The Constitution of Viet Nam (2013) states that land and natural resources of Viet Nam belong to the people and are managed uniformly by the State on behalf of the people and affirms principles of social progress and equality in its approach to independent socio-economic development based on its internal resources.
The Forestry Development Strategy (2006-2020) recognises the role of forests in terms of rural development and poverty reduction, in particular for ethnic minorities and other groups that are dependent on forest lands and resources for their livelihoods. Viet Nam’s forest laws and regulations recognise a wide range of benefits and services provided by forests and make provision for their allocation and distribution. This includes both the direct economic benefits from harvesting of timber and non-timber forest products (NTFPs) as well as the environmental services provided by forests. The principle of fair distribution of benefits arising from the use of forest resources is expected to be applied to the implementation of National REDD+ Programme and Provincial REDD+ Action Plans.
The Forestry Law (2017) makes provisions for allowable exploitation of all three forest types (special use, protection and production), enabling forest owners to develop plans and benefit from forests accordingly and in line with the forest purpose. This includes that compensation is to be provided to providers of forest ecosystem services based on the principles of ‘openness, democracy, objectivity and equality; and conformity with the Vietnamese law and international conventions’. The absorption and retention of forest carbon, reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by reducing deforestation and forest degradation, and sustainable forest management (i.e. REDD+), are recognised as forest ecosystem services. The Law on Biodiversity (2008) also states that organisations and individuals that benefit from biodiversity exploitation and use are required to share their benefits with concerned parties.
There are various laws and regulations providing guidance on how benefits from forests are to be distributed, depending on the forest type and benefit:
- Prime Minister’s Decision 178/2001/QD-TTg prescribes the benefits and obligations of households and individuals assigned, leased or contracted forests and forestry land by the State for forest protection, regeneration zoning and planting, with a view to creating an economic motivation for encouraging people to actively participate in forest protection and development. In line with the objectives of the law, in many instances households may retain 80-100% of the benefits from the sale of timber, NTFPs such as bamboo, inter-cropped plants, etc.
- Decree 99 /2010/ND-CP and Decree No. 147/2016/ND-CP (which amends some of the articles in the former) state that payments for forest environmental services (PFES) are made on the principles of ‘transparency, democracy, subjectivity, and equity, in line with the legal system of Viet Nam and international agreements that Viet Nam ratifies or joins, are ensured’. They also detail the types of environmental services covered under the law (including carbon sequestration/retention and REDD+), define buyers and sellers (service providers may include forest owners, including households and individuals as well as contracted households and individuals), methods and levels of payment, management and use of the PFES funds, and the rights and obligations of users and suppliers.
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 Forest Protection Departments as well as Forest Management Boards under the provincial Departments of Agriculture and Rural Development are responsible for ensuring that forest land is managed and used according to its legal purpose. National and Provincial Forest Funds are responsible for the distribution of PFES benefits from buyers to sellers.
 The Constitution (2013), Articles 50 & 53.
 The Forestry Development Strategy (2006-2020).
 NRAP 2017
 The Forestry Law (2017, effective 1 January 2019), Articles 52-60.
 The Forestry Law (2017, effective 1 January 2019), Article 62.
 The Forestry Law (2017, effective 1 January 2019), Article 61.
As part of the implementation of the National REDD+ Programme (NRAP, 2017), the Government of Viet Nam will issue detailed guidance on the implementation of a REDD+ benefit sharing mechanism, and on a co-management mechanism for Special Use Forests (SUFs), drawing on the results of pilot activities on REDD+ benefit distribution, and on a benefit sharing mechanism in the management, protection and development of SUFs.
Ministry of Agriculture and Rural development (MARD) Decision No. 5399/2015/QD-BNN-TCLN on issuing regulations on piloting REDD+ benefit distribution under the framework of the UN-REDD Viet Nam Phase II Programme applies to six pilot provinces, and intends to provide practical basis for the development of a REDD+ benefit distribution mechanism and policies for nationwide application for the implementation of REDD+. Article 6 of the Decision sets out principles of benefit distribution: performance-based; equitable; transparency and accountability; efficiency and effectiveness; flexible; participatory; and that REDD+ benefits do not replace other lawful benefits to which entities and individuals participating in REDD+ are entitled in accordance with law. The Decision also establishes requirements and eligible activities, identifies direct and indirect beneficiaries, sets out responsibilities for benefit distribution, specifies criteria to be applied and procedures for monitoring and evaluation, and explains the methodologies to calculate and estimate the level of benefits/incentives.
As noted above, the NRAP (2017) specifies activities to set up and implement financial management mechanisms for REDD+. These include research on an appropriate incentive delivery system/benefit distribution system and carbon rights for REDD+, in accordance with relevant incentive mechanisms, and regulations, involving assessment of current and potential incentive mechanisms for forest protection and development, issuing of a regulation on forest carbon rights, and finalisation of a REDD+ benefit distribution system, mainstreamed into Viet Nam's 'forest incentives landscape'.
An example of a benefit sharing approach at the subnational level is provided by the Emission Reductions (ER) Program in six provinces in the North-Central Coast Region of Viet Nam. A Benefit Sharing Mechanism (BSM) for the ER Program has been designed and agreed upon by stakeholders at the national, provincial, and the commune level. The BSM aims to ensure that carbon benefits (both monetary and non-monetary) are shared equitably and effectively with all relevant stakeholders who will have a direct impact on generation of emission reductions in the ER Program area, including forest-dependent communities. The proposed BSM is to be implemented through the Adaptive Collaborative Management Approach, which involves a collaboration between Forest Management Entities (FMEs), communes and communities to integrate relevant benefits into improved local forest management, and is operationalized through proposed Forest Management Councils (FMCs).
Comment: the highlighted information applies only to the 6 ERP provinces; it is only an example of what is occurring at subnational level. It is not feasible to include information on all different approaches used by various subnational initiatives or in different PRAPs. However, ERP information has been provided for consideration, should the Govt wish to specifically highlight the links between FCPF and the broader NRAP.
 NRAP 2017
Implemented according to MARD Decision No. 5399/2015/QD-BNN-TCLN on issuing regulations on piloting REDD+ benefit distribution under the framework of the UN-REDD Viet Nam Phase II Programme.
 Implemented according to Prime Minister’s Decision No. 126/2012/QĐ-TTg on the pilot policy on the benefit sharing mechanism in management, protection and development of special-use forests, piloted in Bach Ma and Xuan Thuy national parks.
 NRAP 2017, Decision No 419/QD-TTg dated 5/4/2017. Annex: Policies and Measures for REDD+ implementation for period of 2017 – 2020
 Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF) Carbon Fund. Emission Reductions Program Document (ER-PD). Date of Submission: 5 January 2018
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The following information shows the status and trends in the number of household that have been contracted to protect areas of forest in all forested provinces of Viet Nam. This provides an insight into the number of households benefitting from protecting and managing forests
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