slowly; wild animal hunting and trapping have continuously pushed rare species with high value of conservation internationally into extinction; the overharvesting of non-timber forest products has been continued. Moreover, new threats have been increasing, such as: hydropower projects, monoculture of industrial-plants and raw materials in buffer zones that lead to scattered and isolated SUFs; the development of road infrastructure. In order to create a strong mechanism to engage communities in forest resource management, VCF piloted the benefit sharing mechanism towards co-management to share responsibilities for resource management between State administrative agencies and resourceused communities. A series of researches, workshops has been carried out, and as a result, the Decision on the approval of piloting the benefit sharing mechanism in Bach Ma and Xuan Thuy National Parks was issued by the Prime Minister in February 2012. Steps towards the implementation of SUF Co-management Evaluation of conservation needs: A co-management research is

Huỳnh Quang Nhã, Society and Co-management Expert, Viet Nam Conservation Fund

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ackground: Viet Nam forestry reform has begun since 1990 by allocating State-owned forest land to provinces and households. The Land Law 1993 also began to recognize the rights of long-term forest land use of people. For the past 20 years, the Government of Viet Nam has issued several policies, programs to protect and restore natural forests such as the Program 327, Program 661,… Those programs have initially brought positive results. The areas of natural forest increased from 8,430,000 ha in 1990 to 10,285,383 ha in 2011; the areas of plantation forest increased from 745,000 to 3,229,681 ha; the forest cover increased from 27.8 to 39.7%1 . However, there are some weaknesses in these programs, e.g. forest quality was reduced due to the conversion of a part of natural forests into fast-growing tree planting. Contracting norms are low, local people got a feeling of becoming forest planters for the Government while traditionally they own the forests. It is the fact that forests are closed when law enforcement is not comprehensive due to the lack of human resources and regulatory mechanism which has created inequalities in the use of forest resources between formal and informal groups. Affected groups are ethnic minority communities whose livelihoods are closely associated with forests (women and poor households in particular).
1 Source: The Decision No. 2089/ BNN-TCLN dated 30 August, 2012

conducted to identify conservation needs of special-use forests. In which, threats to these forests are listed, discussed, analyzed, evaluated and classified according to the conservation criteria. SUF management boards will choose to implement a number of solutions, actions to prevent and mitigate urgent threats to SUFs with support from VCF. Social consultation: The objectives of SUF conservation have been studied in the context of socio-economic development in buffer zones with the aim of finding out any conflicts happened and solutions to minimize the conflicts (if necessary). The threats will be in consultation with local communities living inside (if any) or around SUFs, particularly vulnerable groups such as ethnic minorities, women, to discover the best solutions. Capacity building: Training courses are carried out to provide the management boards with knowledge and skills on co-management so as that they can implement the activities in accordance with the process. Identification of needs and resources: Qualitative and quantitative researches are conducted to identify the needs of using natural resources, local knowledge on natural resources utilization of indigenous communities living around SUFs. Distribution of resources, assessment of reserves and quantiFSSP Newsletter
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©VCF

ties for sustainable exploitation are mapped out. Agreement: Meetings at communal levels are organized to discuss with surrounding communities on the results of researches and making agreements on the possibility of sharing resources of SUFs as well as to determine roles, responsibilities and rights of beneficiaries and relevant stakeholders. Improvement of law enforcement and livelihood assistance: Village forest protection patrols are established, a network of co-management of communities around SUFs is set up and forest protection patrols are implemented in collaboration with local authority agencies such as local police and army. Moreover, it is necessary to provide livelihood models to mitigate possible negative impacts due to the improvement of law enforcement and generate additional income for poor forest-dependent FSSP Newsletter
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households, especially women. Implementation of benefit sharing mechanism2: These are following steps towards the implementation of benefit-sharing in communities living around special-use forests: (1) Establishment of management boards; (2) Development and approval of regulations; (3) Participation registration in benefit sharing mechanism; (4) Development and approval of plans; (5) Agreement on the sharing mechanism; and (6) Dispute monitoring and solution3 . Results Researches on conservation needs and social consultation in 74 SUFs across the country have been conducted with funding from VCF (range from USD 50,000 to USD 200,000) in order to minimize
2 At present, there are only 2 SUFs allowed to pilot this benefit sharing mechanism, which are Bach Ma and Xuan Thuy National Parks 3 More information can be found in Manual Guidelines on the benefit sharing mechanism published by VCF.

threats and achieve conservation objectives. Conservation management capacity of SUFs’ management boards and staff has been enhanced. The relationship between SUFs’ management boards and communities in core and buffer zones has been strengthened through communications activities and co-management network. Communities living in and around SUFs have actively participated in resource management activities such as forest protection patrols, forest fire protection, information sharing and commitment of sustainable forest resource harvesting. Models of sustainable livelihood help to increase income of vulnerable groups. The violation of forest resources has reduced significantly due to

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the improvement of law enforcement, proactive participation of communities in core and buffer zones. Several new species have been discovered and protected through biodiversity monitoring. Difficulties and challenges to comanagement According to tradition of ethnic minorities in Viet Nam, forests are sacredly owned by the communities. Yet, due to changing of economic development polices, e.g. the development of State-owned agroforestry enterprises, urbanization, the indigenous communities have been losing their close linkages to the forests, being “strangers” in a new situation, even on their own homeland. A number of natural resource management programs/projects with co-management approach in which fishery is the main focus have been relatively successful in Viet Nam. Forest resource co-management projects are fairly new, with small scale and no spreading impacts. Co-management mechanisms remain unsustainable because funding from VCF is small, so budget for co-management activities is limited. Once the budget is cut off, these activities are not sustained. Legal framework for co-management of forest resources is not completed and just piloted, so the activities of benefit sharing of special-use forests are only draft agreements. The capacity of SUF management board is insufficient while most of local communities living around special-use forests are ethnic minority groups whose languages,

cultural customs are barriers for the promotion of co-management. Recommendations In fact, it is impossible for the forest rangers alone to protect forest resources. So, it is necessary to share responsibilities among groups and communities who are in need of using resources towards co-management in which State can protect forest resources and people can benefit from resources sustainably. More funds should be allocated for resource co-management projects/ programs so as to attract people to proactively participate in sustainable forest resource protection. Creating a comprehensive legal framework or allowing to pilot benefit sharing mechanism in many special-use forests with different habitats across the country is needed. Co-management activities should be integrated in operation and management plans of special-use forests with specific funding resources to sustain these activities. Special-use forest management boards need to recognize the role of co-management in forest resource protection. Their knowledge and skills on co-management should be improved so that they can make timely adjustments in implementation, monitoring and evaluation of activities in accordance with the process.

Viet Nam Conservation Fund (VCF) is funded by Global Enviroment Facilities (GEF), Trust Fund for Forests (TFF) and European Community (EC). VCF provides international and national technical assistance in order to promote capacity building for SUF management boards and local communities of SUFs receiving funds; VCF supports the central level to set up a long-term sustainable financial mechanism for conservation activities in Viet Nam. VCF recently has provided small grants for 70 priority SUFs with international level of biodiversity. These small grants is provided basing on competitive funding principles with an aim to strengthen forest management activities.
   

 

 

 

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APPLYING FREE PRIOR AND INFORMED CONSENT IN VIET NAM AND THE ROLE OF COMMUNITY IN REDD+
Nguyễn Thị Thu Huyền, Programme Manager, UN-REDD Viet Nam Programme

What is REDD+? REDD+ is a new international framework covering five separate activities of (a) reducing emissions from deforestation; (b) reducing emissions from forest degradation; (c) conservation of forest carbon stocks; (d) sustainable management of forests; (e) enhancement of forest carbon stocks. Viet Nam is among the most vulnerable countries to the adverse effects of climate change. Viet Nam Local people and facilitators after FPIC meeting has formulated a number of policies to address both adaptation to for their cultural, spiritual and which land is therefore a vital step climate change and mitigation of physical sustenance, well-being in facilitating a process to respect a GHG emissions, including com- and survival. Among the guiding community’s right to FPIC. mitment to REDD+. Since 2009, principles for the UNREDD Proin line with international develop- gramme is the principle that FPIC FPIC in Viet Nam ments, Viet Nam has taken steps for indigenous peoples and other to align its forestry sector with forest-dependent communities As the first country program to REDD+ and to develop the nation- must be adhered to, and is essential proceed with formal preparations al capacity and infrastructure for to ensuring their full and effective for field-based REDD-plus activiimplementation of REDD+. Viet participation in policy-making and ties, the Viet Nam UN-REDD ProNam is one of the nine countries decision-making processes within gramme is pioneering a process to initially implementing the UN- UN-REDD Programme activities. seek FPIC in two pilot districts, namely the Lam Ha and Di Linh REDD Programme since 2009. Why Does REDD+ Need FPIC? districts, Lam Dong province. Viet Nam has 53 ethnic minority groups What is FPIC? It is becoming increasingly ac- belonging to eight language groups Free, Prior and Informed Consent cepted that in order for REDD+ and representing about 16 million is a rights-based principle repre- projects and programs to have lo- people. Most of these groups live senting a particular expression of cal credibility, the negotiation of in mountainous, highly forested the right to self-determination, re- agreements on the use of resources areas. Approximately 30 ethnic lated rights to lands, territories and has to recognize both the rights of minorities live in the two pilot natural resources, the right to cul- indigenous peoples and those of districts in Lam Dong province, ture, and the right to be free from local communities who depend on where the Viet Nam UN-REDD racial discrimination. FPIC applies forest for their livelihoods. Not do- Programme planned to carry out to key decision points for actions ing so may lead to conflict where program activities, but of these, that have the potential to impact established livelihood practices only six minorities are actually nathe lands, territories, and resources and access to resources are denied. tive to the area, the others having upon which rights holders depend Identification of who has rights to migrated from other parts of the FSSP Newsletter
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country in the last few decades. Four simple principles are guiding the pilot FPIC process : 1. FPIC should be sought for all forest communities and communities living at the margin of forests 2. FPIC activities must proactively reach out to communities, and not wait for them to come forward 3. Homogeneity between communities cannot be assumed 4. Rights holders offer primary guidance for customized consent procedures Seeking FPIC in Viet Nam: An Eight Step Process The eight-step process was implemented over five months in early

2010. Step 0 – Preparation A summary of the legal basis for local community engagement/ FPIC in Viet Nam was prepared; communications materials, including posters a brochure, videos, and other materials explaining climate change, the concept of REDD-plus and proposed activities of the UNREDD Programme were prepared; advance consultation with provincial and district authorities on the proposed process were conducted. Step 1 - Consultation with local officials The Viet Nam UN-REDD Programme organized numerous awareness-raising events for provincial, district and commune leaders, for village heads, and for

Women’s and Youth Unions, to ensure that the principles guiding the Programme and district-level activities are understood. The posters, brochures and other materials were distributed as part of the awareness raising event. The provincial, district and commune leaders also reviewed the proposals for steps 2 to 7. Local TV and radio stations were mobilized to broadcast items on climate change and REDD-plus, in both Vietnamese and K’Ho language.

Step 2 – Recruitment of interlocutors The UN-REDD Programme recruited sufficient interlocutors to disseminate information in each ethnic minority village in Lam Ha and Di Linh districts. The inter-

Local people giving consent on REDD

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locutors were not government officials, and each interlocutor was fluent in at least one of the languages of the ethnic minorities in Lam Ha and Di Linh districts, such that all ethnic minority languages are represented. Step 3 – Training of interlocutors The UN-REDD Programme organized training events for 24 interlocutors to enrich their knowledge on climate change, REDD+ and UN-REDD programme, and train dissemination skills, etc,.. Step 4 – Local awareness raising Each group of interlocutors (comprise of 4 people) was responsible for 10 villages of ethnic minorities in whose language they are fluent. Interlocutors contacted village head to organize a meeting with defined location and time, during which interlocutors provided the information on climate change, REDD-plus and proposed activities of the UN-REDD Programme, using the translated materials. Step 5 – Village meetings At each village meeting, interlocutors provided information on climate change, REDD-plus and the proposed activities of the UN-REDD Programme, using the translated brief document. The interlocutor(s) answered questions and then retire to allow the villagers to discuss whether they were prepared to provide their consent, or return at an agreed later date for this purpose. At the initial meeting, an anonymous “Comments Box” was provided, and collected at a later date. Step 6 – Recording decisions FSSP Newsletter
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Having discussed, the villagers have conveyed their decision. The names, sex, ages, ethnic group of each participant in the village meeting will be recorded. Step 7 – Interlocutors report to the Viet Nam UN-REDD Programme The record of consent or nonconsent of each village will be provided to the UN-REDD Programme by each interlocutor,. Independent verification of the FPIC process has been undertaken by RECOFTC, an international organization with specialization in the area of forestcommunity interactions. The UN-REDD Programme in Viet Nam have moved quickly to pilot an FPIC process in Lam Dong province, partly to comply with the provisions of the UNDRIP (United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indegenous Peoples) with respect to this declaration, but more importantly in order to generate lessons on how to conduct FPIC for REDD+. Such a process had never been attempted before. REDD+ is a broad, complex, and as yet not fully defined concept, dealing with a commodity that cannot be seen (reduced emissions of greenhouse gases) and benefits and risks that are difficult to describe, let alone quantify. Furthermore, FPIC for REDD+ will need to deal with geographic and social scales far beyond previous FPIC exercises. The 78 villages involved in this pilot exercise represent a tiny fraction of those which will need to be involved in FPIC for REDD+. Without a lot of previous experience on which to design the process, the UN-REDD Programme made a conscious decision to try to implement FPIC, honoring the well-established principles as far

as was possible, and accepting that the process would not be perfect, and errors would be made. Follow-up actions There is a need to ensure that communities are kept informed of the entire process, and the final conclusions. In an operational REDD+ setting, the final conclusion would consist of a commune, district, and provincial socio-economic development and land use plan that reflects each community’s expressed desires regarding REDD+. Importance of FPIC to REDD+ activities United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) safeguards articulated in the Cancun Agreement: Full and effective participation of relevant stakeholders, in particular indigenous people and local communities, in the actions referred to in paragraphs 70 and 72 of this decision”. As well as being a legal requirement, there are practical reasons for REDD+ project proponents to respect the right to FPIC. Indigenous and local people will play a large part in determining the success of a REDD+ project. They are crucial to the implementation of activities and policies under the project, and thus to the achievement of results in terms of emission reductions. They will also be central to the evaluation of adherence to social standards, or safeguards, conducted by certification bodies on behalf of investors in forest based carbon credits. Such evaluations will determine the validity and value of any carbon credits generated .

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The UN-REDD Programme is the United Nations collaborative initiative on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD) in developing countries. The Programme was launched in 2008 and builds on the convening role and technical expertise of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). The UN-REDD Programme supports nationallyled REDD+ processes and promotes the informed and meaningful involvement of all stakeholders, including Indigenous Peoples and other forest-dependent communities, in national and international REDD+ implementation. The Programme supports national REDD+ readiness efforts in 46 partner countries, spanning Africa, Asia-Pacific and Latin America, in two ways: (i) direct support to the design and implementation of UN-REDD National Programmes; and (ii) complementary support to national REDD+ action through common approaches, analyses, methodologies, tools, data and best practices developed through the UN-REDD Global Programme.

 

Forestland under community management in the ASEAN Country Brunei Cambodia Indonesia Lao PDR Malaysia Myanmar Philippines Singapore Thailand Viet Nam Hectares N/A 113,544 590,000 8,210,803 N/A 41,000 2,985,000 N/A 194,000 3,300,000 % of total forest area N/A 1% <1% 52% N/A <1% 39% N/A 1% 24%

Source: Data derived from the country profiles in The Role of Social Forestry in Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation in the ASEAN Region (RECOFTC, ASFN, SDC, 2011).

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ENHANCING THE INVOLVEMENT OF COMMUNITIES IN FOREST MANAGEMENT
- JICA’S EXPERIENCES FROM DIEN BIEN AND KON TUM Eiji Egashira, JICA Viet Nam, SUSFORM-NOW Project

1. Introduction Forest conservation and development of rural communities with high dependence on the natural resources, has continuously been the key area for JICA’ s support to the forestry sector of Viet Nam. This short article introduces the two cases – Dien Bien and Kon Tum - which both have strong focus on enhancing community involvement in forest management. 2. SUSFORM-NOW project Northwest region is known for its importance as the watershed of Northern Viet Nam, and also for its high poverty rate. JICA, Dien Bien Province, and MARD have been implementing the Project for Sustainable Forest Management in the Northwest Watershed Area (SUSFORM-NOW) in Dien Bien Province since Aug. 2010. The purpose of the five-year project is “participatory forest management and livelihood development are mutually sustained in the pilot sites, using approaches also applicable to other areas.” To achieve this project purpose, the expected outputs are as follows. Output 1: Workable approaches on landscape plans and land-based livelihood development plans are established; Output 2: Technical and institutional capacities of implementing agencies (executing agencies, and supporting agencies) are strengthened; and Output 3: Provincial plan for dissemination of the achievements of FSSP Newsletter
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the pilot activities is adopted for Dien Bien Province. For Output 1, following seven activities have been carried out: 1. Select the pilot sites; 2. Clarify and gain stakeholder’s consent on current status of land use and land use rights through socio-economic surveys in the selected pilot sites; 3. Mobilize local people for formulation and introduction of pilot activities; 4. Formulate participatory forest management and livelihoods development plans (i.e. landscape plans and land-based livelihoods development plans) in each pilot site; 5. Facilitate implementation of the plans developed in Activity #4 in the pilot sites; 6. Monitoring progress of pilot activities; and 7. Evaluate and analyze pilot activities results and share lessons learned.

The pilot activities build on the process of testing hypotheses. The idea is to develop effective approaches that accommodate both forest management and livelihoods development toward sustainable forest management in the Northwest watershed area, which is facing more challenges than other parts of the country. The hypothesis to be tested is “the approach of implementing activities in certain areas based on landscape plans, with a combination of OFTs (OnFarm-Trials introduced by the JICA’s former RENFODA Project in Hoa Binh1) and allocation of forest plantations and lands being able to produce and harvest NTFPs, together with securing alternative cash income through improving market access of agricultural and forestry products, is effective for facilitating sustainable forest management.” The cycle of hypotheses testing consists of two phases. In Phase
1 Rehabilitation of Natural Forest in Degraded Watershed Area in the North of Viet Nam (RENFODA).

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has recently started to reallocate forests from households to village communities so that all villagers will have responsibility for forest management (with the exception of artificial plantations which are well managed by individual households). In addition, both forest management and livelihood development activities need to be coordinated by a single village level management board. iii. Necessity of regular extension services
© JICA

1 (the first two years), small-scale pilot activities have been implemented in the seven pilot sites: two villages in two communes of Dien Bien district, four villages in three communes in Dien Bien Dong district, and the southern half of Ta Leng Commune in Dien Bien Phu City. As of the end of Sep. 2012, the Project has supported villagers of these pilot sites to formulate participatory forest management and livelihood development plans and the implementation of these pilot activities including: - Afforestation: participated by 133 households of three pilot sites; - Cow raising: 12 households, two sites; - Pig raising: 39 households, four sites; - Fish raising: 52 households, six sites; - Biogas: 40 households, five sites; - Organic vegetable (spring and winter vegetable): 309 households, seven sites; - Fruit tree plantation: 335 households, seven sites; - Improved cooking stove: 29 households, five sites; - Mong Pe wine: one production

group, one site; and - Broom making: one production group, one site. Following are lessons learned so far: i. Necessity of commune level facilitators It is difficult to facilitate implementation of pilot activities without active participation of the commune level officers who are the closest authorities to villagers. Thus, commune level facilitators in each pilot site are indispensable, and their facilitation skills need to be well developed. ii. Necessity of the village level management board for pilot activities and reallocation of forest to the village communities It is difficult to mutually sustain the implementation of the participatory forest management and livelihood development plans without a village level mechanism for coordinating different pilot activities. In addition, the responsibility of the participants in forest management (with the exception of artificial plantations) is not clear because despite forests being allocated to households, physical identification of their forest in the field is not possible in many of the villages. As the solution, the province

Although the project has conducted several training courses for participants of the pilot activities, it is difficult for them to apply what they have learned in their daily practices. Apparently, learning from lectures and demonstrations is not as effective as through daily practices. Thus, the regular extension services by commune level (or, if there are no suitable commune level resources, district level) forest rangers, agricultural extension agents, and veterinarians are important. These resource persons are also expected to support the villagers in non-technical aspects, such as cost-benefit analysis at the planning stage of each pilot activity, so villagers may avoid implementing unfeasible and/or unprofitable activities. 3. Experiences from Kon Tum Community Forestry Management (CFM) case From 2005 to 20082 JICA worked in Kon Tum province, to develop a CFM plan in Vi Ch’Ring village of Kon Plong district, where 808ha of rich natural forest land which used to be under State Owned Company management were allocated. The CFM plans (annual and 5 years plans) and CFM regulations were approved by the provincial and the
2 The Project on the Village Support for Sustainable Forest Management in Central Highland.

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central authorities as the basis of CFM. Since then, the community has been succeeding in protecting their forests under the agreed plan. However, the community is yet enjoying the benefit from timber production, since they lack the initial investment, and skills such as logging, transporting and marketing. The alternative could be to outsource the work (under the supervision of the community) to the professional companies, however, the community is not familiar with such business contracts, and some members concerns the risk of gradually losing the control over their forest. 4. Conclusion In the place like Dien Bien, where the major driving forces of deforestation, or the impediments of forest recovery, are associated

with the need of sustaining livelihoods, the countermeasures can be diverse and beyond the capacity of forestry sector. This makes the involvement other sectors inevitable. Especially the role of the commune level facilitators appears to be the key in strengthening the linkage between forest management and livelihood development activities. Fostering their practical skills to address the comprehensive community needs is a challenge. Introducing village level mechanism, such as the proposed village level management board, must be useful to enhance the coordination and synergy among different activities. With regards forest allocation, one undergoing solution for a more practical and simple system is to allocate the forest to the village community level, rather than the household level, so that the trans-

action cost can be reduced, and the communities can avoid conflicts over forest ownerships, and manage their forest sustainably as their common asset. This has an important implication today, as forest ownership is becoming far more important under new mechanisms such as PFES and REDD+. SUSFORM-NOW will incorporate REDD+ as a component soon, and we are likely to see some new challenges on the role of community. Lastly, as our experience in Kon Tum shows, there are multiple factors the communities need to overcome until they reach the actual benefit. A simple but holistic support system is required to make CFM operational for local level actors, as well as to widely practice in the country.

JICA is collaborating with the Vietnamese government in order to demonstrate the multi-functional role of forests and maximize the benefit of forest resources for the people. JICA’s support is structured in harmonization with the key forestry sector strategies of Viet Nam, such as the National Forestry Development Strategy (2006-2020) and other governmental strategies and plans. There are five main areas of cooperation: Area 1: Policy support JICA supports the development of national and local capacity to formulate and implement policies to address long-term challenges. Area 2: Sustainable forest management (SFM) JICA’s support targets afforestation and reforestation activities of production and protection forests. By following up with further support for increased management efficiency, improvement will reach both quality and quantity dimensions of forests. Area 3: Livelihoods development of forest dependent communities JICA provides support to enable sustainable forest management with the participation of local communities. Identifying workable arrangements of pro-poor forest management will be the key challenge to balance protection and sustainable use of forest resources. Area 4: Biodiversity conservation In order to reverse the declining trend of the biological resources, JICA support aims to build capacity in biodiversity conservation policy and implementation. Area 5: Climate change and forestry In order to address the challenge of tackling global warming, JICA support aims to integrate forestry management with climate change mitigation (i.e. REDD+) and adaptation strategies.

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LEGAL DOCUMENTS ON FORESTRY ISSUED BETWEEN 1 JULY 2012 AND 31 DECEMBER 2012
1. Joint Circular No. 3/2012/TTLT-BKHĐT-BNNPTNT-BTC, dated 5 June 2012, issued by Ministry of Planning and Investment, MARD and Ministry of Finance guiding the implementation of the Decision No. 147/2007/QĐ-TTg and the Decision No. 66/2011/QĐ-TTG by the Prime Minister; 2. Circular No. 126/2012/TT-BTC, dated 7 August 2012, issued by the Ministry of Finance on the regulations on collecting rates and methods, transfer, management and utilization of entrance fees in National Parks, including Bạch Mã, Cúc Phương, Ba Vì, Tam Đảo, Yokdon and Cát Tiên; 3. Circular No. 42/2012/TT-BNNPTNT, dated 21 August 2012, issued by MARD amending and supplementing some articles of the Circular No. 01/2012/TT-BNNPTNT dated 4 January, 2012 of MARD regulating document package of legal forest products and verification of forest product origin; 4. Circular No. 47/2012/TT-BNNPTNT, dated 25 September 2012, by MARD on the regulations on exploitation and management of wildlife and raising of conventional forest fauna species; 5. Circular No. 51/2012/TT-BNNPTNT, dated 19 October 2012, issued by MARD guiding the implementation of forest protection and development task stipulated in the Decision No. 57/QĐ-TTg, dated 9 January 2012, of the Prime Minister.

MAJOR UPCOMING FSSP & TFF ACTIVITIES IN EARLY 2013
1. FSSP activities: - Organize FSSP Annual Plenary Meeting, January 2013. 2. TFF activities: - Organize BOD meeting # 16 and 17; - Carry out roadmap for integration of TFF to VNFF; - Organize training courses for on-going TFF projects; - Approve new projects and hand over completed project results.

Chief Editor: Mr. Nguyễn Bá Ngãi, Deputy Director General, Administration of Forestry, MARD - Director of FSSP Coordination Office Editors: Ms. Nguyễn Tường Vân - Deputy Director, Department of Science, Technology & International Cooperation, Administration of Forestry, MARD - Deputy Director of FSSP Coorination Office Ms. Nguyễn Bích Hằng, Communications Officer, FSSP Coordination Office Publication permit No. 1415 - 2012/CXB/35/09 - 43/HĐ Comments are welcome at FSSP Coordination Office: 3rd floor, A8 building, No.10 Nguyễn Công Hoan str., Hà Nội, Việt Nam / Tel: +84-4-37629412; Fax: +84-4-37711431 Email: fssp@hn.vnn.vn / Website: www.vietnamforestry.org.vn

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