In the context of REDD+ in Viet Nam, this safeguard element means that there is a clear regulatory framework defining ownership, management, access to and use of forests, which is implemented in practice towards achieving reduced deforestation and forest degradation and enhancement of forest carbon stocks. Governance arrangements are expected to be appropriate, fair and equitable, ensuring that poor and vulnerable forest-dependent communities in particular are not further marginalised nor excluded from lands and forest lands and are enabled to access benefits from forests.
Viet Nam’s legal framework clearly regulates the ownership and rights to land use and forest land. The Constitution of Viet Nam states that all land and natural resources are public properties, coming under ownership of the entire people represented and uniformly managed by the State. The Constitution and the Land Law (2013) recognise the right of organisations and individuals to be assigned or leased land and to have their land use right recognised by the State through the grant of a land use right certificate. Land users have the right to transfer the land use right, and practice related rights and duties in concordance with the law. Households that have been allocated agricultural and residential land have their rights safeguarded under the Land Law (2013), including rights to compensation in the event of appropriation of land by the state and resettlement. These rights may be important in the context of REDD+ policies and measures involving changes in land use or strengthening the conservation of forests. The Land Law also provides for compensation to households that use agricultural land but have not been granted land use rights certificates.
Land use planning: The National REDD+ Programme and Provincial REDD+ Action Plans include land use planning activities that could potentially impact local people’s land rights. The Land Law (2013) and Decree 43/2014/ND-CP detailing a number of articles of the Land Law (2014) provide a legal framework for these planning processes, including opportunities to address concerns where a change of land use may affect forest lands or existing land use rights certificate holders, including households, individuals and communities. Decree 47/2014/NĐ-CP on regulations on compensation, support, and resettlement upon land expropriation by the state provides the details, procedures and valuations for compensation in the event of expropriation of land by the State, Decision 63/2015/QD-TTg on policy assistance in vocational training and job search for workers whose land is withdrawn by the state establishes additional support for citizens who have had their land expropriated.
Forest land allocation: The Forestry Law (2017) stipulates how forest lands are to be allocated by forest category, as follows:
- Special-use forests (SUFs) are allocated to SUF Management Boards; organisations operating in science and technology, training and education, vocational training in forestry; communities; and economic entities.
- Protection forests are allocated to Protection Forest Management Boards; organisations operating in science and technology, training and education, vocational training in forestry; households and individuals; communities; and economic entities. Protection forests are generally allocated to protection Forest Management Boards. Where protection forests are not managed by a Forest Management Board, organisations, households or individuals can be allocated this forest land under contract for purposes permitted, but this land must be used for forest protection and development activities and cannot be used to secure a mortgage or other financial instruments. The same provision applies to SUFs.
- Production forests are allocated without levy to households and individuals as well as Protection and SUF Management Boards with production forest land located in the area of forest allocated to them. The State also leases natural and planted production forests to economic entities, households and individuals, and collects rentals on a lump-sum or annual basis.
Where the land recovered by the State is forest land, compensation is regulated under the Forest protection and Development Law (2004)/Forestry Law (2017) with detailed regulations provided under subsidiary legislation and can include assignment or lease of another forest area.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development is responsible for overall forest management; provincial Departments of Agriculture and Rural Development are responsible within their respective localities; provincial Departments of Natural Resources and Environment are responsible for State management of land according to the law. Provincial Forest Protection Departments as well as Management Boards for Special Use Forests and Protection Forests under the provincial Departments of Agriculture and Rural Development are responsible for State management of forestry according to the law. Forest Management Boards develop forest plans for respective areas; contract households to support forest protection and development. Provincial People’s Committees approve forest plans, and receive and resolve disputes and grievances.
 The Constitution of Viet Nam (2013), Article 53.
 The Land Law (2013).
 The Land Law (2013), Article 77.
 The Land Law (2013), Article 77.
 NRAP 2017
 Decree 43/2014/ND-CP detailing a number of articles of the Land Law (2014)
 Decree 47/2014/NĐ-CP
 Decision 63/2015/QD-TTg
 The Forestry Law (2017, effective 1 January 2019) Articles 16-17.
 The Land Law (2013), Article 136.
 The Land Law (2013), Article 137.
 Forestry Law (2017), Article 16.
 Forestry Law (2017), Article 17.
 Forestry Law (2017)
 Joint Circular No. 14/TTLT-BNNPTNT-BNV dated 15 March 2015 of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and the Ministry of Home Affairs providing guidelines on the tasks, functions, powers and organisation structure of agencies specialised in agriculture and rural development under the People’s Committees at provincial and district levels, and Circular No. 15/2015/TT-BNNPTNT of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development dated 26 March 2015 providing guidelines on the tasks of the Sub-Department and specialised organisations under the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.
A number of benefits and risks related to rights to land and forest land have been identified through REDD+ planning processes at the national and subnational levels. A 2017 assessment of potential benefits and risks arising from National REDD+ Programme policies and measures identified the following relevant co-benefits and risks:
- REDD+ policies and measures may support improved access to, and strengthened use rights over, lands and forest resources (and associated natural capital);
- There is a risk of loss of productive assets such as land, access or use rights to forests/forestry lands and, therefore, potential for increasing conflicts over land tenure and/or use;
- Potential reduced access to resources, such as forest and land, for subsistence and/or livelihoods;
- There may be a lack of maintenance or abandonment of coastal forests plantations on lands that are classified as protection or special-use forest.
The assessment at the national level also put forward a number of suggested measures for enhancing the identified benefits and reducing risks related to rights to land and forest land, including:
- Decision support tools for integrated land use planning, as well as consultations for strategic environmental assessment/environmental impact assessment should integrate social parameters to avoid or mitigate access and use restrictions and the loss of productive assets and livelihoods. Special attention should be given to the inclusion of the poorest communities, ethnic minorities and gender issues into the process.
- Appraisal and field verification should be carried out to ensure that communities will not be negatively impacted by the land-use planning process and that their rights are respected, especially for ethnic minorities and women.
- Forest land allocation procedures should be clarified and properly implemented, and should address issues of inequity; these processes should also be combined with other supporting investments in community/household abilities to develop, manage and protect forest land effectively.
- Clear guidelines should be developed and implemented for collaborative forest management, non-timber forest products business models, and livelihoods interventions.
- Plantation and sustainable forest management activities should maintain a focus on including communities and addressing social safeguards issues, e.g. promoting long rotation forestry and sustainable forest management for smallholders and community forestry cooperatives.
- Collaborative forest management approaches are highly appropriate to address potential conflict as well as promote the participation of communities in afforestation/reforestation activities.
At the sub-national level, analysis of social and environmental risks and benefits is also required for the development of Provincial REDD+ Action Plans (PRAPs). In specific sub-national locations, assessments have also been carried out through the Strategic Environmental and Social Assessment (SESA) during the development of the FCPF Emission Reductions Program in the North-Central Coast Region of Viet Nam, and through the assessment of Environmental and Social Considerations for the Project for Sustainable Forest Management in the Northwest Watershed Area (SUSFORM-NOW) funded by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).
The Emission Reductions (ER) Program in six provinces in North-Central Coast Region of Viet Nam, which has conducted a Strategic Environmental and Social Assessment (SESA) and prepared an Environmental and Social Management Framework (ESMF), also identifies risks related to land and forest use, noting that land tenure, access to resources and livelihoods are consistently cited as the most important social issues related to REDD+ implementation identified through the SESA. Identified risks include: potential for reduced access to forest and non-timber forest product (NTFP) resources for forest dependent communities through improvements to forest governance; social impacts from loss of land previously used for agriculture or restrictions placed on accessing forest for NTFP collection; and possible gender and poverty issues related to access to forest. A Resettlement Policy Framework (RPF) has been prepared for the ER Program which sets out principles and objectives, eligibility criteria of displaced persons, modes of compensation and rehabilitation, participation features and grievances procedures that will guide the compensation and potential resettlement of program affected persons. A Process Framework (PF) has also been prepared to guide procedures to identify, assess, minimize and mitigate potential adverse impacts on local livelihoods by restriction of access.
 NRAP 2017Chapter 3, MARD Decision No. 5414/2015/QD-BNN-TCLN.
 Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF) Carbon Fund. Emission Reductions Program Document (ER-PD). Date of Submission: 5 January 2018
REDD+ implementation may result in significant impacts on the dynamics of conflicts over forest resources, land and other resources in forest areas. Effective mechanisms to address contentious issues, complaints and disputes during REDD+ implementation, collectively referred to here as Grievance Redress Mechanisms (GRMs), are necessary as part of addressing and respecting the Cancun safeguards, including for disputes related to rights to land and forest land. The GRM for REDD+ in Viet Nam is discussed in more detail under Safeguard B2.6.
 Joint FCPF/UN-REDD Programme Guidance Note for REDD+ Countries, June 2015.
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