Projects & Activities

Consultation Workshop: Participatory Governance Assessment for REDD+ in Vietnam

The Participatory Governance Assessment for REDD+ in Viet Nam is about to complete Stage 1. The objectives of Stage 1 are: conducting an Institutional and Context Analysis for improved understanding of the context and identifying relevant stakeholders, and reaching agreement on prioritized governance issues that the PGA will be focusing on. To conduct stage 1 of the PGA, UNDP engaged a research team lead by Center for Sustainable Development in Mountainous Areas – CSDM in consortium with Centre of Research and Development in Upland Area – CERDA and Center for People and Nature Reconciliation – PanNature. All three organizations are national NGO. After three months of research, data collection, and interviews with stakeholders, on March 6th 2013, the research team held a consultation workshop in Da Lat with relevant stakeholders from the province and REDD+ pilot districts.


Groups discussion. Photo: Tina Hagerberg/UN-REDD Vietnam Program.

Source: UN-REDD Vietnam Program


Civil Society Consultation Workshop on Vietnam’s Legality of Timber and Timber Products

On 23rd -24th November, 2012, the Center for People and Nature Reconciliation (PanNature) in collaboration with the Center for Sustainable Rural Development (SRD) organized a two day consultation workshop for civil society organization on Vietnam’s legality of timber and timber products. The event also was opportunity for the Vietnamese Non-Governmental Organizations Network for Forest Law Enforcement Governance and Trade (VNGO-FLEGT) members plan their main activities for the year 2013.

The workshop is one of VNGOs-FLEGT’s capacity building and participation activities in negotiation process between Vietnamese government and European Union (EU) on the Forest Law Enforcement Governance and Trade (FLEGT) and Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA). Over 40 representatives from nearly 30 civil society organizations (NGOs/CSOs), including: members of VNGO-FLEGT, European Forest Institute (EFI) and experts participated in the workshop.

Main objective of the workshop is to inform, discuss and unify some initial results of community consultation on legality of timber and timber products activities, that were conducted from 9th – 11th November 2012 by VNGO-FLECT in 06 provinces: Yen Bai, Bac Kan, Thanh Hoa, Thua Thien Hue, Lam Dong and Ba Ria-Vung Tau. More than 30 local communities in 14 communes of 6 districts were selected for participating in these consultation activities. They are local forest-dependent communities living in and near forest, known as forest owners or contractees to forest management, protection or exploitation in both natural and plantation forest areas.

The initial results show that, there is limitation in community awareness on legality of timber and timber products. In case of timber from plantation forests, most of communities do not concern about legality of timber and timber products. The reason is that products from plantation forests (standing trees) are usually sold all to buyers and these people have to comply all legal procedures from exploitation to transportation phase. In case of timber from natural forests, legal procedures are complied by forestry enterprises that carry out timber exploitation. In some other cases, even communities have rights as natural forest owners that are official allocated by Vietnamese government, they are also very vague about legality of forest timber.

Policy on contracting natural forest management and protection as well as forest plantation lands for households, household groups or village communities are implemented in many provinces nationwide. During exploitation period, contractors (state forest owners) will conduct legal procedures related to exploitation design and organization, and then decide a sharing proportion of products (timber) for both contractors and contractees bases on signed contracts. By this way, it is very difficult for contractees to know the volume of harvested timber because they are not able to participate or monitor during timber exploitation process in contracted forest areas.

Additionally, although forest exploitation process has been complied with regulations on environmental impact assessment, in fact, it still causes negative impacts on environmental and local communities living adjacent exploited areas, especially in some areas, it can cause depletion of water resources and dangerous flash floods.

In order to ensure rights and benefits of local communities when Vietnam officially joined in VPA/FLEGT, VNGO-FLEGT suggests that a risk assessment of timber benefit mechanism should be conducted. Then, base on the study’s results, some risk management solutions in VPA/FLEGT implementation process will be recommended.

In cases of natural forest management/protection contracts (if exploitation) or forest land contracts, contractees should be able to participate in monitoring exploitation process in forest contracted areas (in collaborate with forest ranger department) to ensure transparency and equitable of timber benefit sharing mechanism.

For communities living adjacent natural forest areas, the role of forest in environmental protection is very important, especially in regulating water resources, hence, we should apply “restricted exploitation” method in the certain forest areas. In phases of exploitation design and implementation, a community consultation should be carried out to achieve consent of local communities, especially community participation in exploitation monitoring process (in collaboration with forest ranger department) is needed.

In parallel with the recommendations above, the State also needs to quickly issue official certificates of land-use rights (“red book”) for forest owners who has already been allocated forest lands, and households who have not had “red book” yet but already used forest land areas in stable and long term without disputes. The idea can help local communities legally eligible to participate in VPA/FLEGT process.

FLEGT Workshop

Photo: PanNature

VNGO-FLEGT will sum up these initial results of community consultation activities and share to all stakeholders in negotiation process between Vietnamese government and European Union on FLEGT/VPA. These results will contribute to efforts for implementation in controlling illegal timber exploitation and trafficking; strengthening forest legal and institutional system toward sustainable forest management and ensuring equitable benefit and responsibility sharing mechanism among local communities, enterprises and related forest owners.

Source: SRD


Conservation of Conifer Tree Species in Hoa Binh – Son La Limestone Corridor

The corridor area Hoa Binh – S?n La is a highland limestone landscape with subtropical vegetation located in North West of Vietnam. It is a habitat for many flora and fauna species, including threatened conifer species. However, information about biodiversity of the area is still limited and conservation actions for these species are often neglected.

In order to conserve and develop the conifer trees species of the area the project will conduct a series of actions for in-situ and ex-situ conservation in Nature Reserve Hang – Pa Co (Hoa Binh province) and adjacent Moc Chau district (Son La province). Field survey and data collection about the conifer tree species in the area will be implemented. Digital distribution and status map for the species will be compiled. Natural and artificial threats to the conifers in the sites will be assessed in order to understand the conservation status and provide appropriate recommendations for conservation actions.

Nguyen Duc To Luu (right) and his colleague Phan Van Thang in Xuan Nha Nature Reserve (Son La province). Photo: PanNature.

Specimens of the rare conifers will be collected, processed and used for identification work and for school awareness raising activities. Seed collection and propagation of the conifers will be conducted for improvement of propagation methods and produce planting materials for further ex-situ plantation and awareness raising activities in a community mini-nursery.

Dissemination of the field work results and awareness raising will be implemented through designing a coloured booklet of occurred conifers, publishing website articles and organizing a thematic workshop focusing on conifer conservation issues in the studied area. Combination of field and nursery works, communication activities would bring a real impact on conservation of threatened coniferous species in Vietnam.

This project is led by Nguyen Duc To Luu, PanNature’s Resource Governance Program Manager, with funding from the Rufford Small Grants Foundation.

Link: The Rufford Small Grants Foundation

Outstanding Achievement Awards for Wildlife Protection

In early 2013, Education for Nature-Vietnam (ENV) will host Vietnam’s first National Wildlife Protection Awards ceremony, to recognize the outstanding contribution by members of society towards efforts to protect wildlife. The Awards will be conducted in partnership with the United States Embassy, the Freeland Foundation, People and Nature Reconciliation (PanNature), Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) Vietnam, Traffic Southeast Asia-Greater Mekong Programme, IUCN Vietnam, Cuc Phuong Endangered Primate Rescue Center.

“This event is about recognizing people who stand out as having a strong positive impact in protecting wildlife threatened by hunting and trade,” says Nguyen Thi Phuong Dung of ENV. “ENV and our partners feel that it is important that the excellent contribution by law enforcement, the media, and the public to protect wildlife is recognized.”

The awards are diversified into three major catergories, namely: Outstanding Enforcement Officer, Excellence in Journalism and Outstanding Public Contribution. The nomination process will begin on 10th August 2012 and end at 5pm, 31st October 2012. The Award winners will be invited to a special Award Ceremony which will take place in March 2013.

Further information about the awards is AVAILABLE HERE or please contact Ms. Tran Thuy Duong of ENV at (84-4) 3514 8850 or

Regional Partnership for Better Governance in Extractive Industries

Efforts by Indonesian civil society have generated gains in Extractive Industries area, including the 2010 decision by government to join the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI). In this project, we aim to share and expand those experience to the region by conducting a cross-national capacity building and advocacy that seeks to improve extractive industry transparency and accountability by supporting Indonesian civil society to consolidate and disseminate their experience.

Revenue Watch Institute, together with Indonesian CSOs: The PATTIRO Institute (PI); the Institute for Essential Services Reform (IESR); and the Indonesian Parliamentary Center (IPC); and with counterparts from Cambodia (Cambodians for Resource Revenue Transparency/CRRT), Malaysia (Research on For Social Advancement/REFSA), the Philippines (Bantay Kita), Timor Leste (Luta Hamutuk) and Vietnam (PanNature/CODE); are working to mount effective transparency campaigns that target regional, national and sub-national authorities.

These partnerships will pursue change at three levels: 1) Advocacy campaigns, led by IESR, will push for ASEAN to advocate extractive sector transparency as part of its broader program of economic integration. 2) In Cambodia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam, national civil society, led by regional partners with IPC support, will push for their governments to join EITI so as to increase transparency and multi-stakeholder dialogue about oil and mining operations and revenue management. Finally, 3) at the community level, civil society in the Philippines, Timor Leste and Vietnam, with support from PI, will empower communities to access and utilize information so they can better ensure that sector activities advance rather than counteract their interest.

Success in these activities could generate tangible improvements in extractive sector governance, and these can trigger broader gains. Transparency and participation reduce tensions in producing communities, lessening the likelihood of conflict. More information and better systems cause investment climates can improve, leading to sector growth and higher revenues. Disclosures and public accountability encourage more spending on poverty reduction and development priorities. Transparency in turn deters corruption, which undermines the integrity and efficiency of the state. By building the capacity of civil society to perform its oversight functions, Revenue Watch and its partners are working to support the development of robust democracies across Southeast Asia.

From Project Website >>

VNGO-FLEGT to Comment for the 5th Draft of the Legality Definition

The VNGO&FLEGT Network was formulated in January 2012 and currently consists of 20 non-governmental organizations, and research institutes and development centers from several universities nationwide. Represented for the network is a Core Group consisting of fourorganisations: the Centre of Research and Development in Upland Areas (CERDA), the Centre for Sustainable Development in Mountainous Areas (CSDM), People and Nature Reconciliation (PanNature) and the Centre for Sustainable Rural Development (SRD).

In the spirit of the meeting hosted by the Standing Office on March 20, 2012 addressing the on-going VPA/FLEGT negotiation process and the role of civil society organizations in Vietnam, upon receiving the 5th Draft of Legality Definitions on Timber and Timber Products and the Letter of Invitation from the Standing Office, the Core Group has announced and forwarded all of these documents to the other member organizations and individuals in the Network to collect their comments, and then prepared the document.

The VNGO&FLEGT comment for the Legality Definition has already sent to the FLEGT and Lacey Standing Office, Vietnam Forest Administration of Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development on April 30th, 2012.

Download the document with detailed comments (File PDF, 393 KB)>>

First Newsletter of the REDD+ Community Carbon Pools Program

The Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) Community Carbon Pools Program has just published its first e-newsletter, which features updates from the pilot sites as well as links to online resources. The program has been up and runnning since July last year and a multitude of activities on the ground as well as in the region have already been started. Here are some highlights from January to April of 2012.

The REDD+ Community Carbon Pools Program is a regional initiative in Southeast Asia to improve and strengthen REDD+ related forest governance,  by ensuring that the tenurial rights of indigenous and forest-dependent communities are incorporated into the decision-making process and creating Community Carbon Pools.

The program is managed by Fauna & Flora International (FFI) working in close partnership with the NTFP-Exchange Program and PanNature. The program seeks to create synergies and share knowledge between the program countries: Cambodia, Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam.

Lauching the REDD+ Community Carbon Pools Program in Vietnam

New regional initiative aims to share the benefits of reduced emissions from deforestation and forest degradation.

Read more →

The First Mekong Resources Forum: Water Resources and Sustainable Development – Perspectives from Laos and Vietnam

Water is vital for all livings, development and prosperity of every nation. Water sources from rivers, lakes and wetlands not only maintain ecological functions and biodiversity, but also supply water for domestic uses, agricultural production, energy and navigation; ensure food security, nutrition, cultural customs, and traditional livelihoods; particularly for rural communities living close to water bodies. Consequently, sustainable water resources management has increasingly been mainstreamed into policy agenda  of many governments.

While water resources play as a source and motivation for development, utilization of this natural asset could also result in competition and governance challenges at local, national and regional levels driven from water pollution, environmental degradation and unsustainable use – particularly in river basins that priorities are more than often given to economic growth and development. Under the pressures of economic development, water resources from inland and transboundary rivers in Laos and Vietnam are facing trade-offs for hydropower development, infrastructure construction, and expansion of extractive industries.

Obviously, Laos and Vietnam are mutually dependent in term of water resources by the facts that Vietnam is one of leading investors in Laos, where many of their development projects could cause negative impacts on watersheds and water resources, such as commercial logging, cash crop plantation, hydropower dam construction, and mining. On the other side, the plan to develop mega hydropower projects on the mainstream Mekong river has raised concerns in Vietnam over potential negative impacts and long-term risks for river flows, water quality, sedimentation, aquaculture and aquatic products, local livelihood, and development opportunities in the Mekong Delta in the future.

Watersheds of some main rivers in Vietnam (such as Ca and Ma rivers) come partly from Laos’ territory. Therefore, water flows of these rivers are significantly dependent on watershed forests in Laos. Both countries share common concerns and interests in regard to watershed and river basin planning and management. The trend of development of hydropower dams on both mainstream Mekong river and tributaries in Laos and Vietnam in recent years has also drawn much attention and participation of different stakeholders due to existing and potential negative environmental and social impacts.

In order to facilitate and promote exchanges and collaboration between scientists, research organizations and civil society institutions of the two countries, with supports from International Rivers (IRs), Critical Ecosystems Partnership Fund (CEPF), the CGIAR Challenge Program on Water and Food (CPWF, through funding from the Australian Government), and the International Union for Conservation and Nature (IUCN), PanNature organized and facilitated the workshop “Water Resources and Sustainable Development: Perspectives from Laos and Vietnam”. The initial concept and arrangement for this workshop has been discussed and supported by a number of experts, local and international organizations in both Laos and Vietnam.

First Mekong Resources Forum. Photo: PanNature.

The two day workshop, organized on 1-2 December 2011, is part of the Mekong Resources Forum, a new initiative recently developed by PanNature that aims at facilitating meaningful dialogues on resource governance and its associated issues among regional scientific and civil society organizations in the Greater Mekong Sub-region. This non-state platform will include a wide variety of dialogues, exchanges and cooperation activities built upon mutual interests and power of knowledge for bettering natural resource governance in the region.

The workshop programmed for one day of in-door presentations and discussions and another day for field-trip to visit Hoa Binh Hydropower Plant. The presentations featured with updated information about policies and practices related to water resources utilization and management, river basin planning, aquatic biodiversity as well as social and environmental impacts of hydropower and other development forms to inland and transboundary rivers of Laos and Vietnam.

The field trip to Hoa Binh province included a visit to Hoa Binh Hydropower Plant and meeting with a downstream community at Yen Mong commune.

Workshop Presentations

Water Security and Sustainable Development in the Lower Mekong Basin
Mr. Nguyen Viet Dung – People and Nature Reconciliation

Water Resources Management and River Basin Planning in Lao PDR: Cased on Nam Ngum River Basin
Mr. Souphasay Komany – Laos Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment

Water Resources Management and River Basin Planning in Lao PDR
Kongngeun Chounlamountry, Assistant Director General Department of Water Resources MONRE

Water Resources Management and Stakeholder Roles in RBO in Vietnam
Dr. Dao Trong Tu – Center for Sustainable Water Resource Development and Climate Change Adaptation

Environmental and Social Impacts of Hydropower Development in Lao PDR
Ms. Amphay Dalasouk – Faculty of Environmental Studies, Laos National University

Hydropower Development: Environmental and Social Impacts in Vietnam
Dr. Dao Trong Hung – Vietnam Institute of Science and Technology

Live and Livelihood of Resettled Communities from Hydropower Projects
Mr. Pham Quang Tu – Consultancy on Development Institute

Potential Impacts of Hydropower Projects on the Fish Resources and Aquatic Biodiversity. Case studies in Hoa Binh Dam (1996) and Sesan 5/1 Dam (2008)
Prof. Mai Dinh Yen – Hanoi National University, Vietnam

Mekong River Needs a Serious Common Action
Dr. Houmphanh Rattanavong – Laos Biodiversity Association

Aquatic Resources and River Base livelihoods of Local Communities in Laos
Dr.Bae Phiaxay – Falcuty of Environmental Studies, Laos National University

Payment for ecosystem services in Vietnam: Opportunities and Challenges
Dr.To Xuan Phuc – Forest Trends

Policy and State of Watershed Forest Management in Lao PDR
Dr. Anoulom Vilayphone – Faculty of Forestry, Laos National University

Hoa Binh Hydropower: Impacts on Resettled and Downstream Communities
Mr. Dan Phuc Tiep – Hoa Binh Union of Science and Technology Associations

Presentation on social and environmental impacts of hydropower projects in Laos. Photo: PanNature.

The event attracted participation of 70 representatives from Lao and Vietnam. Participants agreed that there should be more open dialogues among different stakeholders in the Mekong region to share common concerns, understanding, and cooperation for better governance of natural resources for peaceful and sustainable development in the region.

More Detailed Information

WB/CEPF supervision mission to visit PanNature

From 14th to 18th June 2011, three representatives from the World Bank, Senior Biodiversity Specialist Ms Claudia Sobrevila, Valerie Hickey and Karen Azeez, Douglas J. Graham, Environment Coordinator for Vietnam and CEPF Grant Director Jack Tordoff undertook a supervision mission to Vietnam.

The occasion provided an opportunity for an update on project progress. They visited a number of grantees including Fauna and Flora International, People Resources and Conservation Foundation, People and Nature Reconciliation (PanNature) and met a representative from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment – the Global Environment Facility Focal Point in Vietnam.

On 16 June, the group visited Ba Be National Park in Bac Kan Province where they were updated by a PanNature staff about the organisation’s media work in the area and other project activities. They were able to see the threats to the lake, reported elsewhere in this issue, first hand. On the same day, the team saw tiger and bear body parts for sale in a local restaurant in Ra market township, about 15 kilometres from Ba Be National Park. This is covered in the below article by PanNature several days later (

Hoang Van Chien, reporter of PanNature’s ThienNhien.Net, in a trip to the core zone of Ba Be National Park in 2010. Photo: ThienNhien.Net/PanNature.

The following day, a visit was paid to the Center for Water Resources Conservation and Development (WARECOD) project site on community fisheries along the Gam River in Na Hang Province. The group observed a training provided by the Center on ecotourism communications skills to local fishermen.

Source: The Babbler No. 38

Karen Azeez writes more about the trip on WB’s Sustainable Development website. Click here to read the full post >>

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