Safeguard C Detail

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Due to the historical conditions of the country, the term “indigenous peoples” is not used in Viet Nam. In the context of Safeguard C, Viet Nam refers to “ethnic minorities” in place of “indigenous peoples.” Viet Nam is a unified nation of different ethnic groups[1]. An ethnic majority group in Viet Nam is defined as “an ethnic group with a population accounting for over 50% of the country's total population according to national population survey,” while an ethnic minority group is defined as “an ethnic group with a population smaller than that of the ethnic majority group within the territory of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam” [2]. These include “very low population” ethnic minority groups, defined as “ethnic minority groups with a population below 10,000 people”[3]. The ethnic majority group, the Kinh people, account for 86%of the population, while 53 ethnic minority groups account for 14%of the population. Ethnic minority groups are distributed throughout the country, mostly living in the mountainous regions. There are no ‘ethnic-specific’ areas in Viet Nam, or areas that may be referred to as “indigenous peoples’ territories” in other parts of the world[4].

Viet Nam defines members of local communities as households and individuals living in the same village, hamlet or similar population quarters, typically having shared traditions and customs, and/or shared descent[5]. Local communities in Viet Nam may comprise households and individuals from either the ethnic majority group or from ethnic minority groups.

 

[1] The Constitution of Viet Nam (2013), Article 5.

[2] Government Decree No. 05/2011/ND-CP, Article 4(2,3).

[3] Government Decree No. 05/2011/ND-CP, Article 4(6).

[4] Socialist Republic of Viet Nam (2011) Periodic Report of Viet Nam to International Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (2011), pg.4.

[5] The Law on Forest Protection and Development (2004), Article 3(13); the Land Law (2013), Article 5(3); the Law on Forestry (2017, effective 1 January 2019), Article 2 (24).

 

The following section provides contextual information, showing the distribution of ethnic minority people across Viet Nam’s provinces and metropolitan areas. This includes the total number of ethnic minority people as well as the proportion living in identifed ‘ethnic minority areas’. Son La province had the highest number of ethnic minority people in 2015, at 1,006,312.

 

Number of ethnic minority people living in each province of Viet Nam, 2015[1]

Province / metropolitan area

Total number of ethnic minority persons

Ethnic minority people living in ethnic minority areas (persons)

Proportion of ethnic minority people living in ethnic minority areas (%)

Nationwide (63 provinces)

13,386,330

11,959,384

89.34

Forested provinces / metropolitan areas

Hà Giang

709663

691336

97.42

Cao Bằng

486318

486318

100

Bắc Kạn

2764

2764

100

Tuyên Quang

433832

401843

92.63

Lào Cai

447473

425561

95.1

Điện Biên

461359

449202

97.36

Lai Châu

358879

358879

100

Sơn La

1006312

979295

97.32

Yên Bái

445858

420273

94.26

Hoà Bình

625496

60004

95.93

Thái Nguyên

339036

268013

79.05

Lạng Sơn

641224

626472

97.7

Bắc Giang

22299

19101

85.66

Phú Thọ

234014

214803

91.79

Hà Nội

92223

44708

48.48

Quảng Ninh

148127

119434

80.63

Vĩnh Phúc

4973

41094

82.63

Ninh Bình

26015

21151

81.3

Thanh Hoá

653309

618359

94.65

Nghệ An

465709

443949

95.33

Hà Tỉnh

2586

1119

43.27

Quảng Bình

23534

21739

92.37

Quảng Trị

82497

79462

96.32

Thừa Thiên Huế

52599

48307

91.84

Quảng Nam

133472

125317

93.89

Quảng Ngãi

178876

174223

97.4

Bình Định

40707

35892

88.17

Phú Yên

57063

54229

95.03

Khánh Hoà

68779

60426

87.86

Ninh Thuận

137629

133556

97.04

Bình Thuận

89906

75927

84.45

Kon Tum

272152

257104

94.47

Gia Lai

650816

625981

96.18

Đắk Lắk

636491

588046

92.39

Đắk Nông

170363

153584

90.15

Lâm Đồng

318085

280147

88.07

Bình Phước

178551

149712

83.85

Tây Ninh

16382

1006

61.41

Bình Dương

61492

6436

10.47

Đồng Nai

179045

103366

57.73

Bà Rịa - Vũng Tàu

24712

9036

36.57

Hồ Chí Minh

450124

188084

41.78

Trà Vinh

334924

301743

90.09

An Giang

112575

90919

80.76

Kiên Giang

240011

163507

68.12

Hậu Giang

28948

15063

52.03

Sóc Trãng

472428

432002

91.44

Bạc Liêu

91634

58078

63.38

Cà Mau

40425

10061

24.89

Non-forest provinces / metropolitan areas

Vĩnh Long

27108

15753

58.11

Cần Thơ

37062

12365

33.36

 

[1] Committee for Ethnic Minority Affairs. 2016. Results of the survey on socio-economic situation of 53 ethnic minorities in 2015. http://cema.gov.vn/ket-qua-dieu-tra-thuc-trang-kt-xh-53-dan-toc-thieu-so-nam-2015.htm


In the context of REDD+, the knowledge of ethnic minorities and members of local communities is clarified in Viet Nam in line with the definition of ‘traditional knowledge’ in article 8(j) of the Convention on Biological Diversity[1], ratified by Viet Nam, as including the “knowledge, innovations and practices…developed through the experiences of communities over centuries, adapted to local needs, cultures and environments and passed down from generation to generation[2].

Viet Nam’s National Biodiversity Strategy to 2020 and Vision to 2030 was submitted to the Convention on Biological Diversity in 2015 and includes activities to ‘establish a mechanism for managing access to genetic resources, sharing benefits, protection, and traditional knowledge of genetic resources’[3]

 

[1] https://www.cbd.int/traditional

[2] Secretariat of the Convention of Biological Diversity (2011), Factsheet on Traditional Knowledge, https://www.cbd.int/abs/infokit/revised/web/factsheet-tk-en.pdf

[3] MONRE (2015) Viet Nam’s National Biodiversity Strategy to 2020 and Vision to 2030,  https://www.cbd.int/doc/world/vn/vn-nbsap-v3-en.pdf

 


In Viet Nam, the rights of ethnic minorities and members of local communities include the rights that accrue to all citizens of Viet Nam, as set out in the Constitution of Viet Nam (2013), as well as specific rights that have been set out and highlighted in specific policies, laws and regulations.

The Constitution of Viet Nam (2013) affirms that “all ethnicities are equal, unified and respect and assist one another for mutual development; all acts of national discrimination and division are strictly forbidden,” and that “every ethnic group has the right to use its own language and system of writing, to preserve its national identity, to promote its fine customs, habits, traditions and culture”[1]. The legal framework explicitly recognises and protects a number of rights with regard to ethnic minorities including the right of non-discrimination, the recognition and promotion of cultural rights and cultural inheritance of ethnic minorities’ cultural rights, and fair benefit-sharing (see also Safeguard B2.3). The right to non-discrimination is supported by Article 116 of the Penal Code (2015). Local communities may hold rights to land use and forest use[2], and to have their lawful rights to use this land and the land-attached assets protected[3].

Viet Nam’s overall policy and legal framework of pays special attention to ethnic minority and other rural, poor communities to promote their access to basic human rights and services in aiming to support economic development and poverty reduction in these areas. Policies which aim to specifically promote economic development and inclusion for ethnic minorities and remote (often forest dependent) local communities include the National Sustainable Development Strategy (2011-2020)[4], the Forest Development Strategy (2006-2020)[5], the National Target Programme on New Rural Development (2016-2020)[6], the Target Programme for Sustainable Forest Development (2016-2020)[7], and specific policies to support the socio-economic development of ethnic minority and mountainous areas in the period to 2020[8]. The National REDD+ Programme[9] also includes specific policies and measures intended to respect and strengthen the knowledge and rights of ethnic minorities and communities, for example: awareness raising activities to enhance the knowledge of communities on their legal rights; promoting forest land allocation to households and communities; and promoting co-management of natural forests.

The legal framework recognises and protects several specific rights with regard to ethnic minorities including the right of non-discrimination, the recognition and promotion of cultural rights and cultural inheritance of ethnic minorities’ cultural rights[10]. The legal framework also provides safeguards for the knowledge and rights of ethnic minorities and communities with respect to land and natural resources:

  • Ethnic minorities have the same legal rights to land use and forest land as other Vietnamese citizens. They may be allocated or assigned lands for use in accordance with the law (including based on customary use prior to 2004)[11];
  • Communities, including ethnic minority communities, can be allocated forests for use and management in accordance with the law[12];
  • The traditional knowledge of ethnic minorities and local communities is respected in the legal framework through the provision that local regulations can be developed to uphold community customs in compliance with State regulations[13];

In addition, free, prior, and informed consent (FPIC) is an important principle set out in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People (UNDRIP), which Viet Nam has adopted[14], and which is relevant to addressing and respecting Safeguard C. Viet Nam was one of the first countries to pilot FPIC for REDD+ (in Lam Dong Province in 2010). An independent evaluation and verification of the process was completed in November 2010[15] and the recommendations were considered in the development of national guidelines on the application of FPIC in REDD+ in Viet Nam[16] alongside a reflection of lessons learnt from the pilot period[17]. These guidelines were later incorporated into the process to develop and revise the National REDD+ Programme, as well as the national guidance to provinces on the development of their Provincial REDD+ Action Plans[18].

The Committee for Ethnic Minority Affairs (CEMA) is responsible for coordinating with ministries, ministerial-level agencies and agencies attached to the Government in realising specific policies and measures related to ethnic minorities in Viet Nam. As part of this role and through its provincial offices, CEMA is responsible for identifying and targeting support to ethnic minorities in Viet Nam.

In relation to land use rights, the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment, and provincial Departments of Natural Resources and the Environment within their respective localities, are responsible for land use planning, land allocations, registration and transfers. Provincial, District and Commune People's Committees approve land use plans, and receive and resolve disputes and grievances. In relation to forests, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and its provincial departments are responsible for forest allocation, assignment and lease, developing and implementing forest protection and development plans, and overseeing the management of forests.

 

[1] The Constitution of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam (2013): Article 5.

[2] The Land Law (2013), Article 5. See also the Law on Forestry (2017, effective 1 January 2019), Article 2(9).

[3] The Land Law (2013), Article 26.

[4] Issued according to Prime Minister’s Decision No. 432/2012/QD-TTg.

[5] The Forest Development Strategy (2006-2020)

[6] Issued according to Prime Minister’s Decision No. 1600/2016/QD-TTg.

[7] Issued according to Prime Minister’s Decision No. 886/2017/QD-TTg.

[8] Issued according to Prime Minister’s Decision No. 2085/2016/QD-TTg and Government Decree No. 75/2015/ND-CP.

[9] National REDD+ Programme 2017

[10] The Constitution of Viet Nam (2013) Article 5; the Penal Code (2015) Article 116; Articles 7, 10 & 13 of Decree No. 05/2011/ND-CP; Articles 4-22 of Decision No. 178/2001/QD-TTg.

[11] The Land Law (2013); Articles 3, 19-30 & 32 of Decree No. 43/2014/ND-CP; Decree No. 47/2014/ND-CP; Decision No. 63/2015/QD-TTg.

[12] The Code of Civil Procedure (2015); the Land Law (2013); the Law on Forest Protection and Development (2004) and the Forestry Law (2017, effective 1 January 2019).

[13] Prime Minister’s Directive No. 24/1998/CT-TTg; Joint Circular No. 03/2000/BTP-BVHTT-BTTUBTWMTTQVN; Joint Circular No. 04/2001/TTLT-BTP-BVHTT-BTTUBMTTQVN-UBQGDSKHHGD; MARD Circular No. 70/2007/TT-BNN, 8/1/2007.

[14] United Nations General Assembly (2007) United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP)

[15] RECOFTC (2010) Evaluation and Verification of the Free, Prior and Informed Consent Process under the UN-REDD Programme in Lam Dong Province, Viet Nam.

[16] UN-REDD Viet Nam Phase I Programme (2013) Guidelines for applying FPIC in the preparation and implementation of REDD+ in Viet Nam

[17] VNFOREST (2010) Brief Report: Applying the Principle of Free, Prior and Informed Consent in the UN-REDD Programme in Viet Nam, August 2010, MARD.


A number of potential benefits and risks related to ethnic minority and local community rights 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 the rights of ethnic minorities and local communities, summarised as follows:

  • 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, with negative impacts on livelihoods.
  • Through REDD+ there may be improved public participation in land use planning and strategic environmental assessment/environmental impact assessment processes; however, there are risks for lack of transparency, non-inclusivity of key/vulnerable groups (such as ethnic minorities) and/or manipulation in consultation processes.
  • Financial mechanisms, the business incubator-accelerator, and green investments/credit mechanism may better serve interests of the private sector compared to smallholders.
  • There could be increased vulnerability to economic shocks or trends for smallholder farmers, should the promotion of sustainable agriculture models focused on particular crops lead to dependence on specific commodities; the risks may be higher for poorer farmers.
  • Risks related to inequitable benefit distribution, social exclusion and elite capture of REDD+ benefits.

The assessment at the national level also put forward a number of suggested measures  for enhancing the identified benefits and reducing risks related to ethnic minorities and local communities, 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. Representatives of ethnic minorities and women should be selected through a community-based, participatory and transparent manner and should participate at all stages of the processes.
  • 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 (e.g. through access to credit, training, benefit-sharing models and processes like free prior and informed consent (FPIC)).
  • To ensure inclusive, participatory and transparent consultation processes, clear guidelines should be elaborated covering a range of aspects, such as selection of representatives, inclusion of all impacted groups, information to be discussed and disclosed, consent process, use of minority languages, etc.
  • Clear guidelines should be developed and implemented for collaborative forest management, non-timber forest products business models, and livelihoods interventions; suggestions include assessing land tenure, participatory mapping, FPIC, and capacity-building for public sector implementation agencies. Collaborative forest management approaches are considered highly appropriate to address potential conflict as well as promote the participation of communities in afforestation/reforestation activities.
  • 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.
  • Clear policies, principles, standard operating procedures and guidelines should be developed for financial mechanisms to enhance co-benefits and address risks. Attention should focus on developing and operationalising safeguards to protect rural communities and smallholders in key commodities (e.g. coffee, shrimp, rubber), such as guidelines and procedures for performing screening and due diligence checks, inclusive business approaches in commodity platforms, and provisions to enable poor farmers and communities to access credit and make long term investments.
  • Sustainable agricultural models should integrate farmer risk mitigation measures such as diversification of income sources through agroforestry models, improved varieties, and reducing overall costs of plantations/farming techniques, etc.

Free, prior, and informed consent (FPIC) is discussed under Safeguard C2.2.1 and is a key element of measures that can enhance benefits and reduce risks for local communities and ethnic minorities. In addition,   Grievance Redress Mechanisms (GRMs) relevant to REDD+ in Viet Nam are also expected to address complaints and disputes related to the rights of ethnic minorities and local communities (see Safeguard B2.6). The processes in place to ensure the transparency and fairness of benefit sharing are also covered under Safeguard B2.3.

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 (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 area includes 13 ethnic minority groups that are mainly found in the largely mountainous districts and communes that have higher percentages of land classified as forest. The main social concerns relate to security of land tenure, access to resources and improvement to livelihood, lack of recognition of customary land tenure rights for agricultural and forest land and gender issues. Risks identified relate to the potential impacts restrictions on land use and/or access to non-timber forest products and forest resources from REDD+, affecting forest dependent communities and their livelihoods[3]. The ER Program recommends a number of measures to mitigate these risks for ethnic minorities and local communities, such as:

  • Further local assessment work including a social risk assessment, and improved management plans for State Forest Companies, Protection Forest Management Boards and Special Use Forests.
  •  Design of local site-specific small-scale livelihood activities identified through the Adaptive Collaborative Management Approach and supported through the Benefit Sharing Mechanism;
  • Improvements to land tenure security through reduction in land access conflicts, support for Forest land Allocation.

The ESMF will include an Ethnic Minority Planning Framework (EMPF) that will guide screening and preparation of site-specific Ethnic Minority Development Plans (EMDPs).  The ER Program also includes mechanisms to help address the underlying problem of inadequate consultations with communities in specific locations such as REDD+ Needs Assessment (RNA), Social Screening Report (SSR) and a locally prioritised management plan that require an assessment of impacts and possible mitigation measures to avoid or address potential undesirable effects.

 

[1] NRAP 2017

[2] MARD (2015) No. 5414/QD-BNN-TCLN Decision on Approving the guidelines on development of provincial action plans on reducing greenhouse gas emissions through efforts to reduce deforestation and forest degradation, sustainable forest management, and conservation and enhancement of forest carbon stocks (REDD+), 25 December 2015, MARD.

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