Cycle 1 (2011 Deadline)
Research and capacity building on REDD+, livelihoods, and vulnerability in Vietnam: developing tools for social analysis of development planning
PI: Le Thi Van Hue, Center for Natural Resources and Environmental Studies, Vietnam National University
Co-PIs: Nguyen Viet Dung, PanNature--Center for People and Nature Reconciliation; and Tran Huu Nghi, Tropenbos International Vietnam
US Partner: Pamela McElwee, Rutgers University
Project Dates: June 2012 - May 2015
Forecasted global climate changes have the potential to exacerbate existing social vulnerabilities, especially in poorer developing countries, and communities’ and individuals’ ability to cope with these future changes are often conditioned on their ability to access and mobilize natural resources. At the same time, new global policies are in development that would pay countries for “avoided deforestation” through forest conservation efforts known as Reduced Emissions from Degradation and Deforestation (REDD+) in order to sequester carbon and contribute to climate change mitigation. However, as access and use rights to forests change under REDD implementation, this may render some households and communities more vulnerable to the effects of climate change in the long term if REDD policies reduce their adaptive capacity by restricting access to natural resources. Thus, an understanding of the potential outcomes of carbon-credit policies on land use decision-making is necessary before such large scale global programs get more fully underway.
This study will build upon an early REDD development site in Vietnam and explore several questions regarding this new policy. The overall goal of the existing project underway is to understand the ways in which payments for ecosystem services (like carbon) serve to alter land-use decision making by smallholder households in forested areas and evaluate if these land-use decisions increase or reduce overall social and biophysical vulnerability to forecasted climate changes. This current PEER-supported project aims to expand the existing project into new field sites and add additional data collection on environmental conditions. Methodologies and data from the pilot research sites will be shared with an in-country network of stakeholders, and a country-wide index of indicators for REDD will be created to assess at the provincial level in Vietnam the likelihood of meeting conditions of success in REDD. To promote capacity building with local policymakers and NGOs on key REDD issues, short training courses and national workshops will also be organized. This study should contribute to policy-relevant knowledge on social vulnerability to climate change in a country that is likely among the most seriously affected. It also has the potential to influence development of REDD policy, as it may provide a baseline to explain variations in the expected performance of various possible REDD approaches.
Summary of Recent Activities
In late January 2013, the CRES research team conducted a field trip to Hoa Binh Province to meet with local institutions involved in a Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) project. Through discussions with NGOs, the local Red Cross, and province- and district-level local government agencies involved in agriculture, forestry, environmental protection, and flood control, they learned how the project was established and implemented and what challenges had been faced along the way. In February and March, researchers from PanNature held technical consultations with experts from international organizations and NGOs and stakeholders from several provinces. The aim was to discuss issues related to the REDD environmental and social index (RESI) that is being developed as part of the project. With the involvement of U.S. partner Dr. Pamela McElwee, researchers from all three Vietnamese institutions continued gathering data about field sites where surveys and focus group discussions will be held. They also communicated with local government agencies, NGOs, donors, and REDD implementing agencies in the provinces where the sites are located to ensure that the necessary cooperation and permissions have been secured for field work to proceed in April and May 2013. In addition to the field work this spring, PanNature staff will also present their initial work on RESI at a REDD+ network meeting in Vietnam in May.