Safeguard B Detail

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In Viet Nam, access to information is defined as the reading, watching, listening, reproduction and photocopying of information, including details and data that are contained in existing documents and papers and stored in any forms such as writings, printouts, electronic texts, pictures, photos, drawings, tapes, disks, video recordings, audio recordings or in other forms produced by state agencies[1]. Information is to be freely accessible to citizens, except for information that is explicitly characterised as inaccessible or subjected to certain conditions[2]. Access to information includes both the disclosure of information to the general public as well as the provision of information upon request[3].

The right to access to information is recognised in Viet Nam's Constitution (2013)[4] and in the Law on Access to Information (2016)[5] as well as related documents including Government Decree No. 13/2018/ND-CP regulating detailed provisions and measures for implementation of the Law on Access to Information (2016) (Article 2).  People may freely access information which is disclosed publicly or may request access to most information through submission of a form[6]. State agencies responsible for information provision of information are provided with instructions on the updating and disclosure of information for which they are responsible[7]. Guidance is also provided on how agencies should provide information following a request[8]. Some information is explicitly characterised as inaccessible or subjected to certain conditions[9]. Assurances of publicity and transparency with regard to information provision are also provided in the Anti-Corruption Law (2005). If access to information is refused, citizens have a right to complain according to the provisions of the Law on Complaints (2011)[10].

The Ministry of Information and Communications is responsible for providing technical guidelines on the implementation of the Law on Access to Information (2016). The Ministry of Justice is responsible for monitoring overall implementation. The Government Inspectorate is responsible to carry out overall State management of settlement of complaints under the Law on Complaints (2011) throughout the country. The Supreme People's Court, the Supreme People's Procuracy, the State Audit Office, the Office of the National Assembly, the State President's Office and other State agencies, as well as equivalent local bodies within their localities, manage the settlement of complaints within the scope of their functions, tasks and powers. The Viet Nam Fatherland Front and its member organisations supervise the observance of the legislation on complaints according to the provisions of the Law.

 

[1] The Law on Access to Information (2016), Article 2 (1,3).

[2] The Law on Access to Information (2016), Articles 5, 6 & 7.

[3] The Law on Access to Information (2016), Chapter II (disclosure of information) and Chapter III (provision of information upon request).

[4] The Constitution of Viet Nam (2013), Article 25.

[5] The Law on Access to Information (2016).

[6] The Law on Access to Information (2016), Articles 10, 18 & 23.

[7] The Law on Access to Information (2016), Articles 9 & 34.

[8] The Law on Access to Information (2016), Articles 29 & 30.

[9] The Law on Access to Information (2016), Article 6.

[10] The Law on Complaints (2011), Articles 14 & 15


The National REDD+ Programme sets out that the Ministry of Information and Communications will lead and coordinate with the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development in working with the media on to raise awareness and responsibilities in REDD+ implementation among relevant agencies, organisations and people[1]. The section on Safeguard D includes information on consultation and participation mechanisms for REDD+.

A number of information sharing mechanisms and channels have been established to date to support Viet Nam's National REDD+ Programme:

  • A national REDD+ website, which provides information to the public on REDD+ in Viet Nam, maintained by the State Steering Committee Office for the Target Programme on Sustainable Forest Development for 2016-2020 and REDD+ Implementation.
  • A REDD+ Information Portal[CH1] , which provides information to the public on progress of REDD+ implementation, including spatially-explicit information on REDD+ planning and forest cover changes based on national Measurement, Reporting and Verification (MRV) data. The portal is also part of the FORMIS Platform, the Government’s information system for the forestry sector.
  • A Viet Nam REDD+ Database[CH2] , which provides information to authorised users on donor-supported REDD+ projects and initiatives. 
  • The REDD+ Network, including technical working groups and an open listserve including national and local, as well as government and non-government, members.
  • Regular newsletters of REDD+ highlights.

 

[1] NRAP 2017, Decision No 419/QD-TTg dated 5/4/2017.

 


The national guidelines on the development of Provincial REDD+ Action Plans[1] assigns responsibilities for information sharing and communications on REDD+. Provincial Departments of Agriculture and Rural Development and Provincial People's Committees are instructed to conduct communication and education activities to raise awareness of related stakeholders, along with other departments responsible for communication, awareness raising and capacity building activities on gender equality, mobilisation of ethnic minorities in REDD+ activities, and REDD+ mainstreaming in programmes and projects for ethnic minorities who live in and near forests.

Under the Emission Reductions Program of the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF) Carbon Fund (covering six provinces in the North-Central Coast Region of Viet Nam), activities on communications are aimed at 'timely published information on ER program to stakeholders' and 'documented and shared lessons learnt and results of the ER program'[2]. The ER Program adopts an Adaptive Collaborative Management Approach (ACMA), to be operationalised through proposed local Forest Management Councils (FMCs). FMC's are to implement a range of tasks, including: establish communication networks, to facilitate the exchange of information for all stakeholders to access[3].

 

[1] Chapter 2, part V, MARD Decision No. 5414/2015/QD-BNN-TCLN.

Vietnamese: 

http://vietnam-redd.org/Upload/Download/File/5414_QĐ-BNNTCLN_PRAP_guidelines_5755.pdf;

English: 

http://vietnam-redd.org/Upload/CMS/Content/Library-GovernmentDocuments/Decision%205414.PRAPguidelines.EN.pdf

[2] Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF) Carbon Fund. Emission Reductions Program Document (ER-PD). Date of Submission: 5 January 2018

[3] Emission Reductions Program Document (ER-PD). Annex 8: Adaptive Collaborative Management Approach (ACMA) and Benefit Sharing Mechanism (BSM). Date of Submission: 5 January 2018.


In Vietnamese law, accountability can be understood as “the provision of information by state agencies about the performance of their assigned duties and powers and responsibilities”[1]. More broadly, accountability relates to the transparency of the activities of public agencies, organisations and units, with the aim of ensuring a democratic approach to state management, recognising that society has a supervisory role to play[2]. In the case of the forest sector, Viet Nam has created dedicated institutions with competence for promoting transparency of the forest sector activities, which include supervision and monitoring of funds. Furthermore, forest budgets are to be scrutinised by a parliamentary and governmental process, and information about the forest agencies budget should be made publicly available. Accountability is also linked to the adoption and implementation of policies, laws and regulations to tackle corruption and possible misuse of funds.

The Anti-Corruption Law (2005) and Law No.27/2012/QH13 amending and supplementing the Anti-Corruption Law define corruption and corrupt acts, mandate the development of codes of conduct for public servants and place an obligation on public officials of a certain rank to declare their assets, and state that all public servants are expected to report acts of corruption where witnessed[3]. In addition, public procurement of goods and services needs to be transparent, and the order and procedures granting land use right certificates must be publicised[4]. Public scrutiny of draft socio-economic development plans, budgets and land-use planning decisions are also addressed in these law[5]. Where State Agencies have the authority to consider and approve projects and state budgets, explanations or justifications must be provided, and budgets must be audited[6]. If these are not satisfactory, complaints can be lodged with their superiors[7]. Denunciations can also be made by the public[8]. Government agencies are also required to report annually on corruption prevention activities undertaken within their respective jurisdictions[9].

The Central Steering Committee against Corruption has national responsibility for directing, coordinating, inspecting and promoting anti-corruption efforts. The National Assembly and its Standing Committee supervise anti-corruption efforts in the domains that fall within their jurisdiction. People’s inspection boards at all levels supervise anti-corruption efforts in their respective localities. The Government Inspectorate, ministerial inspectorate, provincial inspectorates, provincial Services' inspectorates, and district inspectorates direct the inspection of the observation of legal anti-corruption provisions. Where such observation reveals corrupt acts, it shall request the designated government agencies to investigate and handle them. The State Audit is responsible for organising the audit function both to prevent and to detect corrupt activities in government operations and administration. The Supreme People’s Procuracy is mandated to organise and direct the prosecution of corruption-related crimes and to control the related investigation, prosecution and enforcement of judgment in corruption-related crimes. Provincial Peoples Committees are responsible to deal with denunciations within their localities.

 

[1] Government Decree No. 90/2013/ND-CP, Article 3(1).

[2] Nguyen Tuan Khanh ‘Improving the legal bases for accountability’, http://noichinh.vn/nghien-cuu-trao-doi/201309/hoan-thien-co-so-phap-ly-ve-trach-nhiem-giai-trinh-292197, 18 November 2013

[3] The Anti-Corruption Law (2005), Articles 1, 3, 36, 38 & 45.

[4] The Anti-Corruption Law (2005), Articles 13 & 21.

[5] The Anti-Corruption Law (2005), Articles 15 & 21.

[6] The Anti-Corruption Law (2005), Articles 20 & 28.

[7] The Anti-Corruption Law (2005), Article 72.

[8] The Anti-Corruption Law (2005), Article 84.

[9] The Anti-Corruption Law (2005), Article 33.


A number of risks related to accountability and corruption control 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[1] policies and measures identified risks in this area focused on the potential for 'elite capture' of REDD+ processes and/or benefits. For example, such risks may include:

  • A lack of transparency and manipulation of consultations processes for environmental impact assessment/strategic environmental assessments;
  • Financial mechanisms (such as business incubators) may better serve the interests of the private sector at the expense of smallholders; and
  • Elite capture of business models and associated benefits for managing and conserving natural forests.

The assessment at the national level also put forward a number of suggested measures for addressing the identified risks related to accountability/corruption control, especially elite capture, including:

  • To ensure inclusive, participatory and transparent consultation processes, clear guidelines should be elaborated covering selection of representatives, inclusiveness, information sharing/disclosure, consent processes, and so on. .
  • Clear policies, principles, standard operating procedures and guidelines for financial mechanisms (including the proposed business incubator) and business models should be developed, in order to enhance social co-benefits and address social risks;  attention should focus on developing and operationalising safeguards to protect rural communities and smallholders involved in producing key commodities.
  • Forest land allocation procedures should be clarified and properly implemented to address issues of inequity and inequality, and to enhance positive social impacts.
  • There should be capacity-building for public sector implementation agencies (e.g. Forest Management Boards, extension agencies) on safeguards measures and procedures.

In addition, Grievance Redress Mechanisms (GRMs) relevant to REDD+ in Viet Nam are expected to address complaints and disputes related to issues of accountability, corruption and elite capture (see Safeguard B2). The processes in place to ensure the transparency and fairness of benefit sharing are also covered under Safeguard B2.

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)[2]. 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 (ER 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 ER Program’s SESA and ESMF, for example, identifies a number of risks related to 'elite capture', for example of REDD+ benefits and access to forest resources[3].

 

[1] NRAP 2017, Decision No 419/QD-TTg dated 5/4/2017.

[2] Chapter 3, MARD Decision No. 5414/2015/QD-BNN-TCLN.

[3] Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF) Carbon Fund. Emission Reductions Program Document (ER-PD). Date of Submission: 5 January 2018


As described under Safeguard B1.3.1, Viet Nam has created dedicated institutions with competence for promoting transparency of the forest sector activities, which include supervision and monitoring of funds. Forest budgets are to be scrutinised by a parliamentary and governmental process, and information about the forest agencies budget should be made publicly available. Public scrutiny of draft socio-economic development plans, budgets and land-use planning decisions are also addressed in the Anti-Corruption Law[1]. Where State Agencies have the authority to consider and approve projects and state budgets, explanations/justifications must be provided, and budgets must be audited[2].

In the National REDD+ Programme (NRAP, 2017)[3], it is stated that the transparency of financial resources and organisations for the implementation of REDD+ programme must be assured to enable the participation of related stakeholders, including government bodies, socio-political organisations, non-governmental organisations and international parties as relevant.

Viet Nam's NRAP[3] outlines the expected sources and amounts of funds to support REDD+ implementation during 2017-2020. The identified sources of funds include:

a) Domestic resources:

  • State budget allocated for relevant Target Programmes on: sustainable forest development; responding to climate change and green growth; education, vocational training and occupational safety; agricultural economic restructuring; natural disasters prevention and mitigation; residential life stability; and other national programmes and projects in the period 2016-2020.
  • Investments by enterprises and other economic actors through various market mechanisms; proceeds from offset forest plantation policies and contributions other related programmes, projects and individuals.
  • Loans and credits (including commercial loans and investment for development).

b) International resource contributions, development assistance and trust funds of other countries, international organisations, non-governmental organisations, businesses and individuals and other financial institutions; revenues received from REDD+ performance, including revenues from forest carbon credit trading schemes.

c) Other legal sources:

The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and the Ministry of Finance are called upon to establish Viet Nam’s National REDD+ Fund, and to issue regulations on the organisation and operation of the Fund in accordance with Viet Nam’s laws and international regulations and practices. The Ministry of Planning and Investment is also charged with coordinating with the Ministry of Finance to allocate counterpart funds for the projects implementing the NRAP[3].

 

[1] The Anti-Corruption Law (2005), Articles 15 & 21.

[2] The Anti-Corruption Law (2005), Articles 20 & 28.

[3] NRAP 2017, Decision No 419/QD-TTg dated 5/4/2017

 


In the Vietnamese context, the term “rule of law” means that law is the main tool to govern society and all individuals and organisations must respect the law. In the context of REDD+, all public agencies are expected to act in accordance with their legal mandates and to follow the rules of behaviour established in Viet Nam’s legal framework. Article 2 of the Constitution of Viet Nam (2013) regulates the rule of law in the country.


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[1]. The Constitution and the Land Law (2013)[2] 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[3]. 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[4].

Land use planning: The National REDD+ Programme[5] 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)[6] 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[7] provides the details, procedures and valuations for compensation in the event of expropriation of land by the State, Decision 63/2015/QD-TTg[8] 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[9]:

  • 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[10]. 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[11].
  • 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[12]. 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[13].

Where the land recovered by the State is forest land, compensation is regulated under the Forest protection and Development Law (2004)/Forestry Law (2017)[14] 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[15]. 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.


[1] The Constitution of Viet Nam (2013), Article 53.

[2] The Land Law (2013).

[3] The Land Law (2013), Article 77.

[4] The Land Law (2013), Article 77.

[5] NRAP 2017

[6] Decree 43/2014/ND-CP detailing a number of articles of the Land Law (2014)

[7] Decree 47/2014/NĐ-CP

[8] Decision 63/2015/QD-TTg

[9] The Forestry Law (2017, effective 1 January 2019) Articles 16-17.

[10] The Land Law (2013), Article 136.

[11] The Land Law (2013), Article 137.

[12] Forestry Law (2017), Article 16.

[13] Forestry Law (2017), Article 17.

[14] Forestry Law (2017)

[15] 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[1] 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)[2]. 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[3]. 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.

 

[1] NRAP 2017Chapter 3, MARD Decision No. 5414/2015/QD-BNN-TCLN.

[2] 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[1]. 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.

 

[1] Joint FCPF/UN-REDD Programme Guidance Note for REDD+ Countries, June 2015.


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[1].

The Forestry Development Strategy (2006-2020)[2] 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[3] 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[4]. 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’[5]. 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[6]. The Law on Biodiversity (2008)[7] 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[8] 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[9] and Decree No. 147/2016/ND-CP[10] (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.


[1] The Constitution (2013), Articles 50 & 53.

[2] The Forestry Development Strategy (2006-2020).

[3] NRAP 2017

[4] The Forestry Law (2017, effective 1 January 2019), Articles 52-60.

[5] The Forestry Law (2017, effective 1 January 2019), Article 62.

[6] The Forestry Law (2017, effective 1 January 2019), Article 61.

[7] The Law on Biodiversity No. 20/2008/QH12.

[8] Prime Minister’s Decision 178/2001/QD-TTg

[9] Decree 99 /2010/ND-CP

[10] Decree No. 147/2016/ND-CP

     

As part of the implementation of the National REDD+ Programme (NRAP, 2017)[1], 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[2], 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+[3]. 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.

 

[1] NRAP 2017

[2]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.

[3] 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.

[4] NRAP 2017, Decision No 419/QD-TTg dated 5/4/2017. Annex: Policies and Measures for REDD+ implementation for period of 2017 – 2020

[5] Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF) Carbon Fund. Emission Reductions Program Document (ER-PD). Date of Submission: 5 January 2018


Gender equality is recognised in the Constitution[1] as well as in the Law on Gender Equality (2006)[2] and in a range of other policies, laws and regulations. Gender equality is expected to be addressed and respected throughout the implementation of the National REDD+ Programme[3] and Provincial REDD+ Action Plans.

The Law on Gender Equality (2006) outlines the overall goals, principles, policy and measures to promote gender equality and eliminate discrimination on the grounds of gender[3]. State agencies, political organisations, and social and professional  organisations are expected to strive to meet these goals, to educate their members and to take additional measures, including the establishment of social welfare establishments and support services[4].

In order to achieve the goals laid out in the Gender Equality Law, Viet Nam has also developed a National Strategy on Gender Equality (2011-2020)[5] which includes more specific objectives and targets for enhancing gender equality in Viet Nam. The Land Law 2013 also states that land use rights and property such as houses and other land-attached assets are the joint property of husband and wife and the full names of both husband and wife must be recorded in the certificate of land use rights and ownership unless otherwise agreed[6].

Finally, according to the Law on Promulgation of Normative Legal Documents (2015), gender equality issues must be integrated into legal documents and considered during impact assessments[7]. Decree 48/2009/ND-CP providing for measures to assure gender equality, requires gender equality issues to be included in the elaboration of legal documents and details further measures to promote gender equality, including information and education, elaboration of new legislation and identifies budgetary sources to fund these activities[8].

The Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs is the State Management Agency for the Law on Gender Equality (2006) and the National Strategy on Gender Equality (2011-2020).

 

[1] The Constitution of Viet Nam (2013), Article 26

[2] The Law on Gender Equality (2006), Article 6

[3] NRAP 2017

[3] The Law on Gender Equality (2006), Articles 4, 6, 7 & 19

[4] The Law on Gender Equality (2006), Article 31

[5] Prime Minister’s Decision No. 2351/2010/QD-TTg on approving the 2011-2020 national strategy for gender equality.

[6] The Land Law (2013).

[7] The Law on Promulgation of Normative Legal Documents (2015), Articles 5, 35, 69 & 87.

[8] Decree No. 48/2009/ND-CP providing for measures to assure gender equality details further measures to promote gender equality, Article 1 and Articles 4-14.

 


Principle 1.4 of Viet Nam's National REDD+ Programme (NRAP, 2017)[1] states that the REDD+ activities should address the drivers of deforestation and forest degradation, as well as forest governance issues, gender considerations and REDD+ safeguards, ensuring the full and effective participation of relevant stakeholders, including women. National guidelines[2] on the development of Provincial REDD+ Action Plans also ask provincial planners to evaluate the potential social and environmental benefits and risks in implementing identified REDD+ activities, including impacts on vulnerable groups such as women, children, the elderly, the poor, and ethnic minorities.

A number of potential benefits and risks related to gender equality have been identified through REDD+ planning processes at the national and subnational levels. The 2017 assessment of potential benefits and risks arising from the implementation of National REDD+ Programme[1] policies and measures includes a range of benefits and risks related to gender. In particular, consideration should be given to ensuring equitable participation of women in land use planning processes and environmental impact assessments, and in benefit sharing.

A number of measures to reduce risks and enhance benefits related to gender equality 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 suggested the following measures to contribute to gender equality:

  • Decision support tools for integrated land use planning and consultation processes for strategic environmental assessment/environmental impact assessment should integrate social parameters to avoid or mitigate access and use restrictions and loss of productive assets and livelihoods. Special attention should be given to the inclusion of the poorest communities, ethnics minorities and gender issues into these processes;
  • Clear guidelines should be developed and implemented for interventions related to collaborative forest management, non-timber forest product businesses and livelihoods, including for example: social impact screening and surveys; free, prior and informed consultation and gender-sensitive methods; and beneficiary selection and participation guidelines to ensure selection of poor households, women, and other stakeholder groups.

An example of measures being taken at the subnational level is the Gender Action Plan, part of the Environmental and Social Management Framework of the Emission Reductions Program covering six provinces in Viet Nam's North-Central Coast Region. The objective of the Gender Action Plan is to promote women’s participation in the program, share in the benefits, and maximise gender equality, and it includes gender specific indicators to monitor outcomes and impacts[3].

 

[1] NRAP 2017, Decision No 419/QD-TTg dated 5/4/2017.

[2] Annex 2: Steps for PRAP Development, MARD Decision No. 5414/2015/QD-BNN-TCLN.

[3] Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF) Carbon Fund. Emission Reductions Program Document (ER-PD). Date of Submission: 5 January 2018.


In Viet Nam, REDD+ policies and measures are linked to the mandates and jurisdictions of the land and forest sectors as well as other related sectors. Effective governance structures require adequate coordination between ministries and agencies during the elaboration and implementation of the National REDD+ Programme[1] and Provincial REDD+ Action Plans.

Viet Nam’s legal framework defines mechanisms and institutional arrangements to support cross-sector coordination, including clear lines of communication between and across sectors and levels of government for forest management.

With regard to the development of law, the Law on Promulgation of Normative Legal Documents (2015)[2] requires that new laws are subject to scrutiny to ensure unity with other legislation, especially that from other sectors. Meanwhile the law development process also involves the participation of other line ministries in the development of a given law. The Law on Protection and Development of Forests (2004) and the Forestry Law (2017, effective 1 January 2019)[3] request the support of other (non-forest) ministries and line agencies in their implementation.

In terms of land use and forest sector planning (i.e. the planning processes of greatest relevance to REDD+), cross-sectoral coordination is required as part of both processes, as prescribed in the Land Law (2013)[4] and the Forestry Law (2017)[3].

Decree 34/2016/ND-CP dated May 2016[5] on detailing a number of articles of, and providing measures for implementing the Law on Promulgation of Normative Legal Documents (2015), details the procedures to be followed to ensure consistency between new laws and existing policies and legislation.

Decree 43/2014/ND-CP[6] detailing a number of articles of the land law, specifies procedures of collaboration between ministries, line agencies and other actors in the process of developing and adjusting master land use plans and land use plans. Decree 23/2006/ND-CP[7] describes the order and procedures for the development of Forest Protection and Development Plans, including the consideration of comments from other concerned line ministries or agencies, and stipulates the role of different related and concerned ministries/line agencies and other stakeholders in implementation.

In addition, Viet Nam has various other laws and regulations calling for inter-agency coordination. Of particular note is Decree 119/2006/ND-CP which sets-out organisational and operational arrangements for the forest protection service and includes an instruction to coordinating with other relevant state agencies (e.g., armed forces and forest owners) on forest protection activities, including prevention, detection, and suppression powers[8] .


[1] NRAP 2017

[2] The Law on Promulgation of Normative Legal Documents (2015)

[3] The Forestry Law (2017), Article 12.

[4] The Land Law (2013), Article 35.

[5] Decree 34/2016/ND-CP dated May 2016

[6] Decree 43/2014/ND-CP

[7] Decree 23/2006/ND-CP

[8] Government Decree No. 119/2006/ND-CP, Article 9.


With regard to specific coordination mechanisms for REDD+, the National REDD+ Programme (NRAP) (2017)[1] calls for the ‘development of a mechanism to promote and monitor inter-agency cooperation at all levels, strengthen the linkages between the private and the public sectors including public–private partnership models; encourage the participation of socio-political, professional associations, non-governmental organizations and village communities in planning, implementation and monitoring of the REDD+ Programme.’ In addition, the REDD+ policies and measures (PaMs) in the NRAP identify lead and collaborating agencies for each PaM from a number of different sectors[2].

The State Steering Committee on Sustainable Forest Management is the steering body for the implementation of the NRAP. The Programme 886 and REDD+ Office is the standing office of this committee. The NRAP identifies the implementation and coordination responsibilities of related ministries and agencies, including the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment, the Ministry of Planning and Investment, the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Industry and Trade, the Ministry of Information and Communications, the Ministry of Justice, the Committee for Ethnic Minority Affairs, and the Provincial People’s Committees[1].

At the national level, a REDD+ Network has also been established to contribute to coordinating REDD+ planning and implementation and promoting stakeholder engagement. The Network was established based on Decision 2614/QĐ-BNN-LN: Establishment of the National Network and Working Group for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) dated 16 September 2009. As of 2018, it has more than 300 members from government and non-government organisations at international, national and sub-national levels.

The tasks of the REDD+ Network in Viet Nam include: preparing an action plan for the design and implementation of all elements of an effective national REDD+ system; coordinating the inputs of international development partners; regular reviews and assessment of the implementation of the action plan; and ensuring that activities in support of the development and implementation of REDD+ measures are consistent with the action plan. As the REDD+ Network works in a range of thematic areas, a number of technical working groups have been established:

  • Sub-technical Working Group on REDD+ Governance
  • Sub-technical Working Group on Measurement, Reporting and Verification (MRV)
  • Sub-technical Working Group on REDD+ Financing and Benefit Distribution
  • Sub-technical Working Group on Local Implementation of REDD+
  • Sub-technical Working Group on Private Sector Engagement
  • Sub-technical working Group on Safeguards

At the subnational level, Decision 5414/2015/QD-Ttg[3] provides guidance on the development of Provincial REDD+ Action Plans (PRAPs), including the following aspects related to cross-sector coordination:

  • PRAP development should 'ensure the participation of relevant stakeholders, departments and sectors within such provinces'.
  • A PRAP Technical Working Group will be set up, comprised of relevant or concerned provincial departments, line agencies and social and political organisations who are to be consulted in PRAP elaboration.
  • Each province shall establish a PRAP steering committee or additional tasks shall be assigned to the provincial 'steering committee on forest protection and management'; the steering committee membership shall consist of representatives from provincial political and social organisations with consideration of proportion of female members.
  • The role of different related and concerned ministries/line agencies and other stakeholders in implementation and monitoring are also outlined.

As of 2018, 12 provinces have established Provincial REDD+ Steering Committees and REDD+ working groups to guide the implementation of REDD+ and local forest protection and development plans: Lao Cai; Bac Kan; Thanh Hoa; Nghe An; Ha Tinh;, Quang Binh; Quang Tri; Dak Lak; Dak Nong; Lam Dong; Binh Thuan; and Ca Mau.

 

[1] NRAP 2017, Decision No 419/QD-TTg dated 5/4/2017.

[2] Annex: Policies and Measures for REDD+ implementation for period of 2017 – 2020, NRAP 2017.

[3] MARD Decision No. 5414/2015/QD-BNN-TCLN.


Access to justice is recognised under Vietnamese law as the right of all individuals and organisations to access formal and informal legal institutions and to ask for protection of their legitimate rights and interests. The legal framework also guarantees access to appeals, remediation, compensation and the enforceability of its decisions. In the context of REDD+, the relevant dispute and conflict resolution mechanisms are expected to be available to stakeholders throughout the implementation of REDD+ policies and measures under the National REDD+ Programme and Provincial REDD+ Action Plans to address any disputes arising from their implementation.

The Constitution of Viet Nam (2013) recognises the right to access to justice[1], while the Law on Complaints (2011)[2] provides a comprehensive legal framework for citizens to formally access justice relating to administrative decisions, including those related to forest and forest land access, management, ownership and use. The Law on Complaints recognises the right to access legal services through lawyers, or through legal aid if the complainant is entitled to enjoy legal aid services in accordance with the Law on Legal Aid (2006)[3]. The Code of Civil Procedure (2015)[4] provides that parties have the rights to ask lawyers or other people to defend their legitimate rights and interests.

The Land Law (2013) provides several specific provisions relating to the right to access to justice on land management related decisions and the right to denounce offences against the Land Law[5]. The Law on Environmental Protection (2014) provides a general provision on dealing with complaints and denunciations relating to environmental protection[6]. Additionally, the Law on Grassroots Mediation (2013) formalises into law the popular practice of resolving disputes and grievances at local levels through the use of customary laws and conventions and/or other informal channels[7].

At the local level, the heads of mass organisations, village heads, religious leaders, elders at village level, and Commune People’s Committees are responsible for dispute and grievance resolution. The Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment as well as Provincial, District and Commune People’s Committees and mass organisations are responsible for the resolution of disputes and grievances related to land. Provincial, District and Commune People’s Committees are responsible for the resolution of general complaints and grievances.

 

[1] The Constitution of Viet Nam (2013), Article 30.

[2] According to the Law on Complaints (2011), a complaint can be made directly to the decision maker, and an appeal process is provided at the immediate higher level. Additionally, the complaint may be brought to an even higher level in accordance with the Administrative Court Procedure Law (2015).

[3] The Law on Legal Aid (2006), Article 10. Government Decree No. 07/2007/ND-CP and Government Decree No. 14/2013/ND-CP further define who is entitled to legal aid.

[4] The Code of Civil Procedure (2015), Article 9.

[5] The Land Law (2013), Articles 166 & 203. Specific procedures for settling land disputes are contained in Articles 89 to 91 of Government Decree No. 43/2014/ND-CP, including land disputes where parties do not have land use rights certificates. In this case, evidence on the origin and use process of the land needs to be presented by the disputing parties. Specific procedures regulating disputes related to compensation for land recovery by the State are contained in Article 4 of Joint Circular No. 06/2014/TTLT-BTP-TTCP-BQP.

[6] The Law on Environmental Protection (2014), Article 128.

[7] The Law on Grassroots Mediation (2013). See also Government Decree No. 15/2014/ND-CP detailing several articles and measures to implement the Law on Grassroots Mediation, and Joint Resolution No. 01/2014/NQLT/CP-UBTUMTTQVN of the Government and the Central Committee of the Viet Nam Fatherland Front on Guiding and coordinating the implementation of some provisions of the law on grassroots mediation provide relevant guidance.


REDD+ implementation may result in significant impacts on the dynamics of conflicts over forest resources, land and other resources in forest areas[1]. 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, particularly with respect to Safeguards B, C, and D. National GRMs also form part of the expected criteria for accessing REDD+ results-based payments from key REDD+ financing channels including the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility-Carbon Fund[2] and the Green Climate Fund pilot programme for REDD+ results-based payments[3].

The establishment of a GRM for REDD+ is included in Viet Nam's National REDD+ Programme[4], which by 2020 aims to finalise the processes, procedures and mechanisms to manage, resolve, process and monitor complaints related to REDD+, with a GRM established, operated and monitored. The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development Decision No. 5399/2015/QD-BNN-TCLN[5] on issuing regulations on piloting REDD+ benefit distribution under the framework of the UN-REDD Viet Nam Phase II Programme also includes guidance on GRMs, with piloting of benefit distribution linked with consultation with stakeholders, monitoring, evaluation and grievance redress.  Article 20 of this Decision sets out the process for piloting of grievance redress mechanisms at village, commune and provincial levels.

Existing GRMs relevant to REDD+ implementation in Viet Nam have been identified based on the laws and regulations outlined under Safeguard B2.6.1 above[6] . The following specific GRMs have been identified:

  • Grassroots mediation
  • Mediation/conciliation at the Commune People’s Committee
  • Complaint settlement
  • Commercial arbitration
  • Dispute settlement by courts

The implementation of these GRMs has been assessed against seven international principles for effective REDD+ GRMs[1]. This assessment identified the importance of local mediation within the framework set out in the Law on Grassroots Mediation (2013), including the following roles:

  • Grassroots Mediation Groups at the village level act as focal points to receive, process, and provide an initial response to the grievances of local residents, leading to mediation and agreement on grievance resolution at this level where possible, and to transfer grievances to the Commune People’s Committee where resolution through village-level mediation is not possible.
  • Commune Mediation Groups at the commune level act as a focal point to receive, process, and respond to grievances at the commune level, including those that cannot be resolved at the village level, to advise the Commune People’s Committee on resolution of grievances, and to advise local community members on referral of their grievances to other GRMs where resolution through mediation at the village or commune level is not possible.
  • District Legal Advice Committees at the district level provide legal advice to complainants on mechanisms and processes to seek redress. Legal advice is provided free to complainants from poor households.

This REDD+ GRM identifies steps that can be applied for grievance redress through mediation at the village and commune levels, and for referral to other GRMs in the case of grievances that cannot be resolved through mediation, utilizing Viet Nam’s existing GRMs. This GRM  has been piloted in the six UN-REDD pilot provinces, and areas for potential improvement in future have been identified.

 

[1] Joint FCPF/UN-REDD Programme Guidance Note for REDD+ Countries, June 2015.

[2] FCPF Carbon Fund Methodological Framework, June 22, 2016

[3] GCF Decision B.18/07, dated 2 November 2017: Annex X1 Draft terms of reference for the pilot programme for REDD+ results-based payments

[4] Annex: Policies and Measures for REDD+ implementation for period of 2017 – 2020, NRAP 2017.

[5] MARD Decision No. 5399/2015/QD-BNN-TCLN

[6] Development and Policies Research Centre (DEPOCEN) (2016) The Development of Grievance Redress Mechanisms (GRMs) relevant to REDD+ in Viet Nam (report funded by the UN-REDD Programme)

Joint FCPF/UN-REDD Programme Guidance Note for REDD+ Countries, June 2015.