Viet Nam has a number of plans and policies that support efforts to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation. The key policy instrument to combat climate change that underpins REDD+ policy development in Viet Nam is the National Target Programme to Respond to Climate Change (NTP-RCC). The NTP-RCC, approved by the Prime Minister in December 2008 through Decision No. 158/2008/QD-TTg, commits the government to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and also sets a target to increase forest cover from 44% to 47% by 2020. The National Strategy on Climate Change, approved by Decision No. 2139/QD-TTg in December 2011, sets out the country’s programmes to address climate change including related to activities in the forestry sector. It contains provisions for the establishment, management, protection and sustainable development of 16.24 million hectares of forest by 2020, increasing forest cover to 45%.
Specific to the forestry sector, the Forestry Development Strategy 2006-2020, promulgated through Decision No. 18/2007/QD-TTg, has the main objectives of sustainably establishing, managing, protecting and developing 16.24 million hectares of forestry land while increasing forest cover in the country. The strategy emphasises clear benefits, rights and obligations as important for the sustainable protection and development of forest resources. It further highlights the need for a transparent and stable investment environment, including related to land tenure rights, and sets an objective for monitoring forestry and land inventories in Viet Nam. The National REDD+ Action Programme, approved through Decision 799/QD-TTg, provides the major supporting framework for REDD+ in Viet Nam. It defines the roles of relevant agencies in the development of REDD+ and sets out the specific goals, overall objectives and key tasks for the periods 2011-2015 and 2016-2020; namely being to reduce emissions in the agricultural sector 20% and increase national forest cover to between 44 and 45% by 2020.
One of the most significant policies supporting REDD+ activities in Viet Nam was the Five Million Hectare Reforestation Programme (5MHRP), which formed the cornerstone of forestry policy in the country. Approved by Decision No. 661/QD-TT in 1998, the programme ran for 13 years until 2011. The programme had ambitious targets to increase forest cover to 43% by 2010, and although it contributed greatly to forest protection and forest cover was reported to have increased to 39.5% in 2010 (MARD, 2012), results were mixed and fell short of its ambitious targets, particularly related to forest regeneration (UN-REDD PROGRAMME, 2012b). Despite this, some important lessons from 5MHRP have been taken forward, such as improved monitoring and surveillance in the implementation of the Forest Protection and Development Plan (MARD, 2013). The Forest Protection and Development Plan 2011-2020 commenced in 2012 (approved by Decision 57/QD-TTg) and forms part of the Forestry Development Strategy 2006-2020.