UN-REDD Programme (Vietnam)

Initiative

Summary

The UN-REDD Programme for Vietnam seeks to address deforestation and forest degradation through capacity building at national and local levels. Vietnam was one of the original UN-REDD "pilot" countries.

The objective of the UN-REDD Programme for Vietnam is to assist the Government of Vietnam in developing an effective REDD regime and to contribute to the reduction of regional leakage. The original broader goal being that by the end of 2012 Vietnam would be REDD-ready and able to contribute to reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation nationally and regionally.

To secure the objective, three outcomes and associated outputs are pursued:Outcome 1: Improved institutional and technical capacity for national coordination to manage REDD activities in Vietnam.

Outputs:1.1: National coordination mechanism; 1.2: National reference scenario for REDD; 1.3: Framework National REDD Program (Strategy); 1.4: Performance-based, transparent benefit sharing payment system from national to local levels; 1.5: Communications materials for sharing lessons internationally. 

Outcome 2: Improved capacity to manage REDD and provide other Payment for Ecological Services at district-level into sustainable development planning and implementation. Outputs 2.1: Provincial and district-level forest land-use plan mainstreaming REDD potential; 2.2: Participatory C-stock monitoring system; 2.3: Equitable and transparent benefit sharing payment systems; 2.4: Awareness-raising at provincial, district and local levels

Outcome 3: Improved knowledge of approaches to reduce regional displacement of leakage. Outputs 3.1: Quantification of regional displacement of emissions risk; 3.2: Regional dialogue on displacement of emissions risk; 3.3: Analysis of opportunities for linkage with non-REDD initiatives to reduce cross-border flow of illegal timber. 

The programme proposed to achieve this by building capacity at the national level to permit the Government of Vietnam, and especially the REDD focal point in the Department of Forestry (DoF) of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD), to coordinate and manage the process of establishing tools to implement a REDD programme.  Secondly, by building capacity at local levels (provincial, district and community) through pilots in two districts in Lam Dong province that demonstrate effective approaches to planning and implementing measures to reduce emissions.

Phase 1 of the programme was completed in October 2012 (budget: US$4 million), and a funding agreement for a Phase 2 was signed with Norway in December 2012 (budget: US$30 million). Through the Vietnam REDD+ Office, the REDD Network and six sub-technical working groups, a solid structural foundation has been laid at the national level for Vietnam to transition smoothly from phase I to II. The Government of Viet Nam established both a Cross-Ministerial REDD+ Steering Committee, and a National REDD+ Office to lead on REDD+. Through effective mutistakeholder engagement throughout, Phase 1 has achieved an MRV framework, the piloting of an FPIC process, and progress on a benefit distribution system. 

Phase 2 commenced in December 2012 and was launched officailly in July 2013 with the signing of an agreement between the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) and representatives from the UN agencies: the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). Phase 2 is set to run until 2015. A key challenge for the second phase is the need to raise low awareness levels on REDD+, to respond to the high expectations of many living in rural areas and increasing engagement with the non-forestry and private sector. Phase 2 aims to reduce emissions in six provinces, working with provincial, district and commune authorities, local communities, and the private sector.

Key results and achievements for the REDD programme in Vietnam can be found here

Stakeholder engagement and participation

Key stakeholders across sectors are being engaged by UN-REDD Vietnam. This includes part of the REDD-Network, where representatives of government ministries, IGOs and NGOs meet to discuss REDD activities.

Through effective multi-stakeholder engagement throughout, Phase 1 has achieved an MRV framework, the piloting of an FPIC process, and progress on a benefit distribution system. FPIC has been central to the UN-REDD Programme. Pilot exercises on applying the prinicples of FPIC in the pilot province of Lam Dong were regarded as groundbreaking. However, it is understood that FPIC requires an ongoing process of negotiation and communication, with it being necessary for consultation and consent to be sought whenever activities or policies affect concerned communities. Lessons learned on FPIC were shared as a regional workshop in Bogor, Indonesia, in April 2012.

Participatory Carbon or Forest Monitoring (PCM/PFM) have been a core component of the strategy and are seen as vital parts of awareness raising.  

Land tenure arrangements and carbon rights

UN-REDD acknowledges that clear ownership of land is critical to the implementation of REDD+. The benefits need to be distributed in a transparent and equitable fashion down to the level of individual organizations, households, individuals and other legal economic entities.

Although there is no specific output regarding rights and tenure in the UN-REDD workplan, it will be discussed through capacity building and awareness raising activities undertaken by UN-REDD. Experiences from Phase 1 highlight that is existing rights form the basis for benefit distribution then incentives will not be allocated fairly. There is an understanding of the need to strengthen rights, however there has been little concrete action to address this.

Forest Management

Benefit distribution is at the heart of forest governance in that it aims to direct incentives to achieve policy goals. To date conversations on benefit distribution (BD) remain largely abstract as it remains removed from on-the-ground activities. There is a concern that talk of benefit distribution leads stakeholder to associate these with monetary benefits alone, neglecting non-monetary and practical incentives. There has been a suggestion to there change the terminology to 'resource allocation'. A BD mechanism focusing on community-based resource allocation rather than on existing rights has been proposed as one way to avoid inequitable distribution of incentives in which the landless are marginalised.

Reference levels

One of the key outputs for UN-REDD is the development of an interim National Reference Scenario for Vietnam, including analyses of different technical options for definition of the REL. As part of this activity, UN-REDD will review methodologies related to RELs. At present, there is growing consensus that RELs/RLs for Vietnam will be developed for all carbon related activities within the scope of the REDD+ mechanism being negotiated under the UNFCCC. Also, a historical REL will be developed based on historical deforestation trends dating back to at least 1990. Sub-national RELs/RLs will be developed based on stratification of the national.

Safeguards

The UN-REDD Programme will produce tools and guidance to assess biodiversity and ecosystem services in reforested areas, with the aim of supporting the realisation of co-benefits from the major reforestation effort underway. This will include simple tools for identifying which ecosystem services could be important in reforested areas, and guidance on selecting approaches for assessing and monitoring change in services. One of the six REDD+ Sub-Technical Working Groups (STWGs) is dedicated to work on safeguards.

MRV

MRV in Vietnam will adopt a suite of methodologies, including, ground-based, via participatory carbon monitoring (PCM)and satellite-based. PCM is the periodic monitoring of forest carbon stocks by local communities and should be considered as supplementary to, and not representative of, a full MRV system. The core activities under PCM are basic forest mensuration, with additional measurments for above- and below-ground carbon pools. Many stakeholders question the utility of PCM to a national MRV system given the different capabilities of local people in assessing carbon related parameters. Participatory forest monitoring (PFM) is aknowledged as a potentially valuable tool in REDD+ monitoring as it does not entail an explicit link to carbon stock measurement. Looking to Phase 2, PCM and PFM are to be reframed as an exploratory programme identifying the potential contribution of local people to a national MRV framework, rather than a core element from the outset.